A way to view your site before you move the domain to point to the website is through the use of a Hosts file. Each computer has a hosts file and you can edit this file to point a specific domain to your hosting package IP address.
The Hosts file basically acts as your computer's own nameserver and so will map a domain to an IP address just for your own computer.
The host file is located in different locations in different operating systems:
- Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7/8: C:
- Windows 95/98/Me:
- Linux and other Unix-like operating systems:
- Mac OS 9 and earlier: System Folder: Preferences or System folder (format of the file may vary from Windows and Linux counterparts)
- Mac OS X:
Note also on Windows, you may need to remove the 'Read Only' flag on the 'hosts' file itself.
You can edit this file with any basic text editor (like Notepad). There should be an entry in the file already for 'localhost' and you can copy the required format from this.
* Note in Vista, and Windows 7, you need Administrator access to edit the host file. The easiest way to do this is to run Notepad as Administrator - click the Start button, type notepad, right click on the notepad icon, and click "Run As Administrator" then open the host file as normal.