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How do I modify my Hosts file?

How do I ping an IP Address?

How do I run Trace Route?

Q: How do I modify my Hosts file?

A: The Hosts file on your computer associates a website URL (e.g. with an Internet Protocol Address (IP Address, e.g.

You will only need to modify the Hosts file if your computer cannot lookup the IP address of a website through your ISP's Domain Name Server (DNS).

*You will need to have administrator permissions to edit your host file

Download a free program called Host Administrator to edit your hosts file quickly and easily.

  • Click here to download the program.
  • Double-click the file to run the program
  • Click the "Add" button and enter the appropriate IP address.
    The IP Address of AdvisorSites' web server is
  • Enter your domain name ( in the "Host Name" field
  • Click Save and then Exit.
  • Open a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) and type the domain name into the address bar exactly as you entered it in the previous step.

To modify your hosts file manually, follow the directions below carefully:

A hosts file entry looks like this:

The first column contains the IP address of the website. The second column contains the website's address.

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Click Search and select Files or Folders.  
  • Type hosts in the search field.
  • If you are using Windows NT, 2000 or XP, choose the file located in the directory C:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc. If you're using Windows 95 or 98, choose the one in C:\windows
  • Right click the hosts file and select Open With
  • Choose Notepad and click OK
  • Start a new line at the bottom of the text and type in 
  • Press the spacebar or tab key.
  • Type your domain name (
  • Click File, then Save
  • Make sure your file was saved without any extension (just "hosts", not "hosts.txt") 
  • Open a browser window and type in your domain name exactly as you entered it in the hosts file.

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    Q: How do I ping an IP Address?

    A: Ping is a program that asks a remote server to send a response message back to your computer so that you can determine if that server is reachable through the Internet.

    If a response message is received, then your computer can communicate with the server. If a response is not received, it indicates a breakdown in communication somewhere in the Internet between your computer and the server. You can use the Trace Route program (see below) to determine where the breakdown is occurring

    Ping uses an Internet Protocol Address (IP Address, e.g. to find the computer you wish to communicate with. If you don't know the IP address, ping will automatically look it up. For example:
    ping will first look up the IP Address of and then send a message to that IP Address.

    To use the ping program on your computer follow the directions listed below:

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Select Run from the Start menu.
  • Type the word command in the Run window and click OK .
  • In the DOS window that appears:
  • Type ping to ping your email server.
  • Type ping to ping your website server.
  • Substitute your actual domain name in place of "yourdomain".
  • A successful ping will show four replies from the server. This means your computer can communicate with the server.
  • An unsuccessful ping will return the result Unknown Host or Request timed out. Double check to make sure you typed everything correctly and then run a Trace Route (see below).

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        Q: How do I run Trace Route?

        A: Trace Route pings ( see "How do I ping an IP Address " ) all the computers and routers between your computer and the one you are trying to communicate with.  This shows the responsivness of the path from your computer to another computer on the Internet.

        Each line in the Trace Route output shows the time it takes for the response message to get to your computer, the IP Address of the responder, and the name of the responder.

        If you see an asterisk (*), it indicates that the computer or router is not responding. Response times larger than 50ms also indicate a problem.

        To run the Trace Route program follow the directions below:

      • Click on the Start button and choose Run
      • Type the word "command" in the Run window. Click OK.
      • Type "tracert > tracert.txt". Substitute your actual domain name for "yourdomain". Press Enter.
      • The program will run for a few seconds. When the DOS prompt returns, you can view the results of the tracert command in the tracert.txt file. If your email conditions permit, send this file as an attachment to

        Please specify:
      • The time and duration of the outage that the traceroute was intended to diagnose
      • The behavior you experienced (e.g. could not see site, could not download email...) which indicated to you that a connectivity issue existed.

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