I have seen the use of both terms. Are they the same thing or are there any differences between them?

I have seen the use of "server name" on this Wikipedia page and on this Yahoo Answers page.

  • Can you add some context? Where have you seen these terms used? They can be a bit fuzzy sometimes. Context is everything.
    – Ron Trunk
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 13:43
  • @RonTrunk In this Wikipedia page.
    – Utku
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 13:46
  • @RonTrunk Also on this Yahoo Answers page. But I am suspicious that in this case, it might be just an erroneous wording of the asker.
    – Utku
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 13:48

3 Answers 3


hostname is the correct term when referring to the name of a machine, as opposed to its IP address. From Wikipedia:

In computer networking, a hostname (archaically nodename) is a label that is assigned to a device connected to a computer network and that is used to identify the device in various forms of electronic communication such as the World Wide Web, e-mail or Usenet.

With "server name" or "machine name" it is intended, well, the name (hostname) of the server or the machine.

Note that the hostname (e.g. jupiter) usually doesn't include the domain name (e.g. example.org). Together, they form a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name): jupiter.example.org. This is the most precise usage.
However, for instance when talking about the World Wide Web as in the Wikipedia page you linked, jupiter.example.org is often called (somehow incorrectly) an hostname.
In the Yahoo question you linked, they're synonyms.

  • So are they the same thing? What is the difference between them?
    – Utku
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:46
  • Yes, they mean the same but the term hostname is more correct.
    – dr_
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:47
  • Sometimes they call the whole jupiter.example.org as the hostname. I am guessing that this is an erroneous usage?
    – Utku
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:49
  • I edited my post. This usage is kind of incorrect but used often anyway because it's simpler.
    – dr_
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:05
  • By the way, I have one more confusion: is networkengineering in networkengineering.stackexchange.com the hostname? Then does that mean that whole networkengineering.stackexchange.com is located in one machine? Or not necessarily?
    – Utku
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:20

"Hostname" is used specifically in the context of the TCP/IP suite. Other protocols or operating systems (MS Windows) often use the term "server name." So for example, a device could be referred to by its Server Name in Windows, but by its Hostname using DNS. The names can be different.

Often the two terms are used interchangeably.


Switches and Routers = Hostnames = Device name

Systems = Server Names


  • You should explain this more and give your reasoning.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 14:08
  • You could improve your answer by editing it to add more details to make it more useful both for the original poster and future users. Typically short answers like this could provide reasoning why you believe this is the answer, more explanation about the concepts mentioned, references/links to supporting resources, or applicable examples.
    – YLearn
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:45

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