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Jellybean-surprise! (Or, how to change "localhost" to whatever you fancy)

Published March 16, 2016

UPDATE, 04/25/18: 

I recently realized I could set localhost aliases that mapped the different roles of the software I'm building. For example, if an application has three user roles ("client", "coach", "admin"), I set up aliases for each that point to a logged-in user of that role. So when I visit client:3000 , I know that I'll be logged in as a client. When I visit admin:3000 , I know that I'll be logged in as an admin user, and so on.


There are lots of "very important reasons" you might want to edit your hosts file, but let's be serious - I did just for fun. The following instructions are for Mac; find instructions for Windows here and instructions for Linux here.


1. Open your hosts file

Open your hosts file from terminal with whatever text editor you prefer: $ sudo subl /etc/hosts, $ sudo vim /etc/hosts, $ sudo nano /etc/hosts, you get the picture. You might be asked for your admin password.

Sample hosts file:

2. Add your new aliases

Copy the line that says localhost and add a new line, but change localhost to whatever you want:

Save (after potentially entering your admin password again), and you're set! You can have multiple aliases direct to - they don’t override each other.

Now, instead of seeing localhost:3000, you can be greeted with

and who doesn’t want that?

Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Co-Owner and Senior Software Developer