How do I share my virtual hosts over the local network?

Last Updated September 3, 2013

Beginning with version 3.3, VirtualHostX now supports sharing your virtual hosts over the local network with Xip.io instead of Bonjour sharing - a feature which was introduced in version 2.0.

Xip.io is a a free service from the awesome folks at 37Signals. You can use Xip.io "to access virtual hosts on your development web server from devices on your local network, like iPads, iPhones, and other computers." It's a much more clever, and fool-proof method for accessing your virtual hosts than the old Bonjour way. Here's how it works...

Say you've created a virtual host in VirtualHostX called mywebsite.site like this...

Xip support in VirtualHostX

Notice the "Local Domain Name" I've outlined in red. That's the new domain name you can use from anywhere on your local network to access your virtual hosts. That includes from other computers or even phones and tablets connected to your wifi network.

I know that domain name looks big and scary and hard to remember, but it's actually quite easy. Here's what everything means...

http://mywebsite.site.10.0.1.23.xip.io is actually three things mashed together. The first part is your virtual host's domain name. In this example, that's mywebsite.site. The next part (the numbers) is your Mac's local IP address. Finally, you just add xip.io. Make sense? Plug that full domain name into your browser and you should be able to access your virtual host from any device on your network.

If it's not working, try clicking "Apply Changes" in VirtualHostX one more time.

You may also want to take a look at our free iPhone/iPad app. It gives you a one-tap way to view your websites on your iDevice.

Keep in mind that this only works on your local network. It won't work from a friend's computer across the internet. But, if you're interested in sharing your virtual hosts across the net, we happen to have a service called Lift Off that does just that!

Note: Some users report that they get a "Server Not Found" error in their browser when they try and load the xip.io URL. Certain routers can often cause this problem. A quick fix that has worked for quite a few users is to change your Mac or mobile device's DNS servers to use Google's free DNS system. Here are instructions for making the switch.

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