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Friday, March 28, 2008

Understanding Your Hosts File – and Using It

Technical Insight From The PEiR Group
By Dan Davis

The PlanWell Job Tracker provides a direct link to files which have been uploaded by your customers using EWO.

By clicking on the folder icon for the EWO order, the Job Tracker will open your FTP folder where you can access the zipped order files, and distribute them to production.

When you click on the file it will look in the database to find the address for your FTP server, and log you in automatically. If this does not work for you, it may mean that you need to add an entry into your Hosts file.

The Internet allows every computer to have its own unique address. These addresses are generally an IP number, but can also be in the form of a name like This is what is known as a Domain name. Domain names are leased from various companies, and registered with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). When you register a domain name, Domain Name Servers throughout the world will add your domain name to their lists, so that Internet requests for will be forwarded to your correct IP address.

In general, this addressing scheme will then allow anybody but you to connect to your FTP. However, your network might be set up in such a way those external addresses, like your FTP may not be reachable from inside your firewall. But you can make this work! All you need to do is find out the internal address for your FTP server, and set up an entry in your Hosts file.

The Hosts file is a text file which resides in one of the following locations on your computer:

Win 98/ME - C:\WINDOWS
It will have no extension, and can be opened using notepad.

Once you have located the file, scroll down to the bottom and add the following:

Replace the x’s in the sample with the internal IP address for your FTP server.
Now each time that you try to browse for , your computer will first check the hosts file to see if you have a special address for it, and if it finds one, it will use it, instead of the address which are given out by the DNS server.

Once you understand how the Hosts file works, you may wish to take more advantage of it by adding shortcuts to frequently visited sites, or by pointing ad-based web sites to your localhost to speed up your internet browsing.

Samples: peir - This will allow you to just enter peir in your browser to get to the peir web site! - will block all files supplied by that Double Click Server to the web page you are viewing, which will make many pages load much faster!

Several organizations publish Hosts files that will greatly eliminate annoying ads and other time wasting promotions, and update them frequently. If you would like to learn more, please visit one of the following sites:

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