As an addition to my Networked Virtual Hosting Party on Mac OS X article, comments in the How To Setup Development Domains On OS X article on The Apple Blog pointed to something I’d not tried before; using NetInfo Manager to add hosts to local hosts file.
An official Apple article; How to Add Hosts to Local Hosts File clearly outlines the steps. It’s a little confusing as the instructions for Mac OS X 10.2 or later are to edit the /private/etc/hosts file (the same file as /etc/hosts) directly. However, I just tried using NetInfo Manager to add a host on one of the machines on our network and it worked fine despite it running OS X 10.4.8.
A minor detail to mention is I that the niload command was more like this for me:
sudo niload hosts . < /etc/hosts
Really there is not a huge difference between editing the /etc/hosts file directly or using NetInfo Manager and I’m not convinced the latter really makes it that much easier. Either way, it’s useful to know about alternatives.