How can I browse my website without in the delivery chain?

Sometimes you may wish to view your website as it is presented by your origin servers rather than through This may be to debug cache or VCL questions you may have or to see if the website behaves in a different way than as you expect.

Making a change to your “hosts file” is the easiest way to tell your browser that the website is to be found directly at a particular IP address rather than at (which is what global DNS would be telling your browser).

Making Changes to Your Hosts File

  • Windows - Find your hosts file at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts Note - This assumes C: is the drive your Windows installation is on
  • Mac - Should be at /private/etc/hosts
  • Linux - /etc/hosts You Linux guys know how to do this anyway right?

Open the file using your notepad or another text editor - note you may need to run as administrator so you can save any changes you make to this file…

This will look something like this:

Next, you will need to IP address for your website. If you don’t have it, you can find it through services such as

When you have your IP address simply enter it into the hosts file followed by a space and the domain of your website.

If you have multiple domains you will need to include each e.g

Save the file (no name change or file type change!). et Voila, your browser will now be browsing the website from origin. You may need to restart your browser (but not always).

How can you tell? You will not find any ID in the response header for a request. Go to your broswer, open dev tools (f11 on windows) and browse your website. Click on a response in the network tab and view the response header. If you see ID in there, you have not set up the hosts file entry correctly or you may need to restart the browser.

You should not see this ID if you are browsing around

Don’t forget to remove the entry when you have completed your testing. You can delete the entry then save the hots file or place a # in front of the entry (and save) to disable it but keep the entry for later use. Remove the # save the host file.