Technical Support
Problems accessing local domains hosted on a LAN

When you host one or domains on your LAN behind a router (such as a DSL/cablemodem router), you may encounter difficulties in accessing your domains from inside your network. Chances are you are effected by this anomaly if our Port Sniffer can detect your web server but you are unable to access your web site from within your own network.

If you're hosting a single domain, you can access the web and email servers via their local IP address. By local address we are referring to the internal NAT IP address your router assigns each of your computers or computer. (192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x)

If you're hosting multiple domains, you need to configure the hosts file to associate each domain with the appropriate server's local IP address. Windows looks in it's hosts file for a match before querying a DNS server for the address of a web site. The hosts file in Windows NT and Windows 2000 can be found in the 'C:\WINNT\System32\Drivers\Etc' directory. Windows XP should have the same path, but if you've upgraded to XP from Windows 98 or ME, the directory name may be 'C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc' instead. For Windows 95, 98 and ME, the file should be in the 'C:\Windows' directory. (Note that these versions of Windows may not have the hosts file installed, but you may create one using notepad using the example below.) Macintosh clients (pre OS X) store the "Hosts" file in the preferences folder and require a slightly different format than Windows clients. See the Macintosh section for configuration

Windows Clients

After you've found the file, open it using notepad. It should appear similar to the example below, regardless of the version of windows being used.


In this example, let's assume that you have a web server on local address and a mail server on local address We'll also assume that you have domains with the following names:, and You would want to edit your host file to look like the following example: (If you're creating a file from scratch in notepad, only the section starting at the " localhost" line is needed)


You need to make this change to all clients on your LAN that need access to your web and mail servers. Once you have changed the file, save it by choosing SAVE from the FILE menu. If you've created the hosts file from scratch in notepad, you may need to navigate to the directory where the file is stored and rename it, as notepad will append ".TXT" to the end of the file name, which will cause Windows to ignore the file.

Once you've modified the file and saved it, you should be able to immediately access your local web and mail servers using your favorite browser or mail program. This is because TCP/IP looks for domains in the hosts file before checking with a DNS server outside your network.


Differences in Macintosh Hosts files (Pre OS X) are as follows: Given the same domains and local IP addresses as noted in the example above, the Macintosh Hosts file would look like the following example:


NOTE: The Macintosh Hosts file must have the "H" in Hosts capitalized, or the system will not find it.

Macintosh OS X Clients:

To create a host file with Mac OS X, follow these steps:

1. Open the /Applications/Utilities folder path, and then double-click NetInfo Manager .

2. In the Directory Browser, click the /machines directory. On the Domain menu, click Security , and then click Authenticate . You may be prompted to enter your administrator password. If Deauthenticate appears on the submenu, administrative permissions are already applied.

3. On the Directory menu, click New Subdirectory . A new item labeled new_directory appears.

4. In the Value(s) column of the lower window, double-click new_directory , and then type the name of the server or web page (i.e. to which you want to link an IP address.

5. On the Directory menu, click New Property , and then replace new_property by typing ip_address .

6. On the Directory menu, click New Value .

7. Replace new_value with the IP address of the server to which you want to connect.

8. Repeat steps 3 - 7 as needed for each server or web page.

9. On the Domain menu, click Save .

10. Click Update this copy , and then quit NetInfo Manager.

For more information or to post questions or comments about the use of our products please visit our Online Support Forum.

Skip Navigation LinksHome > Legacy > Online Help > Help On: Problems Accessing Local Domains Hosted on a LAN

Copyright ©, 2000-2022   All Rights Reserved
last modified: 4/18/2008 9:02:30 PM
Contact Us   |   Site Map   |   Login   |   Terms of Use   |   Privacy Policy
9/30/2022 6:56:35 PM