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1 definition found
 for hosts file
From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  hosts file
      A text file on a networked computer used to
     associate host names with IP addresses.  A hosts file
     contains lines consisting of whitespace-separated fields
     giving an IP address followed by list of host names or
     aliases associated with that address.  The name resolution
     library software can use this file to look up the IP address
     for a host name.  The hosts file is "/etc/hosts" on Unix and
     "C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts" or "lmhosts" on
     Microsoft Windows,
     In most cases, hosts files have now been almost entirely
     replaced by DNS, in which distributed servers provide the
     same information.  A hosts file can still be used to override
     DNS for testing purposes or other special situations.

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