How Do I Preview My Site Before Updating DNS?

If you are transferring an existing blog site from another service to PressHarbor, you will want to configure your site and preview before committing to making the DNS changes which will make it live on our servers.

To be able to access your domain before you make the DNS changes which will allow the world to see it on its new server, you can make a change to your local DNS settings so that your computer will see the domain at its future home.

Mac OS X

Open the Terminal application and type:

sudo pico -w /etc/hosts

You will see some text like the following:

##
# Host Database
#
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting.  Do not change this entry.
##
127.0.0.1       localhost
255.255.255.255 broadcasthost
::1             localhost

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move to the bottom of the file. Enter the following:

123.456.78.90             domain.com
123.456.78.90             www.domain.com

where 123.456.78.90 is the IP address sent in the Hosting Order Status message sent to you when your hosting account was created, and of course domain.com is your own domain name. The white space between the IP address and the domain is a tab.

Hit Control-O and the editor will prompt you with:

File Name to Write: /etc/hosts

Hit Return to save the file, then Control-X to exit the editor. Now type this into the Terminal:

sudo lookupd -flushcache

Or type this if you are using Mac OS X 10.5 or higher :

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache

Quit your web browser and reopen it, and you will now be able to view your PressHarbor account even though you have not changed the DNS settings at your registrar.

To reverse your changes (don’t forget to do so before you make the DNS changes at your registrar), remove the lines you added to the /etc/hosts file, save the file, and run lookupd -flushcache one more time.

Windows

On Windows, the Hosts file is located at different places depending on your version of Windows:

Windows 95/98/Me

c:\windows\hosts

Windows NT/2000/XP Pro

c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Windows XP

c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Windows Vista/7

The file will also be at this location in Windows Vista/7:

c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

But you will need to edit the file as Administrator. See this article from Microsoft on how to edit the file as Administrator.

If you have difficulty finding the hosts file, you can go to Find on the Windows Start menu and type in hosts.

Open the hosts file with Notepad, and enter the following at the bottom of the file:

123.456.78.90             domain.com
123.456.78.90             www.domain.com

where 123.456.78.90 is the IP address sent in the Hosting Order Status message sent to you when your hosting account was created, and of course domain.com is your own domain name. The white space between the IP address and the domain is a tab.

2 Comments

  1. What is “the Terminal application” and how do I open it?

    • PressHarbor Support

      It is located in Applications -> Utilities on your Mac. Open it and type the commands we referenced above. If you have any additional questions, please open a Support Ticket rather than commenting on this page.