How to configure the Host File on Windows Server?

How to configure the Host File on Windows Server?

Every website is hosted on a server running on an operating system that contains a host file. It helps in mapping the domain names along with IP addresses. A host file contains IP addresses which are followed by a domain name. For example, if you are reaching for, a host file on Google’s server consists of an IP address followed using a URL Therefore if there is any mapping of an IP address with a specific domain name for a host file, the system will not query a DNS server for establishing a connection using a remote device. Instead, you can directly read an IP address using the host file on Windows Server to process the request. 

In addition to this, every OS contains a host file to make amendments to allow it to receive more domain name requests. Moreover, you can add desirable mapping entries, and the suitable changes will start to work without even rebooting the server.

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Here is how you can modify and configure the host file on windows server. 

How to alter and configure the host file on Windows Server –

Why is Hosts File Modification important?

Hosts file modification is essential to trick the server for resolving specific IPs. Therefore, the process is tremendously valuable for your website. Although it is hosted on a server, it is still developmental since name-servers do not point anywhere. Moreover, it is also significant for blocking particular websites.

Configuring the Hosts File

1. Run Notepad as Administrator

The host file is a suitable system file that you cannot modify or configure as a simple user. However, if you require administrator-level permission to make apt changes, you can run it on Notepad as an administrator. Hence, if you are utilizing Windows Vista or higher, you can simply open a Notepad even if you already have Windows XP or anything else before that. You can locate Notepad using the Start menu and right-click on it to click the “Run as administrator” option.

2. Locate Hosts File

After opening and viewing Notepad as an administrator, you can locate the host file on windows server. You can usually find it as c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts, but not every Windows versions store it at the same place. In case if you are unable to find it, you can explore other instances:

  • For Windows 95/98/Me -> c:\windows\hosts
  • For Windows NT/2000/XP Pro -> c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  • Windows XP Home/Vista/Windows 7 -> c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  • For Windows 8 -> c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  • For Windows 10 -> c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Later finding the hosts file on windows server, you can switch to a Notepad after clicking “File” and then “Open…”. However, the host file is not a standard .txt file which Notepad finds as default. Therefore you will have to do some troubleshooting in order to make the file appear in a dialog box. Moreover, you can change the dropdown selection display for “Text Documents” to “All Files(*.*)”. Here, you can view all the files, navigate the host file, and double-click it, to make it appear in the Notepad.

3. Overhaul Windows Defender (Windows 8)

Windows Defender runs on Windows 8 by default. Therefore, it prevents the adjustment in the host file. Moreover, you can change the configuration settings of Windows Defender to allow you to edit the host file on Windows Server.

  • First, you need to search for Windows Defender using the navigation bar and to click it to launch the application.
  • After that, click on ‘Settings’ on the launchpad.
  • You can type the location on the host file, which is c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.
  • Moving on, click on the add button for appending it to an angle that is beneath file locations.
  • After that, you can save the changes by simply clicking on the option located on the bottom right, and then you can close the application.
  • You can now even edit the host file by following these directions.
  • After making the essential edits, you can save the file for completing the host file edit.

4. Get Administrative Permission for Modification (Windows 10)

In Windows 10, you can access the text editor as an administrator to carry out the essential changes to the host file. For doing this, you can log in as an administrator to save your changes.

5. Locate Connected IP Address

The IP address is effortlessly traceable. It is situated within a cPanel using the following steps:

  • First log into cPanel
  • Then you can click the “Expand Stats” section on the left side of the screen in order to analyze more information for your account.
  • After that, you can scroll down to “Shared IP address” or ”Dedicated IP.” Then you can note or copy the IP address for modifying your host file.

6. Modifying the Hosts File

After finding the IP address from the cPanel, you can add a few lines for your host file. It includes the IP address along with a domain name. For example, it looks like

After that, you can save changes by just clicking on the “File” and then “Save.” Now the host file configuration is fully complete.

7. Testing the Modified File

After completing everything, you can easily test the changes. For this, you can simply type it in the URL and see if you redirect to your new site. If the website does not redirect any essential changes after moving, you can run a ping test to make sure that it is directing you to the right IP address.

All Configured, Ready to Deploy!

A host file is a dominant tool you can use to manipulate Domain Name Resolution suitable for your needs. In addition to this, you can even use it for blocking malicious programs and making sure that your computing environment is very secure. Navicosoft provides leading windows hosting in Sydney. We provide you technical services for comprehensive and expert server management. Our windows shared hosting solutions, along with 24/7 no-obligations assistance, make us the best in this competitive market. To know more about Navicosoft’s wide range of web hosting services, you can always reach us. We provide dedicated hosting, windows shared hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and several other IT services.

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