How To: use hosts file to preview new website

following these instructions will let you see a website located on a new server before the nameservers are changed publicly for all to see.  this is for windows operating systems:

  1. click your "start" button
  2. click "run"
  3. type or paste this:  c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\
  4. click "ok"
  5. the folder browser will open up to the "etc" folder
    1. locate the file labeled "hosts"
    2. RIGHT click on this file and choose "properties"
    3. make sure the checkbox labled "Read Only" is EMPTY
    4. click OK
    5. close the "etc" folder
  6. click your "start" button
  7. type or paste this: notepad "c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts"
  8. the "hosts" file will open up in notepad
    1. find the bottom of the text document (it could be shorter than one page... or very long)
    2. at the bottom add a new line
    3. on the new line type or paste what was emailed to you
    4. it should look like this:
    5. click the "file" menu
    6. click "save"
    7. close the file
  9. Open a NEW internet explorer window (or firefox)
  10. type your website just like it was entered into the hosts file (
  11. you should now be seing the new server.
After the nameservers are changed and your new site is live, you can remove the line that was added to the hosts file by repeating step 8 above and deleting what you originally typed