Stop Waiting For DNS!

I am an impulse domain buyer. I tend to purchase silly names for simple sites that only serve the purpose of an inside joke. The thing about impulse-buying a domain is that DNS propagation generally takes a day or so, and setting up a Web site with a virtual hostname can be delayed while you wait for your Web site address to go "live".

Thankfully, there's a simple solution: the /etc/hosts file. By manually entering the DNS information, you'll get instant access to your new domain. That doesn't mean it will work for the rest of the Internet before DNS propagation, but it means you can set up and test your Web site immediately. Just remember to delete the entry in /etc/hosts after DNS propagates, or you might end up with a stale entry when your novelty Web site goes viral and you have to change your Web host!

The format for /etc/hosts is self-explanatory, but you can add comments by preceding with a # character if desired.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

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