The hosts file is a location in your operating system that allows you to manually define where your computer should look for specific domain names. This bypasses DNS and ensures you are directed to a specific server.
Manual entries in the hosts file are often used as temporary solutions, most often for testing websites before DNS propagation or troubleshooting communication in Active Directory configurations.
These instructions are for Windows, click the following link for instructions on Editing the “hosts” File on Mac OS.
Only administrator users have access to update the hosts file, please ensure you are logged in as an administrator or have access to administrative credentials.
Changes to the hosts file are often blocked by antivirus software, temporarily disable any antivirus software you have running to avoid issues.
Open Windows Explorer and navigate to “C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc”
Right click the “hosts” file and select “Open with”
Choose “Notepad” from the menu.
Enter the manual entries according to the format described in the file: One entry per line beginning with the IP address then followed with the domain name.
Save your changes to the hosts file and close the open windows. Re-enable your antivirus application if applicable.
You can verify the entry is in effect by running a ping request to the IP address. Open Command Prompt and type “ping www.example.com” replacing example.com with the address you added to the hosts file. Verify the IP address returned by the ping request matches the value you entered in the hosts file.