How to use hosts file to preview your website on new server

For cPanel users the default preview URL tool can cause some issues for complex sites, images may not load which can make checking everything is fine difficult or impossible.

Thankfully there is another way you can check your site, although it does mean editing your hosts file.

Editing the hosts file on your PC to bypass the DNS lookup and access the site on your webhosts servers through your main domain rather than the preview URL.

This only affects your PC and visitors to your website will see the site as normal.


You need to open it with Administrator permissions, to do this right-click on the NotePad icon, select “Run as Administrator”.

Now, in NotePad open the file:  c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

On OSX and Linux you may need to use sudo to gain root privileges to edit the file.

Mac OSX /private/etc/hosts

Linux /etc/hosts.

Once your hosts file is open add the following line:


Replace with the IP address of your site, as displayed in your control panel and replace “” with your real domain name.

Once you have made the change, save the file.

Now when you browse to your website as normal. You will see it served from the new server and will be able to test the full functionality of your website before editing the DNS

To view the site on your existing host, just remove the line from your hosts file.

Note: If this doesn’t work you might need to reboot your PC for the change to take effect.

How to pass the COZA (South African Registry) EPP OT&E in WHMCS

COZA EPP OT&E Test ResultsToday I’ve been working to pass the EPP OT&E Tests for the .ZA (South Africa) Registry and ran into some problems using the only EPP WHMCS Module I could find, while great it does miss a lot of the tests needed to pass OT&E – I fixed that 🙂

I’ll walk you through all the steps needed to pass all OT&E Tests for the COZA / registry requirements using WHMCS.

Firstly, grab the original module here:

Once you have that installed you can grab my version of the “cozaepp.php” file which will add the additional functions you need to run all tests, you can download this here.

Now you should be set to start running through the tests.

You should now see a wide selection of buttons when you view a domain using the cozaepp module selected:WHMCS COZA Buttons

Many tests you can complete by simply clicking the buttons, it’s that simple.

Domain Create:

Enter a domain which ends in “” e.g.

Save Changes

Click Register button

This will cover Domain Create, Contact Create

Contact Delete:

Click “Contact Delete” button

Domain Renew:

Click the “Renew” button.

Domain Update Add Status:

Click “Add ClientHold” button

Domain Update Remove Status:

Click “Remove ClientHold” button

Contact Update: Click “Modify Contact Details” -> Edit -> Save

Contact Info: When you’ve registered a domain, this gets called when you load the admin page for the domain

Domain Transfer: 

Domain Transfer is a little tricky due to the need to switch between your 2 test accounts.

After you’ve registered your test domain under the main account (the one without the -2 at the end) edit your settings so the user has the -2 on the end.

Now back on your test domain admin page click “EPP Logout” – This is because the EPP Session is kept alive and even when you make a new request, it’ll still use the other user.

Now that you’ve logged out of the EPP Session, when it’s re-established it should instead be using the -2 test account.

Now you can continue to “EPP Transfer Approve”

EPP Transfer Approve:

After you’ve done the steps above for Domain Transfer, you can click the “Approve Transfer”

Domain Update Registrant:

Click “Update Registrant” button

Domain Host:

To pass this you need to do a few things, you’ll need to Add a child nameserver (Glue Record), Modify it and then Remove it.

The catch is that it doesn’t let you use any old IP for the nameserver it seems it’s put to the same checks as the live system so for it to succeed you need to have your test domain setup on the Domain Name Servers you use, and you’ll need at least 2 nameserver IPs so that you can add, then change the IP.

Once you’ve added your test domain to the DNS servers and it’ll pass the validation checks you’re good to go.

Login as the client account which owns the test domain in WHMCS, go to the manage page for the test domain, click “Register Nameservers”.

Here you can add a child nameserver e.g. with one of the IPs of your working configured namneserver and click Save Changes.

Allow a few minutes for the change to take effect with the registry.

Then, edit the nameserver and change the IP to the 2nd working, configured nameserver.

Now you can delete the nameserver.

This should pass the Domain Host test for you.

Domain Delete:

Click “Request Delete”

EPP Poll Request / EPP Poll Ack:

Run the COZAEPP Poll script by going to

This will run the POLL and you’ll see messages which are retrieved, displayed and then ACK’d.


And that should be all you need, any questions feel free to get in touch.


Direct .UK Launches 10th June

Nominet (the .UK Registry) officially announced on Twitter, and shortly after on their site & via their mailing list that on 30th January that direct .UK registrations like will be made available on 10th June 2014.

They also announced the new Registrar Agreement at the same time which I’ll go into details on another time.

With the announcement comes the much-anticipated website with more information for consumers on what the change means and how it will affect them –

The new website also highlights a new feature of their WHOIS database, it now returns results for .UK domains clearly showing who will get first right of refusal on the new 2nd Level .UK domains.

For example, if you take a look for “” you’ll see that I’ll be able to get the first rights (which I will happily take up of course) to secure DanRodgers.UK thanks to my existing registration –

If you’re interested in getting your own .UK domain and you already own the .CO.UK version and in some cases the .ORG.UK you can check if you’re in line using the tool, if you own the domain which is listed as “Right of registration” then you’re in.

Can I get my desired .UK?

If you registered your domain before 23:59 on 28th October 2013 and there are no other registrations under,,,, or  for the same name, you should be able to get it.

If there are 2 or more registrations with the same name then the .CO.UK owner will be offered the .UK version. If the .CO.UK version wasn’t registered by the 28/10/13 then it will be offered to the .ORG.UK owner, then .ME.UK and so on.

.CO.UK domains registered between now and .UK launch will also be entitled to the .UK version so long as there aren’t any other matching .UK domains already.

If you’re entitled to the .UK when it launches, and want to make sure you stay up to date with the latest developments and secure your domain as soon as they hit the market you can register your interest on Tsohost (where I work as Domains Manager) here:

I’m always happy to answer any questions, do feel free to drop me a message via the Contact page.

First gTLDs are live…

A few days ago internet history was made when the first of the new gTLDs were officially delegated and went live in the Root Nameservers.

This signals the start of the largest expansion of top-level domains in the DNS root in internet history, growing from 22 gTLDs to what will eventually be more than 1400 new possibilities.
ICANN1 promises the vast selection of new options will open up more competition and more choice for consumers when choosing the right domain to represent their needs on the internet.

The first 4 new gTLDs which have been delegated by ICANN are all internationalized domain names or “IDNs”, this is no coincidence as ICANN specifically gives priority to IDNs to help create an inclusive global internet, broadening the growing non-latin speaking internet community engagement with the increasingly global and multi-lingual internet.

The 4 IDN TLDs which are now in the root zone:

.xn--ngbc5azd (شبكة.) — means “.web” in Arabic. Operated by dotShabaka Registry.
.xn--unup4y (.游戏) — means “.games” in Chinese. Operated by Donuts.
.xn--80aswg (.сайт) — means “.site” in various Cyrillic languages. Operated by CORE Association.
.xn--80asehdb (.онлайн) — means “.online” in various Cyrillic languages. Operated by CORE Association.

What does this mean for the registries?

Now that the first TLDs have finally been delegated the registries can get to work on launching their Sunrise periods. During sunrise trademark holders are able to apply for their marks as domain names. Registries are required to offer a sunrise period of no less than 30 days, after this they can go into General availability where anyone can register them.

First live domains?

Due to a clause in the Registry Agreement (RA) (3.1 of specification 5)2 only nic.TLD can be activated – in fact it MUST be active in the DNS.

Registries need to wait 120 days after signing their contracts before they can put other domains live due to collision concerns, although this is extremely unlikely with IDN gTLDs.

The first registry with a live site was :

The CORE association and others in the IDN community are somewhat frustrated by this clause as they are unable to launch with a native language domain, and instead required to use nic.TLD3

What about the others nTLDs?

There are many more new gTLDs which are set to launch and which are at various stages still, we will likely see many more gTLDs making their way into the root zone in the coming months and years.

You can track the status of applications here: