What's the best way to confirm that your /etc/hosts file is mapping a hostname to the correct IP address?

Using a tool like dig queries an external DNS directly, bypassing the hosts file.

  • hosts files do not map domains....them map specific hostnames to IP addresses.
    – mdpc
    Jun 2, 2014 at 18:10
  • @mdpc I edited it to reflect that. Basically the same question though, I was just looking for a way to verify the hosts file entry is working.
    – Jay
    Jun 2, 2014 at 18:17

3 Answers 3


I tried this out and it seems to work as expected:

echo " facebook.com" >> /etc/hosts

Then I ran:

$ getent ahosts facebook.com         STREAM facebook.com         DGRAM         RA
  • 1
    looks good, thanks! I also found that ping works: ping facebook.com outputs: PING facebook.com ( 56(84) bytes of data.
    – Jay
    Jun 2, 2014 at 20:19

I found gethostip which accepts either hostname or IP and also has options suitable to print out exactly what you need.

$ gethostip -d facebook
  • On Debian gethostip is not installed by default. Use sudo apt install syslinux-utils. May 13, 2021 at 9:25

You can use the 'ping' command to check the values added in /etc/hosts are working fine or not.

echo "   abc.com" >> /etc/hosts
ping abc.com

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