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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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hostname — set or display name of current host system


hostname [name_of_host]


The hostname command displays the name of the current host, as given in the gethostname() system call (see gethostname(2)). Users who have appropriate privileges can set the hostname by giving the argument name_of_host; this is usually done in the startup script /sbin/init.d/hostname. The name_of_host argument is restricted to MAXHOSTNAMELEN characters as defined in <sys/param.h>.

The system might be known by other names if networking products are supported. See the node manager documentation supplied with your system.


If the name_of_host argument is specified, the resulting host name change lasts only until the system is rebooted. To change the host name permanently, run the special initialization script /sbin/set_parms (see Using Your HP Workstation).

Many types of networking services are supported on HP-UX, each of which uses a separately assigned system name and naming convention. To ensure predictable system behavior, it is essential that system names (also called host names or node names) be assigned in such a manner that they do not create conflicts when the various networking facilities interact with each other.

The system does not rely on a single system name in a specific location, partly because different services use dissimilar name formats as explained below. The hostname and uname commands assign system names as follows:

Node NameCommandname FormatUsed By
Internet namehostname namesys[.x.y.z...]ARPA and NFS Services
UUCP nameuname -S namesysuucp and related programs

where sys represents the assigned system name. It is strongly recommended that sys be identical for all commands and locations and that the optional .x.y.z... follow the specified notation for the particular ARPA/NFS environment.

Internet names are also frequently called host names or domain names (which are different from NFS domain names). Refer to hostname(5) for more information about Internet naming conventions.

Whenever the system name is changed in any file or by the use of any of the above commands, it should also be changed in all other locations as well. Other files or commands in addition to those above (such as /etc/uucp/Permissions if used to circumvent uname, for example) may contain or alter system names. To ensure correct operation, they should also use the same system name.

System names are normally assigned by the /sbin/init.d/hostname script at start-up, and should not be altered elsewhere.

Setting a hostname of more than 64 bytes is possible only with the appropriate configuration options enabled. It is strongly recommended that all related documentation be completely understood before setting a larger hostname. A hostname larger than 64 bytes can cause anomalous or incorrect behavior in applications which use the hostname command or the gethostname() system function to access the name.


hostname was developed by the University of California, Berkeley.

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