LiveHosts

LiveHosts

Switch your host/IP mappings in real time without editing your hosts file

LiveHosts
What is LiveHosts?
LiveHosts is an ingenious Chrome extension designed to sidestep a prevalent bottleneck for web developers - the need to change host/IP assignments in the OS hosts file. While it employs a slightly sub-optimal approach, it successfully redirects requests to specified hostnames with an added Host header. Although this leads to displaying the hostname in the address bar following the IP, it impressively maintains consistency in handling all requests either to the IP or the hostname. However, users might experience some functional differences post-redirect such as potential alterations in parts of a webpage, differences in window.location values, and limitations in cross-origin requests.
Stats
By: Aioros
Users: 10,000+
Version: 2.0.0 (Last updated: 2022-03-29)
Creation date: 2019-08-05
Risk impact: Moderate risk impact
Risk likelihood: Very low risk likelihood
Manifest version: 3
Permissions:
  • declarativeNetRequestWithHostAccess
  • scripting
  • storage
Host permissions:
  • *://*/*
Size: 59.17K
Stats date:

Other platforms

LiveHosts
LiveHosts (v1.1.3)
3.39 (31) 1,337+
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Summary

LiveHosts is a Chrome extension that aims at providing a working (even if sub-obtimal) solution to a common nuisance that many web developers have to deal with every day. If you have multiple versions of your websites sharing the same host names on multiple environments, you often need to switch the assignments in your OS hosts file.

Other extensions (like the life-saving HostAdmin) can help with the cumbersomeness, but changes to the hosts file usually take an inconvenient amount of time to actually affect the browser.

Unfortunately, there is no way to make Chrome direct requests for a hostname to a specific IP without a standard redirect - you could set up a smart HTTP proxy, but it's often not possible or not convenient.

This extension settles for a sub-obtimal approach: requests to the indicated hostnames are redirected to the chosen IPs with an additional Host header. The browser's address bar reflects this behaviour showing the hostname right after the IP (e.g. http://127.0.0.1/www.example.com/). The extension also tries to take care of all requests to either the IP or the hostname in a consistent way.

Issues

After the redirect, the user is effectively in a different domain that the one they expected. They may notice some functional differences:

  • depending on the server, parts of a web page referring to the site URL (like href and src attributes) could be different from the original
  • window.location has a different value that can potentially throw off JavaScript snippets
  • most Cross-Origin request won't work
User reviews
User reviews summary
These summaries are automatically generated weekly using AI based on recent user reviews. Chrome Web Store does not verify user reviews, so some user reviews may be inaccurate, spammy, or outdated.
Pros
  • The extension can be quite useful for web developers
  • Works well in Firefox as reported by some users
  • Allows for viewing a test website while building them
  • Very simple to use and offers functionality of enabling it for only one tab.
Cons
  • The extension does not work properly with HTTPS and breaks a lot of dev setups
  • It is reported to not work well on Chrome
  • Rewrites the URL instead of updating the DNS/hosts file, which can cause issues
  • Does not have an enable and disable button for the records
  • Breaks redirects and does not work perfectly with specific systems like WordPress on a local server installation.
Most mentioned
  • The extension rewrites the URL to the specified IP instead of altering the DNS/Hosts file
  • Issues with compatibility with Chrome
  • Struggles with HTTPS compatibility
Recent reviews
Doesn't work on chrome. Does work on Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/nl/firefox/addon/livehosts/. Can this extension be fixed on chrome? I will adjust my review if it works.
by Jem Peijnenburg Jem Peijnenburg, 2024-06-14

Muy buena, justo lo que necesitaba, me encontraba usando un chromebook y no podia modificar el archivo hosts, pero con esta extención me resulto comodo usar una ip de mi red local.
by Manuel Florez Manuel Florez, 2024-03-23

Needs option to specify scheme such as "http://" instead of defaulting to "https://", which breaks a lot of dev setups.
by Christopher M Balz Christopher M Balz, 2023-12-05
View all user reviews
Safety
Risk impact

LiveHosts may not be safe to use and it requires some risky permissions. Exercise caution when installing this extension. Review carefully before installing.

Risk likelihood

LiveHosts has earned a good reputation and can be trusted.

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