There is something terribly wrong with my current Debian install. Most programs like firefox, nslookup, dig etc. are ignoring entries in /etc/hosts file, actually I use this file for Ad-blocking.

an example

a line in /etc/hosts file www.winaproduct.com

when I do dig +short www.winaproduct.com it returns the respective IP address of the server, not

Open www.winaproduct.com on firefox, it shows the respective website, but this is not expected.

But there is no problem with ping, busybox nslookup, busybox ping, resolveip etc.

So, what is the problem ? And how to fix it ?I think the problem is with the DNS resolving library.

A temporary fix-up, setup dnsmasq and change nameserver to in /etc/resolv.conf .


problem magically solved after installing libnss3, as a dependency of google-chrome

default /etc/nsswitch.conf looks like hosts: files dns

how to tell nslookup, dig etc. ask /etc/hosts file first instead asking directly to the DNS ?

but why busybox nslookup, wget, resolveip etc. are working differently than nslookup , dig etc. ?

  • what does the hosts: entry in /etc/nsswitch.conf look like?
    – casey
    Jun 29, 2015 at 16:13
  • @ casey, /etc/nsswitch.conf looks like hosts: files dns
    – Arnab
    Jun 29, 2015 at 16:28
  • Please add this key information within your OQ.
    – dan
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:04
  • 1
    This is clearly not a DNS problem. Please look at this very similar question: unix.stackexchange.com/q/158419/31707 .
    – dan
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:05

2 Answers 2


nslookup, dig, and host are tools for querying DNS name servers.

If your configuration is not provided by a name server (like the information given in /etc/hosts) those tools will not show them, because they directly ask the name server.

If you want to check that the "usual" resolution is working (i.e. the way specified in /etc/nsswitch.conf) you can use getent:

getent hosts www.winaproduct.com
  • getent hosts www.winaproduct.com is working perfectly, but nslookup, dig, host etc. are only as example, I want it on firefox.
    – Arnab
    Jun 29, 2015 at 17:20
  • 1
    If it works with getent it should also work with firefox. (Both use the same resoltution mechanism.) If it really does not work check for "unusual" configuration in firefox. Maybe you set some kind of proxy or something like this.
    – michas
    Jun 29, 2015 at 17:23
  • thanks for the comment, I dont use any unusual firefox configuration, no it is not working with firefox(38.0.1) .
    – Arnab
    Jun 29, 2015 at 17:27
  • 3
    I'm very sure it is some browser issue. Try wget or some other browser like chrome. If getent gives the expected result all of them should.
    – michas
    Jun 29, 2015 at 17:29
  • 1
    @daniel Azuelos, there is nothing wrong with firefox settings, it's already using No Proxy. So how to tell nslookup, dig etc. ask /etc/hosts file first instead asking directly to the DNS ?. Thank you for your valuable comment.
    – Arnab
    Jun 30, 2015 at 2:19

Configure Unbound package (installed by default on Linux these days) or install it on Windows. Then your resolver will look to this little lightweight service for all DNS queries. Unbound will read in your /etc/hosts entries and import them into the resolvers DNS cache.

For everything else, it will proxy your system's DNS queries to your machine's up-stream DNS servers.

Now, all your applications as well as your DNS tools such as dig, host and nslookup can receive answers that originated from your local /etc/hosts file.

As an alternative on Linux, you can use DNSmasq if you prefer however, when I last looked, it doesn't install on Windows yet.

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