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(Or "sitename"). The unique name by which a computer is known on a network, used to identify it in electronic mail, Usenet news, or other forms of electronic information interchange.

On the Internet the hostname is an ASCII string, e.g. "" which, consists of a local part (foldoc) and a domain name ( The hostname is translated into an Internet address either via the hosts file, NIS or by the Domain Name System (DNS) or resolver. It is possible for one computer to have several hostnames (aliases) though one is designated as its canonical name.

It is often possible to guess a hostname for a particular institution. This is useful if you want to know if they operate network services like anonymous FTP, World-Wide Web or finger. First try the institution's name or obvious abbreviations thereof, with the appropriate domain appended, e.g. "". If this fails, prepend "ftp." or "www." as appropriate, e.g. "". You can use the ping command as a quick way to test whether a hostname is valid.

The folklore interest of hostnames stems from the creativity and humour they often display. Interpreting a sitename is not unlike interpreting a vanity licence plate; one has to mentally unpack it, allowing for mono-case and length restrictions and the lack of whitespace. Hacker tradition deprecates dull, institutional-sounding names in favour of punchy, humorous, and clever coinages (except that it is considered appropriate for the official public gateway machine of an organisation to bear the organisation's name or acronym). Mythological references, cartoon characters, animal names, and allusions to SF or fantasy literature are probably the most popular sources for sitenames (in roughly descending order). The obligatory comment is Harris's Lament: "All the good ones are taken!"

See also network address.


Berkeley Unix command to set and get the application level name used by the host.

Unix manual page: hostname(1).


The name assigned to a workstation or server in a network. In a Windows local area network, computers are given alphanumeric hostnames up to 15 characters in length with no spaces. For example, Maria's computer could be named maria or workstation3 or hplaptop003.

Internet Hostnames
On the Internet, a hostname is part of the address typed into a browser to access a website. Traditionally, WWW has been used for Web server hostnames. However, most websites can be addressed without the WWW, because the HTTP server (Web server) network port number 80 is automatically passed to the correct server by the routing or firewall equipment whether the WWW is present or not. See HOSTS file, IP address, FQDN and DNS.

The Format of an Internet Address
The hostname follows the protocol in a Web address. However, due to the ways Web servers can be shared, distributed, virtualized and clustered, merely looking at a domain name cannot really determine the true name of the host computer that will respond to the request.
References in periodicals archive ?
With Color Access Policy Manager, administrators can control the use of color printing based on the user login name, application, host name, document name or website URL.
Simplified analysis and assessment through new data visualization displays that use charts and color-coding to indicate the number and severity of vulnerabilities based on IP addresses, host names, and asset groups.
The tool retrieves the originating ip address from the header and responds with the corresponding isp, host name and the geographical location of the originating email server.
Host name registration, portal services, firewall, intrusion detection, data back-up
Sunday Night at the London Palladium and countless Saturday Night Spectaculars brought him TV recognition and he's gone on to host Name That Tune and to appear in more than 300 Give Us a Clue games.
The service provides a specific host name for a dynamic IP address so that you can maintain your server via ADSL/FTTH lines.
Most importantly, it provides an IP address for each host name, and lists the mail exchange servers accepting e-mail for each domain.
In its simplest terms, this request is a string of characters known as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that specifies a scheme (ftp, Gopher, or http, for example), a host name (a machine on whose file system the resource resides), and finally, what is interpreted as a path to the location of a file on the host machine (this is not strictly the case but illustrates the basic workings of the protocol).
The host name often provides useful information on the identity (the "address") of the Web server hosting a page and, less reliably, the name of the institution responsible for publishing the page.
Following installation, the backdoor would acquire information such as User Name, Computer Name, Host Name and Current Malware Process ID from the target s computer, which would then enable the threat actor to keep track of its specific targets.
Another new feature, Virtual Host Names, allows PingFederate to receive and validate federation messages sent to multiple domain names.
It is also the world's largest hosting provider in terms of host names with 5 million customers in more than 100 countries, and its servers have 171 million visits on a monthly basis.