file contains information regarding
the known hosts on the network.
It can be used in conjunction with DNS, and the NIS
maps hosts.byaddr and hosts.byname, as controlled by
For each host a single line should be present
with the following information:
official host name
Items are separated by any number of blanks and/or
A # indicates the beginning of
a comment; characters up to the end of the line are
not interpreted by routines which search the file.
This file provides a backup used when the name server
is not running.
For the name server, it is suggested that only a few addresses
be included in this file.
These include addresses for the local interfaces that
needs at boot time and a few machines on the local network.
This file may be created from the official host
data base maintained at the Network Information Control
though local changes may be required
to bring it up to date regarding unofficial aliases
and/or unknown hosts.
As the data base maintained at
is incomplete, use of the name server is recommended for
sites on the
Network addresses are specified in the conventional
. (dot) notation using the
from the Internet address manipulation library,
Host names may contain any printable
character other than a field delimiter, newline,
or comment character.