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I always tried not to install any new services to my local machine, that's why from day one of using Mac (back in 2012) I worked with Vagrant then moved to mish-mash between Vagrant and Docker. However, sometimes you have to install some software that will make your life much easier, and Dnsmasq is one of those apps.
In this article, I am explaining how to install, configure and use Dnsmasq, let's start.
Why you need Dnsmasq
Every day, we edit the
hosts file to add the local domain name to it, so that our browsers will be able to communicate
with our local code. However, if you have a local DNS server, you can configure it to serve every local request to a specific IP.
Moreover, sometimes, you need to have wildcard domain names which are not easy to be done by editing the
hosts file, as you
will need to add every domain to the file.
When you install Dnsmasq, you will be able to configure it to respond
to each and every request you make for a specific tld, for example, you configure it to respond to any domain with
.test, which makes your life much more comfortable.
Installing Dnsmasq on mac is simple, especially if you are using HomeBrew, so its as simple as running
brew install dnsmasq
Once its installed, you can control its status by using one of the following commands:
To start it sudo brew services start dnsmasq To stop it sudo brew services stop dnsmasq To restart it sudo brew services restart dnsmasq
There are many ways to edit the configuration file for Dnsmasq, the simplest and cleanest one (borrowed from Laravel Valet), is to have a separate file that you can ask Dnsmasq to attach to the main configuration file.
Doing this is simple as the following steps:
- Creating a new config directory.
- Creating the config file.
- Edit Dnsmasq config file.
Since they are simple steps, am not going to explain it with too many details
mkdir -p ~/.config/dnsmasq touch ~/.config/dnsmasq/dnsmasq.conf
We should add the following snippet to the
dnsmasq.conf file that we have created:
You can replace
.local with whatever tld you like, and if you are using more; you can add them but remember
to separate them with a forward slash.
Now we edit the main Dnsmasq config file which located
/usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf, but remember that you should be a root to edit this file, then add the following to
the end of the file.
Remember to use the absolute path to the file, otherwise it will not work.
Configure the Resolver
In mac, especially the new versions, they have removed the directory
/etc/resolver, so we will have to create this one
as it will hold the nameserver for each new tld we use in Dnsmasq
sudo mkdir -p /etc/resolver
Once we create it, we should create two files here, since remember am configuring
Dnsmasq to respond to my
touch /etc/resolver/test touch /etc/resolver/local
Then we add the
nameserver value to each file, this is the only line they should contain:
And we are done.
Now that we have everything in place, we need to test our configuration:
- We need to make sure that Dnsmasq is working, so we run the following commands:
To start it sudo brew services start dnsmasq To stop it sudo brew services stop dnsmasq
- We ping a random local domain
ping -c 1 this.is.a.test
And you should get something like (might differ as I've changed the style a bit on my terminal):
PING this.is.a.test (127.0.0.1): 56 data bytes ▁ 0/ 1 ( 0%) lost; 0/ 0/ 0ms; last: 0ms 0/ 1 ( 0%) lost; 0/ 0/ 0/ 0ms (last 1) --- this.is.a.test ping statistics --- 1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0.0% packet loss round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 0.048/0.048/0.048/0.000 ms
As you can see the response comes back from
PS: If things didn't work, you might need to either clear the DNS cache or restart your computer, choose the simplest one for you.
Watch a video
If you are a video person, you can watch the whole process on youtube just click the image:
As you can see Dnsmasq has many features that we can benefit from, however, those are out of the scope of this article; you can check the documentation if you are interested in knowing more about it.
So from now on, there is no need any more to edit your
/etc/hosts file any more, configure your code and work, with
no limit to what is the requirements for your project, even if its a wildcard domain (subdomain) feature.