Developing a website locally should be simple: point the default web site in your web server at a local directory, fire up your web browser of choice and navigate to http://localhost.

And it is that simple, until you have to manage multiple sites. So now you're faced with two choices:

  1. Change the directory that the default site points to each time you want to develop a different site. This gets old quickly, and doesn't handle situations where you need multiple sites or services running simultaneously, so you decide to
  2. Create multiple web sites in your web server, and differentiate them by creating unique hostnames. But to do this, you're going to have to edit the hosts file, and its probably buried deep within the file system somewhere. There has to be a better way.


You start by picking a unique hostname for your site. Say you want to call the site yoursite. Using, you will now access your site locally at

Just create a new site in your local web server, point it to the directory that contains your web site files, and bind the site (using host headers) to That's it. This is the part where you used to go mucking around with the hosts file, but instead you can back to doing whatever it is that you really need to be doing.

Pretty simple

That's all you need to know to get up and running, but here's a bit more info for the curious:

Can I depend on

The service is built simply from a domain name and DNS entry. The authoritative system providing DNS capabilities for is Amazon Route 53. Route 53 is a global service that is highly available, reliable and fast. will be available when you need it.

Are there any restrictions on what hostnames I can use?

You can use practically any hostname that you would like with The only restriction is that you cannot use, since it is used for this site.

Product of Bespoke Industries a hosts file shortcut for local web development Bespoke Industries