[thelist] Question on hosts file and LAN

Phil Turmel pturmel-webdev at turmel.org
Thu May 10 12:50:00 CDT 2007

Brooking, John wrote:
> Hello,
>    After finally getting my local PHP installation to work with multiple
> local development host names through the Windows hosts file, I've got
> one more lingering problem. I've got all this installed on the same
> laptop I use for my full-time corporate job. (Actually, on a VMWare
> virtual machine, but I also had the problem on the base machine before I
> started using the VM, so I don't think that's the problem.) When I'm
> just connected to the Internet at home, without being connected to my
> company LAN, it works fine. When I'm at work connected to the LAN, or at
> home connected through the VPN to the company LAN, it seems that the
> hosts file is not used. If I try to go to one of those local names under
> those conditions, I get an error that the name cannot be resolved. At
> home, if I once more disconnect the VPN (on the base machine), then the
> hosts names once again resolve correctly (in the virtual machine).
>    I know just enough about networking to suspect that being connected
> to the LAN is probably causing my local hosts file to be superceded by
> the company's domain server, but I don't know what, if anything, I can
> do about it. Is there a way to refer the system to the hosts file in
> addition to the domain server? Am I on the right track? Anyone else
> dealt with this?
>    The root site at localhost:8080 still works, so perhaps Apache has a
> virtual directory sort of feature where I can map the other sites as
> "directories" of the root site as an alternate way of getting to them?
> Although that will likely introduce pathing problems in a variety of
> places, so I'm not keen on that approach.
>    Any advice appreciated.
> - John

Hi John,

You are likely stuck.  Every time I've had to load a Fortune 500
company's VPN software, it took over the complete TCP/IP stack,
including the 'gethostbyname' routines.  Checkp**nt led the way on this,
but it appears to be standard practice nowadays.  This is a *feature* of
corporate VPNs that prevent simultaneous communication to trusted and
untrusted networks (trusted by corporate IT, that is).

Since you are comfortable with VMWare, I suggest you install the VPN
software on the VMWare guest, not the host system.  Of course, that
might be contrary to your employer's policies.  It would answer the
immediate question, though.  Hmmm.


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