Making changes to the HOSTS file is generally something users either do regularly, or they’ve never touched it. For those of you not familiar with the HOSTS file it is basically a way to override the IP address that a domain/address resolves to. This is a great way to test out DNS changes on your machine before you make any updates at your DNS provider. It’s also a way to access machines in your house without having to use the IP address.
The problem with the HOSTS file is that it can be a pain to make updates to, but there are tools that try to make it easier. We’ve already covered a tool on Windows that will help users make those changes, and today we are talking about a free Mac app called Gas Mask that does the same sort of thing.
The thing I really like about this app is that it lets you maintain multiple hosts files, and you can choose which one you want to be activated. To do that you’ll just need to use the few buttons that are on the toolbar… create a new HOSTS file, and then click the Activate button to make that the active HOSTS file on your machine. By creating new HOSTS files that means at any point down the road you can switch back to the original in just a couple of clicks.
In case you’re wondering I’ve been using this on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and it’s been working fine.
Gas Mask HOSTS File Editor (Mac only; Freeware)