Get to know the Server 2019 Hosts File: A Beginner’s Guide for Dev

Hey there Dev, welcome to the world of server 2019 hosts file. This may seem like a daunting subject, but don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you in a way that’s easy to understand. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the hosts file in Server 2019, including what it is, how it works, and how to use it to optimize your website’s performance.

What is the hosts file in Server 2019?

The hosts file is a text file that is used by the operating system to map domain names to IP addresses. It acts as a local DNS resolver, allowing you to assign IP addresses to specific domain names on your local network. This means that when you type in a domain name in your web browser, your computer checks the hosts file first to see if there is a matching IP address. If there is, it connects to that IP address instead of querying a DNS server.

The hosts file is located in the \Windows\System32\drivers\etc directory on a Windows Server running with Server 2019. It can be edited using a simple text editor like Notepad, and requires administrative privileges to modify.

How does the hosts file work?

When your computer attempts to connect to a website, it first checks the hosts file to see if there is an IP address listed for that domain name. If there is, it connects to that IP address directly. If there isn’t, it queries a DNS server to find the IP address associated with the domain name.

The hosts file is processed before any DNS queries are made, so any entries in the hosts file will take precedence over DNS queries. This means that you can use the hosts file to override DNS entries and connect to specific IP addresses for specific domains.

Why should I use the hosts file in Server 2019?

There are a few reasons why you might want to use the hosts file in Server 2019:

  1. To test websites locally before updating DNS records
  2. To block access to certain websites on a local network
  3. To improve website performance by directly connecting to specific IP addresses

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of using the hosts file in Server 2019.

How to use the hosts file in Server 2019

Step 1: Open the hosts file

To edit the hosts file in Server 2019, you’ll need to open it with administrative privileges. Here’s how:

  1. Open Notepad as an administrator (right-click > Run as administrator).
  2. Click File > Open, and navigate to \Windows\System32\drivers\etc.
  3. Select the hosts file and click Open.

Step 2: Add an entry to the hosts file

Once you have the hosts file open, you can add entries to it by following this format:

[IP address] [domain name]

For example, if you wanted to assign the IP address 192.168.1.100 to the domain name www.example.com, you would add the following line to the hosts file:

192.168.1.100 www.example.com

Make sure to save the hosts file after adding your entries.

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Common FAQs about the hosts file in Server 2019

Q: Can I use the hosts file to block access to websites?

Yes, you can use the hosts file to block access to websites by assigning them a non-existent IP address. For example:

0.0.0.0 www.example.com

This will prevent your computer from connecting to the IP address associated with www.example.com, effectively blocking access to the website.

Q: Can I use the hosts file to improve website performance?

Yes, you can use the hosts file to improve website performance by directly connecting to specific IP addresses. This can be particularly useful if you have a slow DNS server or if you want to bypass your ISP’s DNS server.

Q: How do I reset the hosts file to its default state?

If you want to reset the hosts file to its default state, you can do so by deleting all the entries in the file and saving it. Alternatively, you can copy the default hosts file from the %systemroot%\System32\drivers\etc\backup directory and replace the existing hosts file with it.

Conclusion

And there you have it, Dev! Everything you need to know about the Server 2019 hosts file. We hope this article has helped demystify this often-overlooked component of web development. Whether you’re using the hosts file to test websites locally, block access to certain websites, or improve website performance, it’s an incredibly useful tool to have in your toolbox.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy hosting!