Changing Hostname in Linux

The hostname in Linux is what appears at the left of the cursor in terminal. Using hostnames over ip addresses when creating shortcuts, network printers and mapped network drives is generally preferable because the path is abstracted from the assigned ip address. If the ip ever changes, you will not need to reset up your links.

        Here is how to change it on Mac, Linux – Debian Based, Linux – RedHat Based, and BSD

Identify your current hostname

On Linux systems you can find out what your hostname is by typing in the command





Temporarily Change Name

You could temporarily change the hostname by typing in:

hostname some-new-name

This works on linux and mac systems.

The change will not persist across reboots.

Scroll down for the persistent solution.


hostname spencers-new-name



Permanently Change Host Name

Linux – Redhat / Fedora and Derivatives



Changing the hostname on a Red Hat or derivative machine requires editing the ‘network’ file located in /etc/sysconfig.

The name should already be populated from the initial install.


sudo nano /etc/sysconfig/network




( I am aware of the typo in fedora, This post was a result of needing to fix it)

Linux – Ubuntu and Debian Derivatives



Linux Distros based on Debian such as ubuntu and CentOS have a slightly different way of changing the hostname.

For them, you must edit the /etc/hostname file


sudo nano /etc/hostname



You will then need to reboot, or if you are in a hurry, you can type in this command


/etc/init.d/ start


The file should already have the name of your system listed. By default it is just ubuntu


After changing it, you should restart the computer. Logging out isn’t sufficient.

Mac – OSx


While there may be a way to edit a file on mac, it is simpler and quicker to run the scutil command. Enter the word HostName followed by the new name you want to assign it. Note that there are 2 dashes ’ ‘ with no spaces in-between them


scutil — set HostName Spencers-New-Name



As always, you should restart the computer to update all references of the old name stored in memory.



You must exit and log back in as root


vi /etc/rc.conf



Add this line to the end of the config file. Including quotes


hostname = “some-new-name”



You should restart to make the changes stick.



About spuder
spuder is a "super computer" support engineer by day, and tinkerer / hobbyist by night.

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