BSD 2.11 - man page for hosts (bsd section 5)

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HOSTS(5)										 HOSTS(5)

       hosts - host name data base

       The  hosts  file  contains information regarding the known hosts on the network.  For each
       host a single line should be present with the following information:

       official host name
       Internet address

       Items are separated by any number of blanks and/or tab characters.  A ``#'' indicates  the
       beginning  of  a comment; characters up to the end of the line are not interpreted by rou-
       tines which search the file.

       When using the name server named(8), this file provides a backup 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  address for the local interfaces that ifconfig(8C) 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 Infor-
       mation Control Center (NIC), 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 NIC is
       incomplete, use of the name server is recommend for sites on the DARPA Internet.

       Network addresses are specified in the conventional ``.'' notation using  the  inet_addr()
       routine	from the Internet address manipulation library, inet(3N).  Host names may contain
       any printable character other than a field delimiter, newline, or comment character.


       gethostbyname(3N), ifconfig(8C), named(8)
       Name Server Operations Guide for BIND

4.2 Berkeley Distribution		   May 14, 1986 				 HOSTS(5)
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