I recently found out this service


but i'm not clear how it is useful, i mean, can't i just replace the IP instead of adding the host prefix in all URLs?


Like it says on the page, if you have virtualhosts on your webserver (more then one), you need to use a domain to get the (non-default) vhost on that server.

You can usually add those domains to a 'hosts' file, and point them to your development server*, but sometimes it's easier to just add a domain alias (eg. siteXYZ. to the dev server, and access it via that domain name (since that works from everywhere now).

*( siteXYZ.tld, and then remove the line from the hosts file, when you wish to access the production server, and then re-add it, to access the dev. server, ...)

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  • Got it and now I understand why it is useful for mobile devices, since you cannot change the host file on an iPhone (for example). Thanks! – demogar Sep 26 '12 at 20:05

I use a wildcard DNS all the time in my development environment. *.dev.example.com always resolves to my development server, while *.test.example.com resolves to my public test server I use for showcasing to clients.

However, I use a DNS server and specifically split DNS: *.test.example.com resolves to a private address when resolved internally by my internal DNS server, but resolves to a "real" IP when queried against our example.com authoritative DNS server on the Internet.

As for xio.io, seems kind of cool, but I don't know if I'd like to rely on (and expose private addresses to) an external 3rd party when I really don't have to and it wouldn't really mesh with my workflow (i.e. sending publicly-accessible test.example.com URLs to clients).

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  • 1
    I use it for development as well. With Apache's mod_vhost_alias, setting up a new site is as easy as creating a directory. – afrazier Sep 26 '12 at 17:42

The purpose of the service is to allow you to easily reach multiple sites hosted using name-based virtual hosting. It appears to be very broken though:

$ dig @ns-1.xip.io foo. any

; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P2-RedHat-9.8.3-3.P2.fc16 <<>> @ns-1.xip.io
; foo. any
; (1 server found)

;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 34676
;; flags: qr rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;foo.            IN      ANY

;; Query time: 59 msec
;; WHEN: Wed Sep 26 11:50:08 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 36
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It looks like it's basically for an on-the-fly domain names for development purposes. If my work laptop has an IP address of and I need a domain name for that computer for whatever I'm testing, I could use instead of adding a new entry to my own DNS server. Test it out with dig or nslookup, it's kind of cool.

I see this as effective for developers who want a domain name but don't want to waste time sending in a request to IT to have something added to the DNS servers.

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