Is there a way to add a local hostname/ip mapping on the fly on the commandline? (Thus, editing /etc/hosts would not be a good solution in this case )

Something in the vain of:

HOSTS=; ping localsignificanthostname
  • I wonder, why you do not ping the IP address instead. – FedonKadifeli Sep 15 at 10:46
  • ping might be a stupid example in hindsight. For applications which do HTTP requests, the hostname is of vital importance. Curl for example does have a separate host option which you can pass along such that curl knowns which host header to send, not all applications have this. – hbogert Sep 15 at 10:57
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    OK, I see. The closest thing I found is this: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/483167/… – FedonKadifeli Sep 15 at 11:02
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    nope. just add them to /etc/hosts. or run a local name server. or rely on the crappy and unreliable avahi daemon. – cas Sep 15 at 11:03

You did not specify the OS, but in Linux you can use unshare(1):

# unshare -m sh -c "mount -B /tmp/fakehosts /etc/hosts; ping localsignificanthostname"

requires root, namespaces and reasonably recentish kernel (which you usually have).

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