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Archived - OS X Lion: About search domains and name lookups

In Mac OS X, you can use search domains (configured in the Network pane of System Preferences) to help you auto-complete long host names in Safari and other applications. In OS X Lion, name lookups using search domains are completed differently than in previous versions of Mac OS X.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Note: Although Safari is used in the examples below, this information applies generally to applications that access file servers or other resources on the network.

Looking up hostnames with more than one label

You may configure a search domain such as "example.com" in the Network pane of System Preferences. This search domain will be appended to simple hostnames in applications that connect to resources on the network. For example, if you type "www" into Safari's address field, it will try to connect to www.example.com.

In OS X Lion, the search domain will not be appended to hostnames that contain two or more labels separated by dots, such as "www.server". If you type "www.server" into Safari's address field, it will try to connect to www.server. In previous versions of Mac OS X, Safari would try to connect to www.server.example.com.

Using search domains with more than two labels

You may configure a search domain with more than two labels such as "corp.example.com" in the Network pane of System Preferences. This search domain, and only this search domain, will be appended to simple hostnames in applications that connect to resources on the network. For example, if you type "www" into Safari's address field, it will try to connect to www.corp.example.com (only). In previous versions of Mac OS X, Safari would try to connect to www.corp.example.com, and if that did not work, it would try to connect to www.example.com.

To replicate the behavior of previous Mac OS X versions in OS X Lion, you can specify more than one search domain, such as "corp.example.com" and "example.com".

Last Modified: Apr 8, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Apr 8, 2014
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