Knowledgebase: Domains & DNS
Temporary Preview URLs Disabled
Posted by on 09 July 2012 09:46 AM

We have disabled temporary preview URLs due to ongoing issues with users stealing bandwidth and concealing content behind other users' domains. If you need to preview domains before DNS has been pointed to our servers, you can setup an entry in your computer's hosts file for it.

You can add your domain name(s) to your hosts file by doing the following for all local computers:

Note: please remember to remove the entry you added (and ONLY that entry; your computer may not work correctly if you remove all entries!) when you're done testing. This will avoid problems down the road if your account is migrated, assigned a dedicated IP, etc.

Linux (i.e. Ubuntu)

  1. Open an xterm (or any other terminal emulator of your choice)

  2. Type in: sudo nano /etc/hosts (or use any other editor of your choice, such as my personal favorite, vim (hit i to edit text in vim); just be sure to edit the file with root privileges)

  3. Add a line containing xx.xx.xx.xx, where xx.xx.xx.xx is the appropriate IP address for the A Small Orange server, VPS, etc. (this will most likely be the main shared IP unless you have purchased a dedicated IP) and is your actual domain or subdomain hosted on that server (do not insert slashes, http://, or the like)

  4. When done, save the document (use CTRL+X to save and exit, which you must confirm by hitting the y key in nano; vi(m) users would hit Esc then :wq)

  5. You should now be able to visit in a web browser and be able to see the content you have hosted on our servers

To remove the entry...

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above

  2. Remove the entry you added (in nano, move the cursor down to the entry and hit CTRL+K to delete the line; in vi(m), move the cursor to the line and hit dd)

  3. Save the document (see Step 3 above for instructions on how to do that)

You're done!


By default, if you try to modify your hosts file in Vista or Windows 7 it will not let you save it. It tells you that you don't have permission. To successfully modify the hosts file, run notepad.exe as an administrator and open the file.

  1. Browse to Start, then All Programs, then Accessories

  2. Right-click Notepad, then select Run as Administrator

  3. Click Continue on the UAC prompt

  4. Click File, then Open

  5. Browse to C:\\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc

  6. Change the file filter dropdown box from Text Documents (*.txt) to All Files (*.*)

  7. Select Hosts and then click Open

  8. Add an entry like this: (see Step 3 under the Linux instructions for details)

  9. Save your host's file and you're done

To remove the entry...

  1. Follow steps 1-7 above

  2. Delete the line you had added

  3. Save the file

Mac OS X

  1. Open a terminal by going to Applications, then Utilities, then Terminal

  2. Type in: sudo su -

  3. Press Enter

  4. Type in: echo "" >> /private/etc/hosts (see Step 3 under the Linux instructions for details)

  5. Press Enter and you're done

To remove the entry...

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above

  2. Type in vi /private/etc/hosts

  3. Press Enter

  4. Use the cursor keys to position the cursor over the line you added above and type dd to delete the line

  5. Type :wq to save your changes and exit

(16 vote(s))
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Comments (6)
Donna McMaster
03 February 2013 10:58 PM
I understand your security concerns, but this is a terrible solution. While geeks like me are capable of editing hosts files, I shudder to think of trying to explain to my clients how they are supposed to do this while they are testing and doing final updates on their new site.

Furthermore, if you are pointing your computer to the new host, you can no longer access the existing (ACTIVE) site.

I solved the problem by using ASO cPanel to park a "spare" domain name on the account. It works well, allows continued access to the active site during testing phase for the new site, and is easy for clients to use.

David Flindall
09 February 2013 08:00 AM
I agree this isn't a good solution. I guess you can add an entry without "www" to view the development site, and use the "www" for the live site. But this isn't ideal.

I'm curious as to how to get this up and running:

"I solved the problem by using ASO cPanel to park a "spare" domain name on the account."

Any ideas?

Rob Renner
11 February 2013 06:27 AM
Why not simply add a zone to the DNS and point it to the IP? Prehaps I don't fully understand the issue. We are in the process of setting up a seperate ISP to act as a fallback site as well as host some new.

All I did was add "backup." to the DNS as an "A" and for the new we added "new." as an "A". Original site remains functional, new and backup can be acessed without issue.

As I said - maybe I don't understand the issue fully.

Mark Manderson
18 February 2013 06:06 PM
How do I determine what IP address to use? (I.e. what's the IP of the server that hosts my site?)
Brent S. (ASO)
19 February 2013 10:24 AM
Thanks for the alternative solution! It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but we wanted to take a different approach from other webhosts and prevent bandwidth leeching.

You can query our nameservers directly to get the correct IP! Example:

bts@dawid ~ $ nslookup


It may vary depending on which tool you use to do this and what operating system.
Brent S. (ASO)
19 February 2013 03:25 PM
You can read more about cPanel's parked domains etc. here:

As others pointed out, that does indeed also work. However, it can become problematic with Wordpress and other "drop-in" sites; they have the URL encoded into the configuration so once you want to go live, you have to remember to change the URL back to the naked domain as opposed to a parked or subdomain.
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