Testing your site accessibility

Testing if your site is accessible remotely

To test your external site accessibility, you can ask a friend to do check it for you from his home. A better solution is to to use a proxy service such as Proxify.com (you can find a more extensive list of sites providing proxy service in Google directory). It will help you see how the rest of the world sees your site by browsing it remotely for you and giving you the results (and of course, this is easier than asking a friend to test it for you).

Using your domain name for local tests

When you try to browse your domain name directly from your computer or a computer connected to your local network, 95% of the time the browser will report a connection error because most routers do not support loopback (connecting to your external IP from inside your local network).

To overcome this limitation and to enable you to work with your site locally using its domain name, we suggest using this tip: For example, let's say you want to test the host http://www.myhost.com locally. In the computer where you used to browse to get the web site (which doesn't work anymore since the host has a name), open with Notepad (or any text editor) the file:

  • C:\WINNT\system32\drivers\etc\hosts if you are using Windows NT, 2000, or XP Pro.
  • C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts if you are using Windows XP Home or 2003
  • C:\WINDOWS\hosts if you are using Windows 95,98, or ME
  • /etc/hosts if you are using Mac OS X or Linux

and add at the end of that file a line of the form: www.myhost.com

Save the file and browse http://www.myhost.com locally. You should see the web site.

This file acts like a local domain names database. The system does a lookup in it before contacting an external DNS server to resolve the domain name requested in the browser.

See also