Command Section
HOSTS(5)                  FreeBSD File Formats Manual                 HOSTS(5)

     hosts - host name data base

     The hosts file contains information regarding the known hosts on the
     network.  It can be used in conjunction with DNS, and the NIS maps
     `hosts.byaddr' and `hosts.byname', as controlled by nsswitch.conf(5).
     For each host a single line should be present with the following

           Internet address
           official host name

     Items are separated by any number of blanks and/or tab characters.  A
     ``#'' indicates the beginning of a comment; characters up to the end of
     the line are not interpreted by routines which search the file.

     This file provides a backup used when the name server is not running.
     For the name server, it is suggested that only a few addresses be
     included in this file.  These include addresses for the local interfaces
     that ifconfig(8) needs at boot time and a few machines on the local

     This file may be created from the official host data base maintained at
     the Network Information Control Center (NIC), though local changes may be
     required to bring it up to date regarding unofficial aliases and/or
     unknown hosts.  As the data base maintained at NIC is incomplete, use of
     the name server is recommended for sites on the DARPA Internet.

     Network addresses are specified in the conventional ``.'' (dot) notation
     using the inet_addr(3) routine from the Internet address manipulation
     library, inet(3).  Host names may contain any printable character other
     than a field delimiter, newline, or comment character.

     /etc/hosts  The hosts file resides in /etc.

     gethostbyname(3), nsswitch.conf(5), ifconfig(8)

     Name Server Operations Guide for BIND.

     The hosts file format appeared in 4.2BSD.

FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4        December 25, 2013       FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4
Command Section