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What's the difference between Hostname and Domain name? especially in regards to NIC

Could someone please elaborate with examples as this concept is a little confusing

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2 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted
  • hostname is the name given to the end-point (the machine in question)
    • and will be used to identify it over DNS if that is configured
  • domain is the name given to the 'network'
    • it will be required to reach the network from an external point (like the Internet)

It is usually written in the form,

hostname.domain.com -- for example

If you are in (say) a college campus named called 'The-University',
and its domain is called 'theuniversity.org',
a machine on the campus network called 'mymachine' would be addressed as, 'mymachine.theuniversity.org'.

If you were trying to connect to this machine from your home network,
you would address it with that full name.
The domain part would reach you to the campus network
and the hostname would let you reach the exact machine in the campus.
I am avoiding the details of IP Addressing and gateways here.

For this reason, while accessing the machine from another machine within the campus
may work with just the hostname (mymachine) without the use of the domain name.

To taken an analogy, if you are in the same city, the street name suffices.
But, to address a place in another city, you would usually add the city name after the street.

For a more detailed reading
the Wikipedia page on Domain Name Service could be a good starting place.

  • When configuring DNS, the DNS Server Name would be required.
    This is a hostname (the server is an addressable machine).
  • An IP address cannot point to a Domain Name,
    It can however point to a domain name server (DNS).
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would i have to mention the hostname somewhere when configuring the dns? and if I have a static IP pointing to the domain name would I have to mention the hostname anywhere or that is independent of the domain name configuration –  rzlines Oct 22 '09 at 20:52
what if i add an A record then isn't that an IP pointing to a domain name? or vice versa? –  rzlines Oct 22 '09 at 21:24
I disagree. A domain is not limited to a physical location, and not even to a specific network! –  Arjan Oct 23 '09 at 7:27
@Arjan, I accept your disagreement. I have 'over' simplified in the answer. –  nik Oct 23 '09 at 8:07
@nik: in www.google.com is the hostname just www or www.google.com? Gillian says www.google.com. If so, that means that the hostname depends on where you are is that it? (local vs remote) –  Ciro Santilli Feb 28 at 5:32
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A hostname is the name of a server, on a local network it can be a simple name like "mailserver".

For use on the Internet, domain name and hostname is for most practical purposes the same thing.

See related Wikipedia link.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Difference_between_domain_name_and_host_name#ixzz210PYEsh6

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It is not even a Wikipedia. –  Nakilon Apr 19 '13 at 11:39
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