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Preview a site during development.
   
 
 
Before DNS changes so the whole world can see your web site on our servers, we like you to be able to preview how the development process is going.

The best way to preview a site that we are working on is to change your hosts file. Don't forget to delete the entry after DNS changes. You will be editing a file called "hosts" with no extension - not hosts.txt or hosts.sam or hosts.anything.
FOR THE PC:

If you have never done this before, you probably don't have a hosts file, but Microsoft supplies a sample file for you called hosts.sam that you can edit. Then you can change the name of the file to "hosts", close and reopen any browsers and the file should work.
    For Windows:
    • open windows explorer
      • View - Folder Options
      • Click the view Tab
      • Uncheck "Hide File Extensions for Known File Types
    • Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ and find the file hosts
      • If it's not there, find the file called hosts.sam (this stands for sample)
      • Rename the sample file hosts (no extension)
      • Right-Click the file and select Open With
      • Select NotePad
Here's something like what you might see...

# Copyright (c) 1993-1995 Microsoft Corp.
#
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows NT.
#
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
# be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
# space.
#
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.
#
# For example:
#
#      102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
#       38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host

127.0.0.1       localhost

Add two lines right below the last line that looks like this:
199.192.13.128	www.yourdomain.com
199.192.13.128      yourdomain.com
where "yourdomain" is your actual domain name.

Now the last three lines will look like this:

127.0.0.1       localhost
199.192.13.128	www.yourdomain.com
199.192.13.128	yourdomain.com
Close your browser and reopen it. (any change to your hosts file will require that you close and reopen your browser before it takes effect)

Now if you go to http://www.yourdomain.com, you will find it on our server. If you go to http://yourdomain.com without the www you will go to the current server hosting the site because that address isn't in your hosts file. The way you can tell which server you are on is to type in the URL http://www.yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/env.pl. If it's on our server, you will see a results page. On anyone else's server, you will not.

FOR THE MAC or LINUX:

First, you will need to find an existing Hosts file /etc/hosts and open it in a simple word processor, like Simple Text or VI. If you don't have a hosts file, you might find one on another Mac. It's a default file that installs with most Macs.

The next thing to do is replace the specimen data in the host file with the real data that applies to your domain name. For example, you might add:
199.192.13.128 www.yourdomain.com
199.192.13.128     yourdomain.com
Lastly, specify that hosts file in the TCP/IP control panel and it will work immediately. You may have to close and reopen your browser before it will take effect.

Now if you go to http://www.yourdomain.com, you will find it on our server. If you go to http://yourdomain.com you will go to the current server hosting the site because that address isn't in your hosts file. The way you can tell which server you are on is to type in the URL http://www.yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/env.pl. If it's on our server, you will see a results page. On anyone else's server, you will not.
ICG Link, Inc. 7003 Chadwick Drive, Suite 111, Brentwood, TN 37027