The hosts file is a computer file used to store information on where to find a node on a computer network. This file maps hostnames to IP addresses. The hosts file is used as a supplement to (or instead of) the domain name system on networks of varying sizes. Unlike DNS, the hosts file is under the control of the local computer’s administrator.
A useful and time-saving tip for web site programmers, intra net developers and IT managers is to enable non-standard TLDs on a LAN such as example.local (for accessing Example Company’s Intranet) or sample.new (for a new version of the xmodx.com website during testing).
Locate the file “Hosts” on your computer:
Windows 95/98/Me c:/windows/hosts
Windows NT/2000/XP Pro c:/winnt/system32/drivers/etc/hosts
Windows XP Home/Vista c:/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts
Edit the hosts file on your system. The hosts file is usually found in
Macintosh OS X
With Macintosh OS X, the procedure is similar to Linux above. The hosts file can be found in
# Macintosh OS 9
* Look in System Folder:Preferences, and in the System Folder itself, and see if you have a file named “Hosts”. If not, create one in a text editor.