Set a local domain to ease local development

Oct 28, 2009 - 7 Comments

If you’re a web developer you probably do a fair amount of development on your local machine using either the built-in Mac OS X Apache server or, in my case, something like MAMP. You can make your local development life a bit easier by setting a local domain, here’s how.

from the Mac Terminal type the following:
sudo nano /etc/hosts

this will bring up the /etc/hosts file in the nano editor, it will look something like this:
# Host Database
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.
## localhost broadcasthost

next, you’ll want to add the hostname (in this case, you’d like to use locally to the end of that file on a new line, in the following format:

Save the changes to /etc/hosts file by hitting Control-O and then Control-X to exit. Now you can access your local domain via the web browser, ftp, or whatever other means.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Bill Ellis in Command Line, Development, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. hypnopixel says:

    Hi Bill,

    how is this different than using ‘localhost’ which is already aliased?



  2. Woodgie says:

    It’s prettier?

    It also allows you to create more than one ‘site’ in conjunction with a bit of apache config twiddling. Something along the lines of:

    Don’t ask me how, this is a comment, not a hint!


  3. hypnopixel says:

    @Woodgie, ah, I see that. And for brevity, the alias could be shorthanded to, say, lh.d,, and lh.p for dev, qa and production. Yeah, the apache config twiddling needs to be alluded to, at least ;-]

  4. Frank Leigh says:

    There is more to it than that. The main benefit is your local websites will have private sessions from one another thus preventing session overwriting when you swicth between one site and another using the same browser instance.

  5. Andy Jones says:

    Does this mean I can do without MAMP?

  6. [...] a jump to the command line. Editing the hosts file allows you to do a variety of things like set local test domains, block websites and IP’s, downgrade iOS, troubleshoot weird iTunes errors, and much [...]

Leave a Reply


Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates