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Some time ago we had an issue with our network infrastructure and php with curl.

Our Network infrastructure is fairly simple.

LoadBalancer/Firewall => 5 servers

The Domainname of our website is set to the ip of the Loadbalancer, of course. But calling curl from one of the servers did result in a timeout. It appears that a server could not call for its own domain it is serving. So we had to set the domains via /etc/hosts to the sever itself.

But now We have implemented a Varnish in front of the Loadbalancer, which we want to automatically purge, once a change on a page happens. So now we need to call the domain www.example.com/url_to_purge. Sadly this call what be resolved to the server itself instead of the varnish, because of the /etc/hosts entries.

So now I am wondering, if you could resolve domain names differently for different services :)

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  • Get rid of the /etc/hosts entries and fix whatever was causing the problem rather than ignoring it. May 22 '12 at 11:11
  • I do not ignore the problem, rather fixing it with the help of the /etc/hosts. Our network infrastructure does not allow to got out of the firewall and enter it again...
    – mlaug
    May 22 '12 at 12:48
  • There is no reason the network infrastructure should disallow a machine from reaching a service that it has a legitimate need to reach. The /etc/hosts hack was done instead of solving the actual problem by allowing the access. May 22 '12 at 13:09
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To answer the question, the only way I am aware of - but never seen used - is via the RES_NAMESERVER environment variable.

To answer your problem, I agree with David Schwartz that you need to remove the /etc/hosts entries because it will only cause you problems. Change your approach to either change the firewall or go directly to a backend host.

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