How to Edit Hosts File Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Editing the Hosts File in Windows 11

Editing the hosts file in Windows 11 allows you to override DNS settings for specific domains, essentially telling your computer to look at a different IP address than what the domain would normally resolve to. This can be handy for web development, blocking websites, or redirecting traffic. To do this, you’ll need to use administrative privileges and a text editor like Notepad. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Edit Hosts File Windows 11

In the following steps, you’ll learn how to navigate to the hosts file and make necessary changes. By the end, you’ll be able to control how your computer interacts with specific domains.

Step 1: Open Notepad as Administrator

Right-click on the Notepad app and select "Run as administrator".

When running Notepad as an administrator, you gain the necessary permissions to edit system files. Without this step, you’ll likely encounter issues when trying to save your changes.

Step 2: Open the Hosts File

In Notepad, go to File > Open and navigate to C:WindowsSystem32driversetc. Select the hosts file to open it.

The hosts file is located in a directory that requires administrative access. Make sure to change the file type to "All Files" in the open dialogue to see the hosts file.

Step 3: Make Your Changes

Add your desired IP address and domain names at the bottom of the file. Format should be: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX

Each entry in the hosts file should be on its own line, with the IP address first, followed by the domain name. Ensure there’s at least one space between the IP address and the domain name.

Step 4: Save the File

After making your changes, go to File > Save in Notepad.

This step requires administrative rights, which you granted by opening Notepad as an administrator. If you encounter any issues saving, double-check you followed Step 1 correctly.

Step 5: Flush DNS Cache

Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type ipconfig /flushdns, then press Enter.

Flushing the DNS cache ensures that Windows starts using your new hosts file settings immediately, without waiting for the old DNS records to expire.

After completing these steps, your computer will use the new IP addresses specified in the hosts file for the domains you added. This change is immediate upon flushing the DNS cache and does not require a system restart.

Tips for Editing Hosts File Windows 11

  • Always create a backup of your hosts file before making changes.
  • Use Notepad++ or another advanced text editor for better syntax highlighting.
  • Be cautious when redirecting domains to avoid disrupting essential services.
  • Use comments (lines starting with #) to annotate why certain entries were added.
  • Validate your changes by pinging the domains and checking they resolve to the new IP addresses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hosts file used for?

The hosts file is used to map domain names to IP addresses before the DNS server is queried.

Do I need to restart my computer after editing the hosts file?

No, but you should flush the DNS cache to apply changes immediately.

Can editing the hosts file harm my computer?

Only if you make incorrect entries. Always double-check your changes.

How do I revert changes to the hosts file?

Open the hosts file again and remove or comment out the changes you made, then save the file.

Why can’t I save the hosts file?

You need to run Notepad as an administrator to have the necessary permissions to save changes.


  1. Right-click Notepad and select "Run as administrator".
  2. Open the hosts file from C:WindowsSystem32driversetc.
  3. Add entries for IP addresses and domain names.
  4. Save the file.
  5. Flush DNS cache via Command Prompt.


Editing the hosts file in Windows 11 can be a powerful tool for managing how your computer resolves domain names. Whether you’re a developer needing to test a website or a user looking to block certain sites, these steps will guide you through the process smoothly.

Keep in mind, any changes made to the hosts file are system-wide and affect all users on the computer. Always ensure you have a backup before making any changes, and double-check your entries to avoid any network disruptions.

By gaining control over your DNS resolutions through the hosts file, you can enhance your web development workflow, block unwanted sites, or even redirect traffic for various purposes. Happy editing!

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