Firefox ignores the presence of the hosts file, never using it to resolve a URL. Even if the name appears in the hosts file and has been entered correctly, Fire… (read more)
Firefox ignores the presence of the hosts file, never using it to resolve a URL. Even if the name appears in the hosts file and has been entered correctly, Firefox uses it as a search term in the default search engine. Assuming that Firefox developers browse the web, they know about this problem and have willfully and negligently—and perhaps maliciously—ignored it for at least eight years.
SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM:
This is a problem with Firefox, not the local computer. This is Firefox's behavior in OS X and in Windows, thus also in IIS and Apache. It does not happen in Safari. Therefore the problem is Firefox. The operating system, the web server, the entries in the hosts file, and the user's typing skills are not the cause.
WHY THIS IS A PROBLEM:
Anyone using virtual hosting on their local computer for web development cannot test their sites with Firefox. Viewing a web site in the file system causes the links in the site to go to the computer's root, not the site's root. Viewing the web site with the computer's IP address cannot possibly work, because all of the virtual hosts have the same IP address, which is the whole point of virtual hosting.
The only way that virtual hosting can work is if the virtual hosts have different names. Firefox disables this major feature of IIS, Apache, and any other web server that might exist.
Firefox must not disable features of the web server.
Repair Firefox code so that it attempts to resolve the name BOTH on the web and in the hosts file before using the URL as a search term in the default search engine. After all this time, there is no excuse for not fixing it now.