localhost testing done right
Save this URL, memorize it, write it on a sticky note, tweet it, tell your colleagues about it!
If you do any testing on your local system you’ve probably created hosts file entries (c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) for different testing domains and had them point back to 127.0.0.1. This works great but it requires just a bit of extra effort.
This localtest.me trick is so obvious, so simple, and yet so powerful. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other domain names like this out there, but I haven’t run across them yet so I just ordered the domain name localtest.me which I’ll keep available for the internet community to use.
Here’s how it works. The entire domain name localtest.me—and all wildcard entries—point to 127.0.0.1. So without any changes to your host file you can immediate start testing with a local URL.
http://localtest.me http://newyork.localtest.me http://mysite.localtest.me http://redirecttest.localtest.me http://sub1.sub2.sub3.localtest.me
You name it, just use any *.localtest.me URL that you dream up and it will work for testing on your local system.
Another great advantage of using an internet DNS name is that we have a real SSL certificate for it. That means there's no more messing about with self-signed, untrusted certificates during development. You can download the public and private key here: http://readme.localtest.me/STAR_localtest_me.zip If you use this key, please add a calendar reminder to come back here before May 18th 2013 to download the renewed certificate.
Update: The CA revoked our certificate because they considered the private key to be compromised. I'm not entirely sure how they detected this, but they refuse to reissue it. My best idea is to get a new key elsewhere and make the key accessible but through a CAPTCHA or something so that a bot can't discover it. Any better ideas would be appreciated.
Read the introduction by Scott Forsyth
DNS and SSL: Tatham Oddie
If you'd like to contribute to this site, fork us on GitHub.