Easily manage your hosts file with Chef
Latest commit f6723e2 Sep 11, 2016 @tas50 tas50 committed on GitHub Merge pull request #78 from hrak/hra/detect_docker
Disable atomic updates when running inside Docker container


hostsfile LWRP

Build Status

hostsfile provides an LWRP for managing your /etc/hosts (or Windows equivalent) file using Chef.


  • Chef 11 or higher
  • Ruby 1.9.3 or higher

Please stop opening Pull Requests to restore Ruby 1.8 support! Any of the 1.x.y series of this cookbook will work with Chef 10 and Ruby 1.8. You can use Chef's Omnibus installer to install Ruby 1.9+ and Seth Chisamore's Vagrant Omnibus plugin to get Ruby 1.9+ on your Vagrant box.


Attribute Description Example Default
ip_address (name attribute) the IP address for the entry
hostname (required) the hostname associated with the entry example.com
unique remove any existing entries that have the same hostname true false
aliases array of aliases for the entry ['www.example.com'] []
comment a comment to append to the end of the entry 'interal DNS server' nil
priority the relative position of this entry 20 (varies, see **Priorities** section)


Please note: In v0.1.2, specifying a hostname or alias that existed in another automatically removed that hostname from the other entry before. In v2.1.0, the unique option was added to give the user case-by-case control of this behavior. For example, given an /etc/hosts file that contains:          example.com www.example.com

when the Chef recipe below is converged:

hostsfile_entry '' do
  hostname  'www.example.com'
  unique    true

then the /etc/hosts file will look like this:          example.com          www.example.com

Not specifying the unique parameter will result in duplicate hostsfile entries.


Creates a new hosts file entry. If an entry already exists, it will be overwritten by this one.

hostsfile_entry '' do
  hostname  'example.com'
  action    :create

This will create an entry like this:          example.com


Create a new hosts file entry, only if one does not already exist for the given IP address. If one exists, this does nothing.

hostsfile_entry '' do
  hostname  'example.com'
  action    :create_if_missing


Append a hostname or alias to an existing record. If the given IP address doesn't already exist in the hostsfile, this method behaves the same as create. Otherwise, it will append the additional hostname and aliases to the existing entry.         example.com www.example.com # Created by Chef
hostsfile_entry '' do
  hostname  'www2.example.com'
  aliases   ['foo.com', 'foobar.com']
  comment   'Append by Recipe X'
  action    :append

would yield:         example.com www.example.com www2.example.com foo.com foobar.com # Created by Chef, Appended by Recipe X


Updates the given hosts file entry. Does nothing if the entry does not exist.

hostsfile_entry '' do
  hostname  'example.com'
  comment   'Update by Chef'
  action    :update

This will create an entry like this:           example # Updated by Chef


Removes an entry from the hosts file. Does nothing if the entry does not exist.

hostsfile_entry '' do
  action    :remove

This will remove the entry for


If you're using Berkshelf, just add hostsfile to your Berksfile:

cookbook 'hostsfile'

Otherwise, install the cookbook from the community site:

knife cookbook site install hostsfile

Have any other cookbooks depend on hostsfile by editing editing the metadata.rb for your cookbook.

# metadata.rb
depends 'hostsfile'

Note that you can specify a custom path to your hosts file in the ['hostsfile']['path'] node attribute. Otherwise, it defaults to sensible paths depending on your OS.


If you are using ChefSpec to unit test a cookbook that implements the hostsfile_entry LWRP, this cookbook packages customer matchers that you can use in your unit tests:

  • append_hostsfile_entry
  • create_hostsfile_entry
  • create_hostsfile_entry_if_missing
  • remove_hostsfile_entry
  • update_hostsfile_entry

For example:

it 'creates a hostsfile entry for the DNS server' do
  expect(chef_run).to create_hostsfile_entry('')


Priority is a relatively new addition to the cookbook. It gives you the ability to (somewhat) specify the relative order of entries. By default, the priority is calculated for you as follows:

  2. ::1
  4. IPV4
  5. IPV6
  6. default

However, you can override it using the priority option.


  1. Fork the project
  2. Create a feature branch corresponding to you change
  3. Commit and test thoroughly
  4. Create a Pull Request on github

License & Authors

Copyright 2012-2013, Seth Vargo
Copyright 2012, CustomInk, LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.