File “hosts” allows to translate the domain name into the numerical IP address. This file points you to the server where a certain website is hosted, without the need to involve the Domain Name System servers. This happens because this file starts to work in the operating system even before there are any queries to DNS server.
This file will be very helpful in following circumstances:
- DNS records have already been changed, but are stil not renewed, and you have the need to work with the website;
- the website has been moved to another hosting and you need to see how it works before DNS records change.
In different operating systems this file can be found in different places - in UNIX at /etc/hosts, in /Windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts in Windows, in Mac OS 9 and earlier versions - in the system folder of Mac OS X, in Android system - in /private/etc/hosts/Android/system/etc/hosts/
This file is very simple and it can be easily modified even by the person who has no technical background. The modification of this file can be made by using any text editor.