What Is The Difference Between A Hostname And A Domain Name?

Hostnames and domain names are networking terms. Differentiating the two can be quite confusing but not to the point where you have to be a DNS administrator to understand them. When used together, the hostname comes before the domain name and together they make up a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). The FQDN usually represents a major portion of the top-level address or the full URL of a landing page. It uniquely identifies every computer connected to the internet via the DNS – Domain Name Service naming hierarchy.


Individual computers have hostnames, which are labels used to identify them in various forms of electronic communication in an intranet or the World Wide Web. Hostnames point to specific hosts and land users on specific web addresses or locations on the web. In simple terms, your hostname is your device’s name. Most organizations and companies have internal network setups and use their own private domain. Within such networks, hostnames can be used directly for communication without the domain names. Any name you give the hostname is considered fully qualified and can be changed at will.

Domain name

A domain name is basically a text name that serves as a more memorable replacement to numeric IP addresses. To access a website, web users can type in its domain name on their web browsers address bar. The domain name therefore functions as a physical address does in the physical world. The domain should not be confused with the Universal Resource locator (URL). The domain name only makes up part of the more precise URL. The domain name is comprised of three parts. The top-level domain, the sub-domain and the sub-domain prefix. For example, in www.example.com  www is the sub-domain prefix for the World Wide Webb, .example the sub domain name and .com the top-level domain. In a local network, while individual computers have hostnames, the entire network can use one domain name. The domain name is the name of the network.  Unlike hostnames, which can be conjured by their owners, Domain names have to be registered with a domains registrar and they have to be unique. There are many domain name registrars dealing in anything from premium domains to discount domains. 

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If you plan to launch a website, learning to differentiate hostnames from domain names is very crucial. It might determine how easily your target clients find your website.

Other topics that you can check in: What is The Difference between Domains vs. Hosting vs. Website

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