How to edit hosts file windows 10

Posted on

Editing the hosts file in Windows 10 is a useful technique for overriding DNS (Domain Name System) settings and mapping domain names to specific IP addresses locally on your computer. By modifying the hosts file, you can bypass DNS lookups and control how your computer resolves domain names, which can be beneficial for testing website changes, blocking access to certain websites, or redirecting traffic to local development servers. Here's a detailed guide on how to edit the hosts file in Windows 10:

1. Understanding the Hosts File:
The hosts file is a plain text file located in the "C:WindowsSystem32driversetc" directory on Windows systems. It contains mappings of IP addresses to hostnames and is used by the operating system to resolve domain names to IP addresses before querying DNS servers. Each entry in the hosts file consists of an IP address followed by one or more hostnames separated by whitespace.

2. Opening Notepad with Administrative Privileges:
To edit the hosts file, you'll need to open a text editor with administrative privileges to ensure that you have the necessary permissions to save changes to system files. Right-click on the Start button or press the Windows key + X on your keyboard to open the Power User menu, then select "Run" or "Windows Terminal (Admin)" to open a command prompt with administrative privileges.

3. Accessing the Hosts File:
In the command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter to open the hosts file in Notepad:

notepad C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts

This command opens the hosts file in Notepad, allowing you to view and edit its contents. If prompted by User Account Control (UAC), click "Yes" to grant administrative privileges to Notepad.

4. Editing the Hosts File:
Once the hosts file is open in Notepad, you can add, modify, or remove entries as needed. Each entry consists of an IP address followed by one or more hostnames, separated by whitespace or tabs. To add a new entry, position the cursor at the end of the file and type the IP address followed by a space or tab, then type the hostname(s) that you want to map to the IP address. For example:

This entry maps the domain name "" to the loopback IP address "", which points to the local machine.

5. Saving Changes:
After making changes to the hosts file, save your changes by clicking on the "File" menu in Notepad and selecting "Save" or by pressing Ctrl + S on your keyboard. If prompted by Notepad to confirm saving changes to a system file, click "Yes" to proceed.

6. Flushing DNS Cache (Optional):
To ensure that your computer recognizes the changes made to the hosts file immediately, you can flush the DNS cache using the command prompt. In the same command prompt window with administrative privileges, type the following command and press Enter:

ipconfig /flushdns

This command clears the DNS resolver cache on your computer, forcing it to re-query DNS servers for domain name resolution.

7. Verifying Changes:
To verify that the changes made to the hosts file are working as expected, open a web browser and navigate to the domain names you've modified in the hosts file. If the changes were successful, your browser should resolve the domain names to the IP addresses specified in the hosts file.

8. Undoing Changes:
If you need to revert changes made to the hosts file, simply open the file in Notepad again and delete or comment out the entries you added or modified. To comment out an entry, prefix it with the "#" symbol. Save the changes and flush the DNS cache if necessary.

9. Considerations and Best Practices:
When editing the hosts file, it's essential to exercise caution and ensure that you're making valid entries. Incorrect entries or syntax errors in the hosts file can disrupt network connectivity and cause issues with domain name resolution. Additionally, be mindful of the potential security implications of modifying the hosts file, as it can be exploited by malware to redirect web traffic or perform DNS spoofing attacks.

10. Documenting Changes:
To keep track of changes made to the hosts file and their purposes, consider maintaining documentation or comments within the file itself. Documenting entries can help you understand their intended purposes and troubleshoot issues more effectively in the future.

In summary, editing the hosts file in Windows 10 allows you to override DNS settings and control how your computer resolves domain names. By following the steps outlined above, you can safely and effectively edit the hosts file to achieve your desired network configurations and testing scenarios. Remember to exercise caution, document changes, and verify the results to ensure a smooth editing process.