(If you need to make a hosts file modification in Windows, please see our Modifying Your Hosts File article instead.)

Like many Unix-based and Unix-like operating systems, it is possible to change the hosts file on your Mac to manually set a domain to a certain server.

Changing this file will override any DNS settings you might receive from your ISP, so this is a good way to test a site before you have transferred the domain from your old host to us.

Modifying the hosts file in Mac OS X 10.2 and later is a pretty easy task, but it must be done as the “root” user in the terminal. This change will point ONLY your Mac to your site with us. It will not affect other computers' access to your site at your former host.

Below are the five easy steps you'll need to take.

  1. Open the Mac's Terminal.
  2. You may either type Terminal on the Spotlight, or by going into Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.

  3. Open the hosts file for editing.
  4. In the terminal window you just opened copy/paste the command string below, and press return.

    sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

    You'll be prompted to enter your Mac user's password. NOTE: you won't see the cursor move. This is normal, so press return when done.

  5. Edit the hosts file by adding these two lines to the bottom of the file.
  6. SERVER_IP_ADDRESS domain.com
    SERVER_IP_ADDRESS www.domain.com

    For example, it should look like:

    67.199.146.25 domain.com
    67.199.146.25 www.domain.com

    Make sure that there is a space between the IP and the URL! Otherwise, the rule will not work.

    Be sure to place domain.com with your actual domain name. If you're not sure which IP address to use, please contact our Support Department for further assistance.

  7. Save save your changes by pressing control-o on your keyboard then return to accept the filename. Exit the editor by pressing control-x. This takes you back to the terminal screen.
  8. You may need to flush your Mac's DNS cache, so copy/paste the below command string into terminal, and press return.
  9. dscacheutil -flushcache

    This completes the hosts file modification, so you should now be able to see your site here with us using your domain in your browser's address bar.

    When testing is complete you may undo these changes by repeating the steps above but removing the information entered in step 3.

    If you are running a Windows based system, please  see our general hosts file article.

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