Creating a Hosts File Entry

If you wish to access your domain before your DNS has been updated, you can update your local ‘hosts file’, which will allow your computer to view your new site. Follow the appropriate instructions below.

Please note that this will work only with HTTPS and not with HTTP.

If you need any help with this procedure (for example because nslookup is not installed in your system and you can’t figure out what the IP of your SFTP server is), we are ready to help: please contact us through the Dashboard or send us an email.

OS X:

  1. Open Terminal

  2. Launch the following command (replacing SFTP_host with the address of your SFTP host you received in your activation email):

    $ nslookup SFTP_host
    
  3. The result will be something like the following output. The last line

    contains the IP address of your SFTP host, which you will need to add to your hosts file (numbers arranged in this form: XX.XX.XX.XX).:

    Server:        YY.ZZ.XX.ZZ
    
    Address:    YY.ZZ.XX.ZZ#53
    
    Non-authoritative answer:
    
    Name:    grwtrcweg.deflect.ca
    
    Address: XX.XX.XX.XX
    
  4. Type ‘sudo nano /private/etc/hosts’

  5. Press Ctrl+Shift+V to take you to the end of the file

  6. Enter the text XX.XX.XX.XX <yourdomain> (replacing XX.XX.XX.XX with the actual IP of your SFTP host and <yourdomain> with the URL of your website).

  7. Press Ctrl+x to exit

  8. Press y to save

Alternatively you can download the Hosts preference pane helper from here: https://github.com/specialunderwear/Hosts.prefpane/downloads

Windows:

  1. Launch the Command Prompt and enter::

    C:\>nslookup example.com
    

    whereby you need to replace example.com with your SFTP host address.

  2. The result will contain the IP address of your SFTP host, which you will need to add to your hosts file (numbers arranged in this form: XX.XX.XX.XX).:

    Address: XX.XX.XX.XX
    
  3. Click “Start” button

  4. Click “All Programs”

  5. Click “Accessories”

  6. Right-click on Notepad and then click Run as administrator.

  7. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type your password, or click Allow/Yes.

  8. Open the Hosts file. Discover the location for your version of windows here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)#Location_in_the_file_system)

  9. Enter the text ‘XX.XX.XX.XX <yourdomain> (replacing XX.XX.XX.XX with the actual IP of your SFTP host and <yourdomain> with the URL of your website).

  10. Click Save on the Edit menu. (If using Windows 7, you will need to click Save on the File menu.)

Linux:

  1. Open a terminal.

  2. Launch the following command (replacing SFTP_host with the address of your SFTP host you received in your activation email)::

    $ nslookup SFTP_host
    
  3. The result will be something like the following output. The last line contains the IP address of your SFTP host, which you will need to add to your hosts file (numbers arranged in this form: XX.XX.XX.XX).:

    Server:        YY.ZZ.XX.ZZ
    
    Address:    YY.ZZ.XX.ZZ#53
    
    Non-authoritative answer:
    
    Name:    grwtrcweg.deflect.ca
    
    Address: XX.XX.XX.XX
    
  4. Open the file /etc/hosts with vim or your favourite editor as root::

    $ sudo vim /etc/hosts
    
  5. Add the following line, replacing XX.XX.XX.XX with the IP address of your SFTP host, example.com with the URL of your website and example with the name of your website::

    XX.XX.XX.XX example.com example
    
  6. Ensure that the nsswitch.conf file is correct. The nsswitch.conf file controls in which order services will be consulted for name service lookups, in our case we are looking for the “hosts” service::

    $ grep host /etc/nsswitch.conf hosts: files dns
    

    Check that “files” comes before “dns”. If it doesn’t, edit the file to obtain the above result.

  7. Check that your changes produced the wanted effect with this command::

    $ ping -c 1 example.com
    

    The result should be something like this (with XX.XX.XX.XX being replaced by the IP of your SFTP host)::

    PING example.com (XX.XX.XX.XX) 56(84) bytes of data.