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Home Guide What is Local Host (Principles and Usecases included)

What is Local Host (Principles and Usecases included)

By Hamid Akhtar, Community Contributor -

Think about a big theater production. Before a play is performed in front of a live audience, there are numerous rehearsals that take place. These rehearsals help the actors to practice their roles, adjust their timing, and understand their cues without the pressure of a live audience. In this situation, the rehearsal space can be considered as the “localhost”.

The “localhost” is like your personal rehearsal space in the world of computers. When you’re creating a website or an application, you don’t launch it directly on the internet (which is akin to performing in front of a live audience). Instead, you use your “localhost” to build, test, and tweak your work until you’re confident that everything functions as expected.

Just as the rehearsal space is part of the theater, the localhost is part of your computer system. It is represented by the IP address “” (in Internet Protocol Version 4) or “::1” (in Internet Protocol Version 6). These addresses are like directions that tell your computer to look at its own system (rather than connecting to another device or network) when you’re testing out your website or application.

So, just as theater actors use a rehearsal space to perfect their performance before the final show, you can use “localhost” as your rehearsal space to perfect your website or application before launching it on the internet.

What is Local Host?

Localhost” is a word that your computer understands as “this computer” or “the computer You are using right now“. When you are creating a new website or a new application, you first test it on your own computer before putting it on the internet. This is where localhost comes into play.

Every computer has an address, just like every house has an address. The address for localhost is or ::1. When you type localhost or, you are telling your computer to look at its own address – or look in its own ‘room’, to check if the website or application is working properly.

Imagine you are an artist working on a painting. Before you showcase your work in a gallery for everyone to see, you would first work on it in your own studio, making changes until you’re satisfied that it’s ready for public display.

In this analogy, localhost is like your personal studio. When you’re creating a website or an application, localhost provides a space for you to work on your creation privately before revealing it to the world. Just like you would work on your painting in your studio, make changes, and correct any mistakes, you can build and test your website or application on localhost, making sure everything is perfect before you launch it on the internet.

Just like your studio has an address in the physical world, localhost has an address in the digital world, which is usually or ::1. This address allows your computer to identify localhost and understand that it should look within itself (like looking inside its own studio) when you want to work on or test your website or application.

So, to sum up, localhost is like your computer’s private studio where you can perfect your website or application before it’s ready for the world to see.

What is an IP Address?

Imagine X and Y live in the same city but in different houses. Each of their houses has a unique address. X’s house might be at “21 Oak Street,” and Y’s house might be at “35 Pine Street.” If X wants to send a letter to Y, he needs to know Y house address. He would write this address on the envelope, and the postman would deliver the letter to Y’s house. Without the right address, the letter could end up in the wrong place.

Now, let’s think about this in terms of computers and the internet. Each device (like a computer or smartphone) connected to the internet has a unique address too, called an IP (Internet Protocol) address.

Let’s say X’s computer wants to send some information to Y’s computer over the internet. Just like X needs Y’s house address to send a letter, X’s computer needs Y’s computer’s IP address to send the information.

So, the IP address is a unique address for every device on the internet, which allows these devices to send and receive information with each other. Without the IP address, the information sent from X’s computer might not reach Y’s computer. It’s like the house address for devices on the internet!

What is

Let’s go back to the example of X and Y. X lives in a house at “21 Oak Street” and Y lives in a house at “35 Pine Street”. But if X wants to find his own house, he doesn’t need to go anywhere – he’s already there! He doesn’t need to go outside and check the address on the door, because he knows he’s home.

The same concept applies to computers and their addresses (IP addresses).

The IP address is a special address for every computer that essentially means “home” or “myself”. It’s known as the localhost address. If X’s computer (or any computer) tries to connect to the IP address, it’s just connecting to itself, much like X would be finding his own house that he’s already in.

This is useful for testing and development purposes. For example, if Y is developing a new website, he might first set it up to run on his own computer, using the IP address That way, he can make sure everything works properly before making the website accessible to other people on the internet.

What is a Loopback Address?

So, we’ve established that X lives at “21 Oak Street” and that’s his home address. Now, suppose X wants to check how his house looks from the outside or how his letterbox works. What he would do is, he would walk out of his house, turn around, and look at his own house. Or he might even send a letter to his own address to check if the letterbox is working fine.

In the world of computers, the Loopback Address serves a similar purpose. The most common Loopback Address is This address is used by a computer when it wants to send a message to itself to check its own network communications. 

Just like X turning around to look at his own house or sending a letter to himself, a computer sends a message to when it wants to test its own networking functionality.

So, in simple terms, a Loopback Address is like a mirror for a computer to check how it’s communicating. If your computer sends a message to and receives it back, then  you’d know its networking is working fine!

How does Loopback work?

Remember how we discussed that you can check your own house or even send a letter to his own address? You simply walk out, then turn around and ‘loop back’ to examine your own address or to see if his letterbox is working correctly. 

Loopback in computers works in a similar way. When a computer sends a message to the loopback address, usually, the message doesn’t go out to the internet or even to the other parts of the local network. Instead, it stays within the computer.

The computer sends the message out, but then immediately turns around and loops back to itself. It’s a way for the computer to check its own networking capabilities.

If it can send a message to the loopback address and receive it back properly, it knows that at least the internal networking functions are working fine, just like how X can check if his letterbox is functioning by sending a letter to himself.

So, in essence, loopback is a process where a computer sends a message to itself to test its networking capabilities. It’s like sending a letter to your own address to make sure your mail system is working as it should.

What does localhost mean? 

Think about X’s home at “21 Oak Street” again. When X is home, he doesn’t need to take a trip to visit his own house, right? He’s already there. His house, for him, is the place where he has everything he needs within easy reach.

In computer language, the term “localhost” has a similar concept. “Localhost” is a word that a computer uses when it means to refer to itself. Just as X’s house at “21 Oak Street” is his local space, “localhost” (also known as the IP address “”) is the computer’s local space.

For instance, if X was creating a new website, he might decide to initially set it up on his own computer using “localhost”. This allows him to open and test the website right there on his computer before he makes it public on the internet.

So, to put it simply, “localhost” is like the computer’s home. It’s the space where it can directly access and test its own data or applications, without going anywhere else.

What are the uses of Local Host?

Here are some of the key uses of Local Host:

  1. Program or Web Application Test: One of the most common uses of localhost is to test programs or web applications. Just like an artist might first sketch a rough draft before making a final drawing, a developer might first test their website or app on their own computer (i.e., on localhost) before publishing it on the internet. This way, they can identify and fix any issues or bugs before the website or app is accessible to others.
  2. Site Blocking: Localhost can also be used to block certain websites. If you want any user of your computer to access a specific website. You can associate the website’s domain name with the localhost IP address in a special file on your computer. Then, when someone tries to go to that website on your computer, the computer will try to find that website on the localhost (i.e., on your computer), won’t find it there, and thus won’t be able to access the actual site on the internet.
  3. Speed Test: Localhost can also be used to perform a speed test. If X wants to check how fast his computer can send and receive data, he can send data to the localhost (i.e., to his own computer). Since this doesn’t involve any actual network connections, the speed of this data transfer can help X understand the maximum data processing capability of his computer.

Pro-Tip: Check how fast your website is running, with BrowserStack SpeedLab for Free on different real browsers and devices.

Test Website Page Speed Score

Remember, localhost is like your computer’s home. It can be used for anything that involves testing or working with data or applications within your own computer, before engaging with the wider internet or other networked computers.

How to create a Local Host IP and Port?

  • Decide what you want to do: If you’re developing a website or an app, you might need a server environment on your computer or a local host server. This allows you to test your work locally before making it public.
  • Find a suitable local server software: There are many options available. Some popular ones include XAMPP, MAMP, and Apache HTTP Server.
  • Download the software: Visit the software’s official website and download the right version for your computer’s operating system.
  • Install the software: Open the downloaded file and follow the instructions to install the software on your computer.
  • Open the software: Once installed, launch the software.
  • Set up a workspace: Choose a folder on your computer where you’ll store your website or app files. This is usually within the software’s folder structure.
  • Configure the server: Follow the software’s instructions to set up your server. This will usually involve specifying your workspace folder.
  • Start the server: There will usually be a ‘Start’ or ‘Run’ button within the software. Click this to start your server.
  • Check the server is running: You should see some kind of confirmation in the software that your server is running.
  • Note the port number: The software will also usually tell you which port your server is running on. The default is often port 80 or 8080.
  • Open a web browser: Any browser will do—like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
  • Type in localhost: In the browser’s address bar, type http://localhost followed by the port number, like http://localhost:8080.
  • Press enter: The browser will now try to access your localhost server.
  • View your site or app: If everything is set up correctly, you should see your website or app running.
  • Make changes: As you develop your website or app, you can make changes to the files in your workspace folder.
  • Refresh the page: To see the changes you’ve made, go back to your browser and refresh the page.
  • Stop the server: Once you’re done, go back to the server software and click the ‘Stop’ button.
  • Check the server has stopped: You should see some confirmation in the software that your server has stopped.
  • Close the software: Once you’ve stopped the server, you can close the software.
  • Remember to restart: Next time you want to work, you’ll need to restart your server using the software.

Local Host vs Web Host vs Remote Host: Core Differences

1. Localhost: Think of this like X’s house itself. If X decides to paint a room (create a new web application or site), he first does it at home. He doesn’t invite anyone to see it until he’s happy with it. He can immediately see the changes he makes and doesn’t need to go anywhere else to do it. This is like running a server on your own computer – it’s quick, easy, and no one else can see it unless you allow them to.

2. Web Host: Now, imagine X paints for a living and wants to showcase his work (website) to the world. He rents a room in a gallery (web hosting service), puts his paintings there, and now anyone can visit and see his work. The gallery is open to the public, and anyone can come and see his work at any time. This is like uploading your website to a web hosting service – it’s accessible to anyone on the internet.

3. Remote Host: Finally, imagine X has a friend named Y. Y also paints and has his own gallery. If X wants to see Y’s paintings, he can visit Y’s gallery (remote host). He doesn’t own this gallery, but he can visit it and see what’s inside. This is like accessing a remote host – you’re connecting to another machine (usually over the internet) to access its files or use its services.

How to access local host website from another computer

Imagine X has built a website and it’s running on his computer using localhost. Now, Y, who is X’s friend, wants to access that website from his own computer.

Here are some simplified steps that Y can follow:

  1. Ensure Both Computers Are Connected to the Same Network: Y needs to make sure that his computer and X’s computer are connected to the same network. This could be a shared Wi-Fi network or a local area network (LAN).
  2. Find X’s Computer IP Address: Y needs to find out the IP address of X’s computer. He can do this by opening the command prompt (Windows) or terminal (macOS/Linux) on X’s computer and typing in the command ipconfig (Windows) or ifconfig (macOS/Linux). This will display the IP address of X’s computer.
  3. Note the Port Number: If X’s website is running on a specific port (other than the default port 80), Y needs to make a note of that port number. For example, it could be port 8000 or 8080.
  4. Access the Local Host Website: Y should open a web browser on his own computer.
  5. Type the IP Address and Port Number: In the web browser’s address bar, Y should type the IP address of X’s computer, followed by a colon (:) and the port number. For example,
  6. Press Enter: Y should press the Enter key or click the Go button. The web browser will try to connect to the specified IP address and port.
  7. View the Local Host Website: If everything is set up correctly, the web browser on Y’s computer should display the website hosted on X’s computer.

By following these steps, Y can access X’s website running on localhost from his own computer.

How to test local host website?

When it comes to testing websites locally, developers often rely on localhost. It’s a term commonly used to establish a connection with their own computer through the loopback address network. Localhost acts as a private IP address that points directly to the machine they are using. The advantage of using localhost is that developers can test their programs and websites without needing to send information over the internet.

To make local testing more efficient and scalable, BrowserStack provides a feature called Local Testing. This allows developers to test their web and mobile applications in progress on a larger scale, without the need for public staging environments. With Local Testing on BrowserStack, developers can set up their own development or staging environment and seamlessly test their websites or apps in a safe and controlled manner.

To help developers get started with Local Testing and overcome common challenges in local testing, BrowserStack offers a seamless testing experience. It allows devs to  integrate Local Testing into their existing workflows, ensuring smooth testing processes without the need for public hosting.

Overall, BrowserStack’s Local Testing feature is a valuable tool for developers. It enables them to test their work in a secure environment before deploying it to a live server. By leveraging Local Testing, developers can ensure their websites and applications perform optimally and deliver a seamless user experience.

Test your Website Locally Now

Closing Notes

In conclusion, localhost serves as a powerful tool for developers, allowing them to test websites and applications on their own computers before deployment. It provides a private and controlled environment for debugging and refining their work. 

Additionally, BrowserStack’s Local Testing feature expands the capabilities of localhost by enabling developers to scale their testing efforts without relying on public staging environments. With this valuable resource, developers can ensure their projects are thoroughly tested and optimized before going live.

 Overall, localhost and Local Testing contribute to a smoother development process and help deliver high-quality web experiences to users.


  • What is meant by the local host?

 Localhost refers to the computer or network location being used to access and test applications or websites.

  • What is an example of a local host? 

An example of a local host is running a web server on your own computer using software like XAMPP or WAMP.

  • Is the local host a server?

 -Yes, a local host can refer to a server running on a local machine for testing and development purposes.

  • Is the same as the local host? 

Yes, is the loopback IP address of the local machine, which is commonly referred to as local host.

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