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I am on a mac Snow Leopard (10.6.8). Recently had to add an external ip address and host to hosts file because dns has not been sorted yet for the website. Works as expected from home. However in the corporate environment the web browser defaults to the name hosting site. The hosts files has the correct permissions and is unix formatted and is consulted if I ping the host name. My thoughts are that either the proxy server or the routers cache dns queries are being giving priority over the hosts file entry. I know that Lion (10.7) seems to consult the name servers before its host file and if this is the case in Snow Leopard, it then leaves me in a quandary of not being able to show my client the work I have done on the website until the dns has been sorted. Any ideas?

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The traditional Unix way to handle this is by a directive in /etc/resolv.conf, allowing you the options of trying to resolve a host name first via DNS or via the hosts file. OS X is unix based, but I am told it has a separate system administered through network preferences which I may overwrites these configuration files at boot. The following URLs might help. (Adding a a second comment due to lenght restrictions) –  Hennes Jun 17 '12 at 16:45

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