How to change the hostname on CentOS and Ubuntu


The hostname is used to identify the server when connected on a network and it is configured during the initial server setup. Changing the initial server hostname is a task that you might like to perform while you are using the server and in this tutorial, we will show you how to change the hostname on a Linux VPS running CentOS 7 or Ubuntu 16.04 as an operating system.

What is a hostname?

Hostname is a label used to identify the machine and will help you to easily distinguish the server from another one. The hostname should be a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) and should point to the server IP address so you can access the server by using it.

Check the current hostname

Changing the hostname is a fairly simple process and requires only a few minutes of your time. You will need to connect to your server via SSH in order to be able to make that change. If you do not know how to connect to your server via SSH, you can use our guide about this which is available here.

Once you log in you should determine the current hostname. If you are using a CentOS 7 VPS or an Ubuntu 16.04 VPS, you can use the hostnamectl command.

# hostnamectl status

The status output should be very similar to the one below:

 Static hostname:
       Icon name: computer-container
         Chassis: container
      Machine ID: * * * 
         Boot ID: * * * 
Operating System: CentOS Linux 7 (Core)
     CPE OS Name: cpe:/o:centos:centos:7
          Kernel: Linux 2.6.32-042stab120.3
    Architecture: x86-64

The value static hostname is the value you should look at.

Change the current hostname

To change the hostname on your CentOS or Ubuntu machine you should run the following command:

# hostnamectl set-hostname

Please note that you need to replace with the new hostname you like to use.

Now, when you check the current hostname status using the command hostnamectl status you will see the new hostname instead of the old one That means you have successfully changed the hostname on your server.

More command options

For more command options you can add the --help flag at the end.

# hostnamectl --help
hostnamectl [OPTIONS...] COMMAND ...

Query or change system hostname.

  -h --help              Show this help
     --version           Show package version
     --no-ask-password   Do not prompt for password
  -H --host=[USER@]HOST  Operate on remote host
  -M --machine=CONTAINER Operate on local container
     --transient         Only set transient hostname
     --static            Only set static hostname
     --pretty            Only set pretty hostname

  status                 Show current hostname settings
  set-hostname NAME      Set system hostname
  set-icon-name NAME     Set icon name for host
  set-chassis NAME       Set chassis type for host
  set-deployment NAME    Set deployment environment for host
  set-location NAME      Set location for host

Of course you don’t have to do any of this if you use one of our Linux VPS hosting services, in which case you can simply ask our expert Linux admins to help you change the hostname of your server. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

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