I’ve been doing far too many server migrations in the past month or so and I was reminded today how much I enjoy using Horst.
It’s a must have app for jumping servers.
There is no reason you need to migrate your website and then hold your breath; hoping that once your DNS migrates, everything is okay and not broken.
Here’s a closer look at Horst and how you’ll want to use it:
Why You Might Need Horst
Let’s use my acquisition of Live Theme this past summer as an example, as this was the first time I had ever used Horst.
Live Theme was sitting on 8BIT‘s server and needed to be switched over to mine. After downloading the site files and uploading them to my server, I could just “flip the switch” and point the DNS to my server, right?
As DNS migration takes some time, how could I insure that the site was working correctly? Perhaps people in California would see a broken website while mine look fine here in Italy.
Stranger things have happened.
Moreover, all of the e-commerce needed to be updated, too. So it wasn’t just a migration; I needed to make some tweaks. Besides, selling a WordPress theme never goes well when the demo isn’t working, right?
I needed to test my product site before my domain name pointed to it. I needed to edit my hosts file, but that’s so messy. I had done that when I ran Windows and it was such a pain.
After a Google search or two, I came across Horst:
All I had to do is drop-in my server IP along with my URL and flip the switch to “ON.”
This psyched out my local system (and web browser) to see this specific URL as the specified IP. If you do any web development via MAMP, you can see how Horst could mask you local dev environment easily. Imagine developing a website with WordPress and setting it up as the live domain name (while on your local machine). You could then simply download your database and upload it to the live site!
Yeah. I know. It’s awesome.
Horst comes in two flavors: Free and Paid.
I’ve been using the free version, as I don’t need to save that many profiles; however, I am considering purchasing a license (only $5) because it’s served me so well.
- Horst requires OS X 10.7 Lion
- You’re required to enter your administrative password to allow Horst access to your /etc/hosts file.
I think it’s also worth noting that Horst does not modify your original /etc/hosts file.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me and I’ll do my best to answer them.