Is there any way to 'include' another file within the /etc/hosts file? Particularly I want to include a non-protected (-rw-rw-rw) file so I can easily edit it in something like TextMate without having to issue sudo vi /etc/hosts

I'm on OS X, but as far as I know, this should be relevant in other *nix OSs.

  • 2
    Wouldn't this be a security risk if it were even possible?
    – DWilliams
    Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 19:36
  • Probably, but I thought it was worth asking. Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 19:39
  • See also superuser.com/questions/381138/… Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 22:46
  • Great question. My VPN client overwrites my /etc/hosts file when I connect, so this would help me persist custom entries, if it can be done.
    – majorgear
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


I do not believe there is any way to include other files into a hosts file.

Would it be possible to make /etc/hosts group-writable by a group that only includes you (and any other users who need to edit it)?


Keep a hosts.base file and then write a simple script to build a complete, combined hosts file with that hosts.base file and the other files you want to include. You can cron it or execute on demand.

  • This is how I do it for local development. I keep a separate file for each project in a specific location, and run a script that combines the base with the project files.
    – bogeymin
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 13:33
  • @bogeymin do you have a snippet of how that script looks like?
    – fuxes
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 15:27

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