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Difference between /etc/hosts and /etc/resolv.conf

/etc/resolv.conf specifies the nameservers for resolver lookups, where it will actual use the DNS protocol for resolving the hostnames.
Typically the /etc/hosts file is used for administrative purposes such as backend and internal functions, which is substantially more isolated in scope, as only the local server will reference it it.

/etc/nsswitch.conf
specifies the lookup order with the hosts entry.

If this does not answer your question, please clarify further.

Look at the following manpages:

/etc/resolv.conf
specifies nameservers in order of search preference.
/etc/hosts overrides all nameservers by mapping urls/shortnames to IPs.


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