It sounds like you are exploring DNS settings. Here's a quick explanation (I'm
leaving out lots of detials here) of some files (all in /etc):
host.conf - This file controls where the system looks for IP information. The default is
"hosts,bind". This says "look in /etc/hosts first then look in DNS"
(see also nsswitch.conf below).
resolv.conf - This tells your system where to look for DNS servers. If this file is blank
then your system can't do DNS loookup. It will usually have a "search
domain.com" line as the first line. This means "when you are doing a search,
try the name then try the name with .domain.com added to the end when trying to convert
from a machine name to an IP address". You will then usually see one or more
"nameserver nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn" lines. These entries specify the IP addresses of
the DNS servers you want to use.
named.boot - Configuration file needed if you want your machine to be a DNS server. If
your machine will not be a DNS server this file does not need to exist. Get aome more
background before you try to make your machine a DNS server.
hosts - This is an "old style" text file. It was very important before DNS was
invented. It is also important while you are booting and before DNS is up and running.
You should put entries for all your critical connections here. At a minimum you need an
entry for each interface. You always have an "l0" (loopback) interface. It
should have an address of 127.0.0.1. Why? History! Then you should have an entry for
your Ethernet NIC, if you have a static IP address for it. It should look
something like: nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn long-computername. Those are the minimum. You may want
to add more.
nsswitch.conf - This file controls where your system goes to look for various kinds of
information. Check the comments in the file for more information. Note, there is a
"hosts" entry that does pretty much the same thing as host.conf. I don't
know who overrides who.
Some other interesting files:
/etc/sysconfig/network - This file will contain teh address of your "Default
Gateway". It also has teh "hostname" of your conputer.
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 - This file will have the IP address of your
first real (e.g not loopback) NIC card, assuming you are using static IP addresses.
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