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How to Point a Domain to a Server in Local System for Testing Websites?
Posted by , Last modified by on 28 December 2018 01:51 PM

If you are creating a website in the new server before updating nameservers at your domain registrar end, you can point that domain to a new server in your local system via the hosts file. When you call a website in a browser, the system first checks your hosts file entries for that domain. If there is no entry for that domain, the system will go to DNS root servers to find that domain hosted server. If your nameservers are not updated, you will get a page like below screenshot.



Consider the scenario you have migrated your website from old host to the new host and the website is still resolving to the old server and you want to test your website is working or not. In this situation, you can point your website to your new server in your local system. Assume your new server IP is and domain name is You can add below entry in your hosts file to point website to the new server.


Open your hosts file then add:


Then save the file. You can confirm the domain is resolving to the new server in your local system by ping domain name.

Open your Terminal or Command prompt and run below command.




In this case, you will get below result.


Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data


In this tutorial, I will show how to edit hosts file in Windows, Mac, and Linux.



If you are using Windows Operating System, the hosts file location is C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\


From there you can access the hosts file.

Open with a text editor and add a new entry at the end of the file.   domainname .com


Then save the file.




If you are using Mac OS, the hosts file location is /private/etc/hosts

Open your terminal to access hosts file and run below command to edit hosts file.


sudo nano /private/etc/hosts




If you are using Red Hat based OS, the hosts file location is /etc/hosts

Open your terminal and switch to root user to access hosts file and run below command.


vim /etc/hosts


If you are using Debian based OS open terminal and run below command to edit the hosts file.


sudo vim /etc/hosts


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