Is it possible to enter some sort of CNAME record or alias in the windows hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts)?

Basically I want to forward all requests made to host A to host B, without having to hard code the IP address (which changes frequently).

2 Answers 2


The windows hosts file supports only ip->name mappings, it does not support any other standard DNS record types. See here:


I would recommend running a simple dns server in order to do the redirect you are talking about. Try powerdns http://www.powerdns.com/


PowerDNS is not supported on Windows. I would recommend a tool such as "SimpleDNS" (14 day Trial) or "Technitium DNS Server" (free) which can be used to create a simple local DNS server.

Once you setup the program, you can create a zone and record for the CNAME you're trying to test and point your DNS server settings to only to test.

DNS Settings

I was able to use this to test TrafficManager and this looks to be the easiest way to do it on a Windows computer.

  • Anyone found an alternative for Mac?
    – eos
    Sep 7, 2021 at 15:15
  • @eos I didn't try it out personally, but a googling gives me a number of alternatives. For example this one mamp.info/namo/en
    – MEMark
    Dec 3, 2021 at 6:10
  • 1
    +1 for Technitium - very easy to set up Dec 14, 2021 at 12:24

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