I was told today that /etc/hosts is not a viable option for testing a new destination server. The DNS for /etc/hosts modifications could still cache the old DNS settings and we would get incorrect results on testing.

The only option we were given is to setup a proxy server and set the proxy info in each browser.

I am wondering if this is the case do I need to setup every browner on my machine to test?


/etc/hosts does not use DNS at all so talking about DNS cache makes no sense. This file is authoritative over DNS concerning name resolution, as specified in /etc/nsswitch.conf (the Name Service Switch config file).

So if you enter a IP-host mapping in /etc/hosts it will always take precedence over DNS. (Of course, unless you modified /etc/nsswitch.conf, and you should have a good reason to do so.)

  • The only remark I have is: sometime is required to restart naming cache daemon – Romeo Ninov May 7 '15 at 13:01
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    And to be precise, normally the hosts entry in nsswitch.conf is configured to files dns. If you exchange those two, DNS will take precedence over the /etc/hosts file. – Lambert May 7 '15 at 13:15

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