Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking 118 118 people found this article helpful What Is a Hostname? Definition of hostname and how to find it in Windows By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated November 13, 2019 Home Networking The Wireless Connection Routers & Firewalls Network Hubs ISP Broadband Ethernet Installing & Upgrading Wi-Fi & Wireless Tweet Share Email A hostname is the label assigned to a device (a host) on a network and is used to distinguish one device from another on a specific network or over the internet. The hostname for a computer on a home network may be something like new laptop, Guest-Desktop, or FamilyPC. Hostnames are also used by DNS servers so you can access a website by a common, easy-to-remember name to avoid having to remember a string of numbers (an IP address) just to open a website. A computer's hostname may instead be referred to as a computer name, sitename, or nodename. You may also see hostname spelled as host name. Examples of a Hostname Each of the following is an example of a Fully Qualified Domain Name with its hostname written off to the side: pcsupport.lifewire.com: pcsupportwww.google.com: wwwimages.google.com: imagesproducts.office.com: productswww.microsoft.com: www As you can see, the hostname (like pcsupport) is simply the text that precedes the domain name (e.g. lifewire), which is, of course, the text that comes prior to the top-level domain (dot-com). How to Find a Hostname in Windows Executing hostname from the Command Prompt is by far the easiest way to show the hostname of the computer that you're working on. Never used Command Prompt before? See our How to Open Command Prompt tutorial for instructions. This method works in a terminal window in other operating systems, too, like macOS and Linux. Using the ipconfig command to execute ipconfig /all is another method, but those results are a lot more detailed and include information in addition to the hostname that you might not be interested in. The net view command, one of the several net commands, is another way to see not only your own hostname but also the hostnames of other devices and computers on your network. How to Change a Hostname in Windows Another easy way to see the hostname of the computer you're using is through System Properties, which also lets you change the hostname. System Properties can be accessed from the Advanced system settings link inside the System applet in Control Panel. Simply press Win+R then type control sysdm.cpl to jump to the correct screen. More About Hostnames Hostnames cannot contain a space because they can only be alphabetical or alphanumerical. A hyphen is the only allowed symbol. The www portion of a URL is actually indicating a subdomain of a website, similar to pcsupport being a subdomain of lifewire.com, and images being one of the subdomains of Google.com. To access lifewire.com's PC Support section, you must specify the pcsupport hostname in the URL. Likewise, the www hostname is always required unless you're after a specific subdomain (like images or pcsupport). For example, entering www.lifewire.com is technically always required instead of just lifewire.com. This is why some websites are unreachable unless you enter out the www portion before the domain name. However, most websites you visit will still open without specifying the www hostname — either because the web browser does it for you or because the website knows what you're after.