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Is there a way to connect to http://mylaptop.local/ using Chrome on Android, or is there another browser that works?

I travel from network to network with my laptop and my phone and I often have to connect my phone to a website on my laptop. With Safari on an iPhone I can simply use http://mylaptop.local/ (usually hitting reload on an open browser window), but with my Android device I always have to figure out the current IP of my laptop punch it in by hand and connect to it (I don't control many of the networks I'm on and they don't seem to ever have DNS integrated with DHCP).

I've searched a for an answer and it seems most people simply hack around the issues using static DNS, or they control DHCP and DNS, neither of which apply for my situation. Also I see code libraries for supporting mDNS (and other zeroconf stuff) in a specific Android application, so perhaps there's a Chrome add on out there, or some other browser that supports it?

Also, is there any official word on device wide support for mDNS and the .local domain on Android? I had trouble finding that as well.

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migrated from superuser.com Jul 15 '13 at 17:48

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2 Answers 2

I don't think so.

The system DNS resolver in Apple's platforms has in-built support for mDNS, so that pretty much any app eventually winds up using the core getaddrinfo function and supporting mDNS in URLs and hostnames and whatnot.

On Android and other platforms, even if there is a Multicast DNS daemon running and libraries available for using it, "typical" DNS lookups do not. So while recent Android releases do give developers some mDNS features as part of the platform, most do not go out of their way (as they would need to do) to use them.

It's a bummer, but AFAIK there's nothing short of rolling your own custom Android build (or convincing Google to change it) that could really solve this.

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That's so lame! It took like 15years for linux to talk correctly to windows and mac, now we see the same story again. mDNS not supported on Android. AirPrint not supported on Android. Come on, interoperability must become the rule! –  Philipp Mar 27 at 20:11
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I filed a bug against the Chromium project. Please star it (refrain from +1 comments) if you bump into this issue and would like it fixed. crbug.com/405925 –  pwnall Aug 21 at 13:08

That's not a fault of the browser, but of the way Android handles DHCP: it simply ignores the offered DNS server and sticks to its pre-configured Google DNS -- which of course does not know your local hostnames. So here is how to work around this:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to WiFi
  3. Navigate to your WiFi network's entry.
  4. Long-Tap the entry, chose to edit.
  5. Activate Advanced settings
  6. Switch from DHCP to static, and replace the first DNS server (usually 8.8.8.8) with your own
  7. Save

(optionally you could try to switch back to DHCP after having changed the DNS server, and see if the latter is kept)

Now Android should use your DNS server first, and switch to the secondary only if yours cannot resolve. Which means, your "mylaptop.local" should be found now -- from Chrome or any other browser and also any other app.

Before you ask: This setting (as described above) would only apply to the modified WiFi AP. So no worries you could affect any other. If anything goes wild, you anytime can simply delete the AP and re-create it.

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Just to clarify; the original question was not actually about local DNS server usage, but using mDNS (aka Bonjour) along with the special ".local" domain name which on some systems is set up to issue mDNS queries rather than DNS ones. –  Jules Aug 2 '13 at 13:25

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