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No more hosts file with dnsmasq

In my search for the best local development setup on my Mac, I wanted to have local domains something like project.dev that can work when I’m working on a project locally instead of http://localhost/dev/projectname/somethingelse/etc/. It’s easier, faster, cleaner & looks better.

The old way to achieve this needs you to edit the /etc/hosts/ & Apache httpd-vhosts.conf files each time you want to add new project, or if you are using VirtualDocumentRoot inside httpd-vhosts.conf you will have something like this

NameVirtualHost *:80
<VirtualHost *:80>
   VirtualDocumentRoot /Users/<username>/Sites/%1/%-1/build
</VirtualHost>

Then you will only need to edit the hosts file. Which is still manual & tedious.

The solution I found is using dnsmasq, the setup actually is easy & straightforward. First you need to install dnsmasq through Homebrew brew install dnsmasq make sure you follow the steps mentioned after the end of the installation.

Then we need to edit /usr/local/etc dnsmasq.conf, let’s say you want the local domain name to be .dev then you should add this line address=/.dev/127.0.0.1 to dnsmasq.conf if you want to add more domains you can just add a new line with a new domain name. Next we need to create a file called dev with no file extension inside /etc/resolver/ with this nameserver 127.0.0.1 inside. If you have multiple domains you will need multiple files, each file name need to match the domain name

The last step is to setup your httpd-vhosts.conf let’s say your folder structure is like this

Sites/
|- dev/
|--|-project/
|----|-public/

Then you will need to add this to your httpd-vhosts.conf file

<Virtualhost *:80>
    UseCanonicalName Off
    VirtualDocumentRoot "/Users/<username>/Sites/dev/%1/public/"
    ServerAlias *.dev
    LogFormat "%V %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %s %b" vcommon
    ErrorLog "/Users/<username>/Sites/dev/vhosts-error_log"
</VirtualHost>

If you have multiple domains then you will need to add more blocks, a block for each domain.

After you save this file you will need to restart Apache & Dnsmasq, but I found that sometimes the dnsmasq settings don’t get applied if I restarted it so I restart the computer itself.

Now, try to access any projects you have under the dev folder using this pattern http://<project-name>.dev this will always serve what is inside the public/ folder under this project. whenever you create a new project under the dev/ folder it will be accessible using .dev domain, no need to manually do anything or edit the hosts file anymore.

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