Congratulations on almost completing your new site. We've finished the initial migration of your data. Now is the time for you to inspect your site to make sure it is working correctly on the new server. The preferred method is to modify the hosts file on your home or office computer by entering the new IP for your domain. This method bypasses the normal DNS lookup so you can view your domain at the IP you specify rather than the IP it is configured to resolve to with DNS.

Usually, we will provide you with a page on your server containing the lines you will need to enter into your hosts file. In it will be something like this:

How to edit your hosts file

Note: Using this method it may be necessary to clear the cache in your browser.

One of the most powerful tools available to somebody working on their site during a migration is their computer’s ‘hosts’ file. This file is especially useful when migrating a site between two servers, or any other time when DNS might not be working properly.

Lets start with an example of the the information that would be found in a typical hosts file: localhost

That is all you will generally see in a clean hosts file. Its layout is tab or space delimited. The first field in the line is the IP address that you would like the site to resolve to, and any additional fields after that should be domain names. For example, if you wanted to reroute to some other location you might put a line in your hosts file that looks something like this:

As you can see, this will redirect both and to the IP address of When moving a site to a new server, you can use this file to test out your sites to ensure that they work after the move, while still leaving your original site online. Simply point the desired IP address at the domain name in question and you computer will connect to the new IP whenever you type in the domain name.

This file is located in a few different places depending on your operating system. The file name is ‘hosts’ no matter what operating system you have.

On Windows XP/2003/Vista/7 this file is located in:

(Typically C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc)

With Vista/Windows 7 you will need to edit this file with administrative privileges. You can do this by following one of these two sets of instructions:

Click on the Windows logo.
Search for ‘notepad’
Right click on the notepad launcher and select ‘Run As Administrator’
Click File, then Open
Browse to the folder mentioned above and select the hosts file


Click on the Windows logo.
Click on Search.
Search for the word “hosts” (Please be advised this search can take several minutes to complete)
Double click on the hosts file and choose notepad as the program to open the file once prompted

On Mac OS X, your hosts file is located here: /private/etc/hosts. You will need administrative privileges to edit this file.

Open a terminal session and enter the following command:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

You’ll be prompted for a password; enter your password and press Enter . Now it’s simply a matter of adding the appropriate line and saving the file. Save the file and exit by pressing Ctrl-O , and then Ctrl-X .

While you are still in the terminal, you should also flush the DNS cache. Issue the following command:

dscacheutil -flushcache

On Linux, you can find the hosts file here:


Depending on the distribution you may need administrative privileges to edit this file.
Please remember to revert the hosts file to its original state after the migration is complete.

If you have correctly edited your hosts file you should see a message declaring you are reaching the new server.

Once testing is complete we can schedule a time to do the final sync.