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What is Localhost? Local Host IP Address

If you are a developer or website owner, then you must heard about this term and are curious to know what is localhost? This guide will help you to understand it and how it works.

25 Oct, 22 by Susith Nonis 7 min Read

List of content you will read in this article:

Do you know what is Localhost? 

Localhost is a common term in website development and web hosting. It is a hostname used to identify a local machine requesting a particular time, also referred to as a local computer address known as a loopback address.  

In simpler terms, localhost is the computer in use. 

It is also important to note that the word becomes relevant only if the computer is in a network. A computer becomes a local host when a programmer is connected to a network, testing a virtual connection with another computer or testing programs.

For two computers to communicate, data packets must be sent and received within the framework of IP protocols. The packs contain the receiver's and sender's IP addresses and shared information.

Computers then respond by evaluating the IP addresses in the packets to identify their packets within a network. Thus, smooth communication between computers with IP addresses in different or the same network is enabled.

However, hardware and software with different IPs on the same network will require the allocation of the 127.0.0.0/8 address block to communicate securely. This address block is referred to as localhost.

A loopback device, a virtual network card, has to be created to control the communication over the address block to allow the computer to access itself over IP. The virtual card supports the communication by ensuring the data packets are returned to the computer within the same network.

Here we have listed uses of localhost that includes:

1. Speed testing

System admins and IT teams in organizations use localhost to run tests on the local network. Localhost doesn't need an internet connection to test the network. All that is required is to send a request to localhost. By monitoring the request, they can tell how the system's hardware and software are working.

The requests' speed will also help establish when optimization is required.

2. Blocking harmful websites

To prevent attacks on networks, admins can deflect requests for harmful files. To achieve this, the admin modifies the host's files. Computer host files contain lists of domain names and the associated IP addresses. To prevent access to a harmful website, admins can enter a website's domain in the host file and assign it to 127.0.0.1. Address block.

Once the domain is fed, the user will be redirected to localhost anytime they visit the harmful website. Many pre-made hosts exist online; thus, admins are saved from creating them from scratch.

3. Web application testing

It is imperative to test or preview how the website looks during website creation. Testing is essential as it prevents instances where websites are launched on web browsers when they are not usable and still need some work.

You can make your website files available on your personal computer through localhost. This will allow you to simulate the user experience of your website on your web browser

The only difference is that everything will be happening within your computer.

Most website developers use localhost as a testing server for applications and websites before launching them. This provides security for the websites by not exposing them to the public before they are complete, as the website files don't need to be sent to the internet for testing.

The Windows operating system uses localhost to navigate the local computer web server. Developers use localhost to test applications before launching them. You must install Internet Information Services (IIS) to enable your localhost on your web browser. Once installed, localhost is automatically enabled.

Here are the steps you should follow to establish a local host server in the windows operating system.

Step 1. Open the control panel

Through the Windows start button, open the control panel. This will open with a list of system utilities and options.

Step 2. Open programs

Open the "Programs" link.

Step 3. Turn Windows Features On or Off

Select the "Turn Windows Features On or Off." Under this option, a list of programs that have been currently installed will be displayed.

Under the displayed options, check or select the box labeled "Internet Information Services" and click "Ok." The Internet Information Services will then be installed on the computer.

Step 4. Reboot your computer

To complete the installation, a restart is necessary. Therefore, reboot the computer, and once complete, open the web browser and input "http://localhost/" in the navigation field, and a web page will open for the service.

To find your localhost, you can use the localhost IP address 127.0.0.1. Open a web browser and key in http://127.0.0.1. You will notice that a web page will be hosted on the computer by a web server. Computers will also accept "http://localhost."

You should then open the network control panel on your computer to establish the address assigned to your router by the router.

Open the system preference or the network control panel to find the address that has been assigned to you by the router. Note that your IP address will be assigned directly if you use a mobile or cell phone network.

However, local area networks such as Wi-Fi will assign you an IP that only works on that network. The address of such networks is often easily identifiable as they start with "192.168" or "10".

WordPress is one of the many website development applications of localhost. Localhost is used in testing websites in the local environment. Developers also use it to configure their access to their site's database.

The benefit of using localhost is that it saves time by speeding up the development process. It allows local development where the website elements can be saved, tested, and viewed without uploading them.

It also allows experimentation during web development without incurring extra costs and offline work, which also comes with cost savings. With localhost, you can have a personal backup which minimizes your chances of losing data.

The other benefit is that you will not be blocked by firewalls making your job smooth.

Developing your website locally before launching it for everyone to see is recommended. For this to be possible, you need the intervention of localhost. It has tons of benefits, like time, cost savings, and flexibility in the design process. This is all about localhost, how it works, and localhost IP and its advantage.

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Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I veture into the world of Technology I try to share what I know in the simplest way possible. Not a fan of coffee, a sweet addict and a self accredited 'master chef'.