How do I change my hosts file? Or, how can I see my domain before DNS changes propagate?

To see your domain on our system before a DNS change takes effect,  edit your hosts file on your PC.

If using Windows 7, click "Start", "All Programs", "Accessories" then right click on "Notepad" and select "Run as administrator" (You may need to click "Yes" for this to run with administrative privileges). To edit the hosts file click "File" and select "Open", in the "File Name" area enter "%systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc\" and click "Open". Click the drop down to the right of the "File Name" area and select "All Files". Select the "hosts" file and click "Open".

If you are using older Windows versions, use "Start", "Find", "Files and Folders" to find a file in your windows directory (or WINNT\system32\drivers\etc) called "hosts". Verify that the file is not "read only" by right clicking it, and choosing it's Properties. Then open the file for editting with Notepad. There should already be an entry for "localhost". Follow that format when you insert your domain and our IP.

On Windows98 and Windows95, the order may be 'hostname' then 'IP address'. On Windows 7, Windows2000 and WindowsME, the order is 'IP address' then 'hostname' localhost

Then save this altered hosts file and close notepad. Make sure Windows did not silently save the file as "hosts.sam". The filename has to be "hosts". You may also need to reboot for the change to take effect. Next time you try to go to "", your browser will try to find that domain at the corresponding IP instead of looking up the IP through DNS.

Mac OS 9's hosts file format is based on RFC-1035. Mac OS 9 keeps its HOSTS file in the Preferences folder under the System folder. Edit this file and add a line for each host that you would like to map an IP to:

To find the hosts file in OS X's graphical interface:
    1. Open Finder.

    1. In the Go menu, select "Go to Folder"

    1. Type /etc for the folder name.

    1. In the list of files that appears, you should find hosts. Double click it to open it in a text editor.

    1. As in the earlier examples, the format of the file is: "".

On unix-based systems, as well as OS X's terminal, you can find the hosts file at /etc/hosts.

Once you have modified your hosts file, you can flush your DNS so that you can see your new changes more quickly. Depending on your OS, there are different ways to do this:
  • For Mac OS X the command is:
    lookupd -flushcache
  • For Windows the command is:
    ipconfig /flushdns
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