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hostname Command in Linux with Examples

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Abhishek Sharma

In the world of Linux, there are numerous commands at your disposal to help manage and configure various aspects of your system. One such command that plays a vital role in networking and system administration is the "hostname" command. The hostname command allows you to view, set, or change the hostname of your Linux system. Your system’s hostname is a critical identifier in a networked environment, and understanding how to work with it can be essential for both novice and experienced Linux users.

In this article, we will explore the hostname command in Linux and provide you with a comprehensive guide on its usage. We will cover the basics of viewing your system’s hostname, changing it temporarily, and making permanent changes. Additionally, we’ll walk you through various examples to illustrate how the hostname command can be a valuable tool in managing your Linux system’s identity.

What is the Hostname Command?

The hostname command is a simple yet powerful tool in Linux that allows you to interact with your system’s hostname. This command can be used to perform the following tasks:

1. View the Current Hostname: You can use the hostname command to check your system’s current hostname. Simply open your terminal and type the following:


Press Enter, and it will display your current hostname.

2. Change the Hostname Temporarily: You can change your system’s hostname temporarily. This change will persist until the next system reboot. To do this, use the hostname command followed by the desired hostname:

sudo hostname newhostname

Replace "newhostname" with your preferred hostname. This is useful when you want to experiment with different hostnames without making permanent changes.

3. Make Permanent Hostname Changes: To make permanent changes to your system’s hostname, you need to modify the hostname configuration files. The exact files and steps may vary depending on your Linux distribution, but two common approaches are editing the /etc/hostname or /etc/hosts file. After editing the configuration file, don’t forget to update the kernel’s hostname using the following command:

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname newhostname

Now, let’s delve into some practical examples to understand how to use the hostname command effectively:

Example 1: Viewing the Current Hostname
To check your system’s current hostname, open a terminal and simply type:


This will display your system’s current hostname, which may look something like "mylinuxpc."

Example 2: Changing the Hostname Temporarily
Let’s say you want to temporarily change your system’s hostname to "temporaryhost." You can do this with the following command:

sudo hostname temporaryhost

Your hostname is now "temporaryhost," but remember, this change will be lost after a system reboot.

Example 3: Making Permanent Hostname Changes
To make permanent hostname changes, you’ll need to edit the appropriate configuration file. For this example, we’ll edit the /etc/hostname file. Open the file with your preferred text editor:

sudo nano /etc/hostname

Inside the file, you’ll see your current hostname; change it to your desired permanent hostname, save the file, and exit the text editor.

Next, update the kernel’s hostname:

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname newpermanenthostname
Your system’s hostname is now permanently set to "newpermanenthostname."

The hostname command is a fundamental tool for any Linux system administrator or user who needs to manage the identity of their machine in a networked environment. It enables you to view the current hostname, set a temporary one, and make permanent changes to the system’s name. Whether you are connecting to a network, configuring network services, or simply want to personalize your system’s name, the hostname command is a versatile utility.

In this article, we’ve provided you with a detailed exploration of the hostname command, offering real-world examples to illustrate its usage. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the world of Linux networking and system administration, ensuring that your system’s identity is correctly configured and optimized for your specific needs.

We hope that this guide has been valuable to you, and that you now have a solid understanding of how to use the hostname command effectively in Linux.

FAQ related to hostname command in linux with examples:

Here are some FAQs related to hostname command in linux with examples.

Q1: What is a hostname in Linux?
A hostname in Linux is a label assigned to a computer or device connected to a network. It serves as a unique identifier to distinguish one machine from others within the same network. Hostnames are essential for communication in a networked environment.

Q2: How can I view the current hostname of my Linux system?
You can view the current hostname by using the "hostname" command without any options. Simply open a terminal and type "hostname" followed by pressing Enter. It will display your system’s current hostname.

Q3: How can I change the hostname temporarily?
To change the hostname temporarily, use the "hostname" command followed by the new hostname. For example, to set a temporary hostname of "mynewhostname," you can run "sudo hostname mynewhostname" in the terminal. Keep in mind that this change will only persist until you reboot your system.

Q4: How can I make changes to the hostname permanently?
To change the hostname permanently, you need to modify the hostname configuration files. The specific file to edit may vary depending on your Linux distribution. Typically, you will find the configuration in either "/etc/hostname" or "/etc/hosts." After making the necessary changes, you should also update the kernel’s hostname by running the "hostnamectl" command with superuser privileges.

Q5: Can I use any characters in a hostname?
Hostnames in Linux can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, a-z, 0-9) and hyphens (-). Special characters, spaces, and underscores are not allowed. Additionally, hostnames should not begin or end with a hyphen.

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