Hostname is used to display the system's DNS name, and to display or set its hostname or NIS domain name.
When called without any arguments, the program displays the current names:
hostname will print the name of the system as returned by the gethostname(2) function.
domainname will print the NIS domainname of the system. domainname uses the gethostname(2) function, while ypdomainname and nisdomainname use the getdomainname(2).
dnsdomainname will print the domain part of the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). The complete FQDN of the system is returned with hostname --fqdn (but see the warnings in section THE FQDN below).
When called with one argument or with the --file
option, the commands set the host name or the NIS/YP domain name. hostname
uses the sethostname
(2) function, while all of the three domainname, ypdomainname
(2). Note, that this is effective only until the next reboot. Edit /etc/hostname for permanent change.
Note, that only the super-user can change the names.
It is not possible to set the FQDN or the DNS domain name with the dnsdomainname command (see THE FQDN below).
The host name is usually set once at system startup in /etc/init.d/hostname.sh (normally by reading the contents of a file which contains the host name, e.g. /etc/hostname).
The FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) of the system is the name that the resolver
(3) returns for the host name, such as, ursula.example.com
. It is usually the hostname followed by the DNS domain name (the part after the first dot). You can check the FQDN using hostname --fqdn
or the domain name using dnsdomainname
You cannot change the FQDN with hostname or dnsdomainname.
The recommended method of setting the FQDN is to make the hostname be an alias for the fully qualified name using /etc/hosts, DNS, or NIS. For example, if the hostname was "ursula", one might have a line in /etc/hosts which reads
- 127.0.1.1 ursula.example.com ursula
Technically: The FQDN is the name getaddrinfo(3) returns for the host name returned by gethostname(2). The DNS domain name is the part after the first dot.
Therefore it depends on the configuration of the resolver (usually in /etc/host.conf) how you can change it. Usually the hosts file is parsed before DNS or NIS, so it is most common to change the FQDN in /etc/hosts.
If a machine has multiple network interfaces/addresses or is used in a mobile environment, then it may either have multiple FQDNs/domain names or none at all. Therefore avoid using hostname --fqdn, hostname --domain and dnsdomainname. hostname --ip-address is subject to the same limitations so it should be avoided as well.