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How to Change your Hosts File

What is a Hosts File?

The host's file will allow you to set IP addresses for domains on your local machine. These files can override the authoritative DNS settings for your domain, so this can be useful for seeing what a domain will display if pointed to a different server. A typical hosts file will have one or more lines referencing your 'localhost'(your computer).

This is very beneficial for development purposes, as it allows you to make changes on a server other than the one loaded by your domain when visitors access your page.
 

Editing your Hosts File

To change the host your domain loads from, you will need to know the correct IP for your server. Bluehost servers will require you to use the IP address displayed under Server Information in your cPanel.
 

Editing System Files

You can change the host your local computer loads your website from by directly editing your system's hosts file. This method will be more straightforward if you are an experienced user of your local PC's operating system.

All operating systems will have a hosts file like our example:

127.0.0.1 localhost
123.45.67.89 www.example.com
#98.76.54.32 www.another-example.com

Add the second line in this example to your host's file, with the following edits:

  1. Replace "123.45.67.89" with the IP address from your cPanel.
  2. Replace "www.example.com" with your actual domain name.

To undo this change, deactivate the line by prefacing it with a "#" (as shown on the third line in the example above). This will cause the line to be ignored.

Warning: Remember to undo any changes you make after you're done previewing your site. Otherwise, any of these changes could prevent your domain from loading the correct DNS.

Flushing DNS

Once you have modified your host's file, we recommend flushing your DNS cache to quickly see the changes. For more information on flushing cache, please see Flush DNS.