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Hostname, what's all that about?!

Posted on 2006-07-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-19
Hi Guys,

Could you tell me the significance of hostnames when it comes to internet connections. When visitors are on my site, I can see their hostname, usually their ISP etc. Is this just a naming value, or has it got a practial use? Are standart home ADSL connections preset to have its ISPs hostname? When or how can one have ones own hostname.

Info greatly appreciated.

Question by:mpaert
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Accepted Solution

NAORC earned 500 total points
ID: 17099292
A host name is The unique name that identifies a computer on a network. On the Internet, the host name is in the form "comp.xyz.net"; if there is only one Internet site the host name is the same as the domain name. One computer can have more than one host name if it hosts more than one Internet site, however (for example, "home.xyz.net" and "comp.xyz.net"); in that case "comp" and "home" are host names and "xyz.net" is the domain name.

The significance is that they are used withing networks to identify what machine is where on a network.  the internet is just like a giant network, and an isp is like a machine on that network.  When it connects to a website on your behalf in order to pass internet information trhough to your PC, its host name (ISP's router or server name) is logged by the website.

If you put this slightly into reverse, when a person connects to your site (VIA their ISP) your website logs their ISP's host name because it is whats connected to your site at that time.

to have your own hot name, you need own a domain and a domain server / router for that domain.  You also need your own IP's.  

Yes standard home users wil have their isp's name as their host name, because all internet traffic is relayed through their isp when they attempt to view a site.

the practical value si the same as the value of a computer name within a smaller domain/network in that it is used to identify a specific item in a specific location
LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Steve Knight
Steve Knight earned 500 total points
ID: 17099746
Adding slightly to that.  All you see coming to your site is an IP address.  If you see a hostname in the logs it is because your web server is carrying out a DNS request to 'reverse resolve' the IP address back into a name, the opposite of what happens when you try and turn www.domain.com into an IP address to access it.

Most home networks use one IP address for the router or dsl / cable modem or dialup modem and this is dynamic, i.e. it changes evrery time it connects, or at least could do, i.e. it doesn't belong to you.  These generally resolve to something like xx.xx.xx.xx.isp.net where xx.xx.xx.xx is the IP address in reverse.

If you have a fixed address, such as most companies (I do for home / office use too) then you get allocated a specific static address - your ISP can then have this return your domain name instead, e.g. mine returns xxxx.dragon-xx.co.uk when reverse resolved.

When you are talking about business networks with SMTP servers runnign behind them it is important to get the reverse dns address right as many othr businesses and ISP's start to block emails where the originating address doesn't resolve to the name of the sender etc.



LVL 30

Assisted Solution

ded9 earned 500 total points
ID: 17099805
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Assisted Solution

Tueblo earned 500 total points
ID: 17101813
Most ISPs will give any dial up connection a dynamic hostname, just like it gets a dynamic ip-address. These hostnames are usually useless, as they change every time the computer dials up.

There are services to have a static hostname for a computer unsing a dial up connection (Check out e. g. www.dyndns.org). This will get the computer the same hostname regardless which ip-address it has. These services offer free hostnames (like "myhost.some-company.com), but you can link the computer to your own hostname, if you happen to own a domainname. In this case you can link your dial up computer to a hostname like "myhost.my-domain.com".

Finally if one owns a static ip-address you can register the address with the DNS service to have a static hostname, if you own a domainname. This registering will mostly be done by the ISP that got you your domainname.

Regards !

Author Comment

ID: 17103629
Thanks everyone for your input. I have a static IP address on the ADSL, and have access to a Domain which I would like to allocate to this "connection". Is there some info of what settings need to be set (I have access to  eNom DNS settings or WHM DNS settings), in order to connect a hostname to my IP?

LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Steve Knight
ID: 17103705
To get xyz.domain.com to resolve to your IP you need an A entry forxyz for your static IP address in the domain.com DNS zone which you or your ISP should be able to do.  To resolve your IP address back to your domain name your ISP will almost certainly have to do it, basically whoever controls that IP range in the reverse DNS lookup zones.  You can see which server this is by doing:


and entering your IP address in the reverse dns lookup box


Expert Comment

ID: 17106173
eNom has a demo page: https://www.enom.com/help/dnsdemo.asp

You can link your IP to an example domain, to see how it works. You can enter a hostname and your IP address and choose the record type A. Then you can test if you can reach your computer using that name.

This will give you an impression of the process when you use your own domain.

Expert Comment

ID: 17106362
very easy mean : its name of yor IP Address

good luck
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 17106441
check this guide




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