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Cortez 03-26-2008 11:51 AM

Using hosts for BES
Hello everybody.

I'd like to make the Blackberries in my company to act like a PC with modified hosts file. The aim is to write an url in the Blackberry, eg, and forward it to a specific IP address, eg 111.222.333.444. In a normal Windows PC I would edit my hosts file and insert the row


I've tried to do so in our BES server (btw, it's BES 4.1 for Exchange 2003 running on Windows 2003 server) but the Blackberries don't act as I wish, even if the server itself does.

No proxy is used on MDS, and the normal Internet surfing is fine.

Could you please help me? If the hosts file is not the key, where can I set this parametre?


Cortez 03-28-2008 02:42 AM


Any update about, please?


Cortez 03-31-2008 10:06 AM

OK, I give up. Maybe no answers means that it can't be done :-(

Thanks anyway for all those who read this and anyway think about a solution.

hdawg 03-31-2008 10:36 AM

Cortez ... sorry for the lack of response .....

Are the users using the BlackBerry Browser when attempting this? The BES proxies requests for BB users that use the BlackBerry / MDS Browser ... is it possible all of the attempts have been using the carrier / internet browser?

Cortez 03-31-2008 10:58 AM

Thanks for the reply hdawg.

All users are using the Blackberry browser since we have a flat for that, while the carrier browser would cost us, so we will avoid that.

Anyway, I've tried to access my fake URL with the carrier browser, and I receive a URL not found error. In fact it doesn't exist on the Internet, but it is a local assigned URL in the hosts file of the server. Therefore my Blackberry doesn't use its servers hosts file, I infer.
When I use the Blackberry browser, I can see the requests in the log, so I reckon I'm passing through the server.

Is there anything I can do? Do I make any mistake?

Thanks for your time,

marduo 03-31-2008 01:51 PM

How many BES servers? Does the BES server also redirect using the HOSTS file?

Cortez 04-01-2008 01:46 AM


Originally Posted by marduo (Post 878510)
How many BES servers?

Just one.


Originally Posted by marduo (Post 878510)
Does the BES server also redirect using the HOSTS file?

Yes, our Windows 2003 redirects using its hosts file, even if you need to make an exception on the default protection policies of the Internet Explorer (talking about the default settings on a server).

marduo 04-01-2008 05:28 PM

Dumb question, is the URL on the Blackberry browser correct? By default, it leaves the "www." portion in there.

Also, check the firewall as some do reverse proxy and change URLs.

We actually use the hosts file to block malicious sites and it is working well.

Cortez 04-02-2008 02:47 AM

No dumb question, marduo: I'm appreciating any help about this issue. Anyway, the URL on the Blackberry is correct, without the www prefix.

To make the situation as simple as possible, I've granted a direct Internet connection to the BES Server, thus no proxy is used there. Therefore the firewall allow that machine to exit our LAN directly. Do you think there could be still a reverse proxy issue?

These are all the steps I've performed:
- grant direct access to the Internet to the BES Server
- edit its hosts file to map the url to another public IP. From the BES Server IE this local URL works, even if I need to make a security exception (you know, default security policy on a server IE...)
- go to in the Blackberry browser: the first time I just obtain a blank page, and if I refresh it I receive a bad request error message (invalid hostname)

LAST UPDATE: now it works! I've deleted the Blackberry browser cache, restarted the MDS service, changed the fake local URL to another one (just to be sure no cache will be used) and it works. I don't know what happened before, since I've just repeated the same steps, but now it's fine.
Thank you very much for your time!

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