Editing the Hosts File on a Chromebook/Chromebox

This post has been updated, as there are now a few good solutions to get this done

I’ve found 3 good host file equivalents on a chromebook without the need to switch your Chrome OS device into developer mode:

Devices without Android App compatibility:

Unfortunately, you’re stuck with the weaker of three options if you still have a ChromeOS device that does not support android apps. Go to the Chrome Web Store, and get this extension: Hosts Switch Plus

Once you’ve added the extension, you can edit as you see fit… the one gotchya here, is there is an empty select box next to your newly created entries… if it’s not green the link isn’t enabled… which isn’t made immediately clear by the UI. Heres a quick screenshot of what I’m talking about.

This extension works pretty well, but I’ve had a problem accessing https development sites with it.

Devices with Android App compatibility:

Here is where I found some fully functional host file alternatives. Here are the two apps I’ve tried:

(No Root) Hosts Go – Fully functional, uses a VPN to accomplish the feat. Unfortunately, at times I’ve found this app a little slow.

VPN Hosts – Same idea as above with a couple other features. Most notably, I’ve never noticed any slowdowns at all with this app. This is the best one from my experience.

I hope this lists helps, and you can now develop without further workarounds on your Chromebook.

Ready for a new Chromebook? Check out the New Acer Chromebook.

11 thoughts on “Editing the Hosts File on a Chromebook/Chromebox

  1. This does not seem to work for me.
    I have set a domain name to access an address in the LAN where I have a web server with a test site (for example: local.www.domain.com) but I can not access the web server (while with other Windows PCs and Mac works, after changing the host file).
    By running the command “network_diag local.www.domain.com” from crosh, I get “not able to resolve hostnames”, it looks like the editing of the host file has not worked. Can you give me some suggestion? thank you

    1. Hey Marco,
      Can you verify you have a green dot next to the entry in the “Host Switch Plus” extension?
      Thanks,
      Don

  2. thanks for your quick reply
    Sure, I have a green dot next to the entry in the “Host Switch Plus” extension.
    the Host Switch Plus shows:
    – green dot
    – Local IP address of web server
    – domain local.www.domain.com
    but does not work
    network_diag local.www.domain.com says:
    “FAIL: We can reach the nameservers but were not able to resolve hostnames”
    any suggestion?
    thanks

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