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On my Mac (running OS 10.6.8), I can edit my hosts file with sudo vi /etc/hosts, but changes I make don't seem to persist through restarts or possibly awaking from sleep mode.

Is there a way to make these changes persist?

Here's a sample change adding an override for www.example.com:

$ cat /etc/hosts
##
# Host Database
#
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting.  Do not change this entry.
##
127.0.0.1   localhost
255.255.255.255 broadcasthost
::1             localhost 
fe80::1%lo0 localhost

1.2.3.4 www.example.com

Update: I am also using Cisco AnyConnect VPN software, and that turned out to be the clue. See Daniel's answer below.

Update 2013-05-20: This behavior was fixed/changed by Cisco in AnyConnect v3.0.5080 (or higher), released in Spring 2013. Release Notes - search for hosts.ac.

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1  
possible duplicate of /etc/hosts getting reset in Lion –  Daniel Beck Jan 26 '12 at 18:18
    
@user606723 /etc is a symbolic link to /private/etc. –  Daniel Beck Jan 26 '12 at 18:18
    
Brian, are you using Cisco VPN software? Do you have the file /etc/hosts.ac? –  Daniel Beck Jan 26 '12 at 19:42
    
Bingo! I am in face using Cisco AnyConnect VPN. I updated /etc/hosts.ac file and it now persists the changes. Please put this as an answer and I'll accept it. –  BrianC Jan 26 '12 at 19:54
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You are using Cisco AnyConnect software, which will overwrite /private/etc/hosts with /private/etc/hosts.ac. Just edit that file instead.

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Thanks to @Danial's explanation. Using a wrapper script to edit hosts rather than edit it directly would ease your pain a lot.

#!/bin/sh
ORIG=/etc/hosts
FUCKER=/etc/hosts.ac
sudo vim $ORIG
pid=$!
wait $pid
sudo cp $ORIG $FUCKER
echo "$ORIG copied to $FUCKER"
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Fucker? Really? –  Shawn Strickland Oct 8 '13 at 14:22
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