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hosts(5)                         File Formats                         hosts(5)

       hosts - host name database




       The  hosts  file is a local database that associates the names of hosts
       with their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. An IP address  can  be  in
       either  IPv4  or IPv6 format. The hosts file can be used in conjunction
       with, or instead of, other hosts databases, including the  Domain  Name
       System  (DNS),  the  NIS hosts map, or information from an LDAP server.
       Programs use library interfaces to  access  information  in  the  hosts

       Note  that  /etc/hosts  and  /etc/inet/ipnodes  are  symbolic  links to

       The hosts file has one entry for each IP address of  each  host.  If  a
       host  has more than one IP address, it will have one entry for each, on
       consecutive lines. The format of each line is:

       IP-address  official-host-name  nicknames...

       Items are separated by any number of SPACE and/or TAB  characters.  The
       first  item on a line is the host's IP address. The second entry is the
       host's official name. Subsequent entries on the same line are  alterna‐
       tive  names  for  the  same  machine,  or  "nicknames."  Nicknames  are

       For a host with more than one IP address, consecutive entries for these
       addresses  may contain the same or differing nicknames. Different nick‐
       names are useful for assigning distinct names to different addresses.

       A call to gethostbyname(3C) returns a hostent structure containing  the
       union  of  all IPv4 addresses and nicknames from each line containing a
       matching official name or nickname. A call  to  getipnodebyname(3C)  is
       similar, but is capable of returning hostent structures containing IPv4
       and IPv6 addresses. Applications might prefer to use the address-family
       independent getaddrinfo(3C) API for name-to-address lookups.

       A `#' indicates the beginning of a comment; characters up to the end of
       the line are not interpreted by routines that search the file.

       Network addresses are written in one of two ways:

           o      The conventional  "decimal  dot"  notation  and  interpreted
                  using the inet_addr routine from the Internet address manip‐
                  ulation library, inet(3C).

           o      The IP Version 6 protocol [IPV6], defined in  RFC  1884  and
                  interpreted  using the inet_pton() routine from the Internet
                  address manipulation library. See inet(3C).

       This interface supports node names as  defined  in  Internet  RFC  952,
       which states:

       A "name" (Net, Host, Gateway, or Domain name) is a text string up to 24
       characters drawn from the alphabet (A-Z), digits (0-9), minus sign (−),
       and  period  (.). Note that periods are only allowed when they serve to
       delimit components of "domain style names". (See RFC 921, "Domain  Name
       System  Implementation  Schedule,"  for  background). No blank or space
       characters are permitted as part of a  name.  No  distinction  is  made
       between  uppercase  and lowercase. The first character must be an alpha
       character [or a digit. (RFC 1123 relaxed RFC 952's  limitation  of  the
       first character to only alpha characters.)] The last character must not
       be a minus sign or period.

       Host names must not consist of numbers only. A host name  must  contain
       at least one alphabetical or special character.

       Although the interface accepts host names longer than 24 characters for
       the host portion (exclusive of the domain  component),  choosing  names
       for hosts that adhere to the 24 character restriction will insure maxi‐
       mum interoperability on the Internet.

       A host which serves as a GATEWAY should have  "−GATEWAY"  or  "−GW"  as
       part  of its name. Hosts which do not serve as Internet gateways should
       not use "−GATEWAY" and "−GW" as part of their names. A host which is  a
       TAC  should  have  "−TAC" as the last part of its host name, if it is a
       DoD host. Single character names or nicknames are not allowed.

       Example 1 Example hosts File Entry

       The following is a typical line from the hosts file:

    gaia     # John Smith

       Example 2 Example IPv6 Address Entry

       The following is an example of an IPv6 hosts entry:

         2001:0db8:3c4d:55:a00:20ff:fe8e:f3ad   myhost   # John Smith

       gethostbyname(3C),  getipnodebyname(3C),  inet(3C),   nsswitch.conf(5),

       Braden,  B., editor, RFC 1123, Requirements for Internet Hosts - Appli‐
       cation and Support, Network Working Group, October, 1989.

       Harrenstien, K., Stahl, M., and Feinler, E., RFC 952, DOD Internet Host
       Table Specification, Network Working Group, October 1985.

       Hinden, R., and Deering, S., editors, RFC 1884, IP Version 6 Addressing
       Architecture, Network Working Group, December, 1995.

       Postel, Jon,  RFC  921,  Domain  Name  System  Implementation  Schedule
       (Revised), Network Working Group, October 1984.

       /etc/inet/hosts  is  the official SVR4 name of the hosts file. The sym‐
       bolic link /etc/hosts exists for BSD compatibility.

       The symbolic link /etc/net/ipnodes exists for  backwards  compatibility
       with previous Solaris releases.

Oracle Solaris 11.4               17 Nov 2016                         hosts(5)
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