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Difference Between Hostname and Server Name

The Domain Name System (DNS) is fundamental to proper functioning of virtually all Internet Protocol (IP) network applications, from the basic emails to web scrolling to multimedia applications, and so on. Each time you type the web address of a site on your web browser or send an email to someone, you use DNS. It is a hierarchical name resolution system created to translate the website names into their corresponding IP addresses that the local host needs to communicate via the World Wide Web. And the TCP/IP is the universally recognized communications protocol for linking diverse computer systems. Name servers are an important part of the DNS, which act like a database of the devices and IP addresses linked to them. A hostname is a name assigned to a device connected to a network.

What is Hostname?

Hostname is like a nickname assigned to a device connected to a network. It is a unique identifier that identifies a hardware device on a network. Just like we are called by different names for identification, computers on a network are also assigned names so that they could be easily distinguished from one another. These names, in the reference of the Internet, are called hostnames. In that context, a hostname is a domain name that points to the IP address. It can be the name of your computer or server and can be as long as 255 characters, containing numbers and letters. It refers to a host on a network and can be used to describe both physical addresses and network nodes. Computers use IP addresses to identify and communicate with other computers, but humans need hostnames to identify the computers. Every computer within a domain is assigned a distinct hostname which is unique to that particular device.

What is Name Server?

Name servers are a part of the DNS, which act like a directory that maintains a database of all the devices and the IP addresses linked to them. A name server is a server component of the DNS that helps connect URLs with the IP addresses of web servers. These are dedicated servers on the web that help you find websites by a domain name. Think of name servers as contact lists on your phone – instead of memorizing each and every phone number you simply assign a name to a phone number which makes it easy to identify the person to which the number is linked. Similarly, name servers are used to direct traffic on the Internet by assigning IP addresses to simple, easy to understand domain names. This way you just have to remember domain names instead of IP addresses. They are specialized servers that handle queries from the local host about the various services of the domain name.

Difference between Hostname and Server Name

Meaning 

– Hostname is like a nickname assigned to a device connected to a network. It refers to a host on a network and can be used to describe both physical addresses and network nodes. Every computer within a domain is assigned a distinct hostname which is unique to that particular device. Name servers, on the other hand, are dedicated servers on the web that help you find websites by a domain name. A name server is a server component of the DNS that helps connect URLs with the IP addresses of web servers.

Function

 – Like computers need IP addresses to communicate with other computers on the network, we need hostnames to identify those computers. Hostnames are unique identifiers that are used in different modes of communication such as the WWW or email in order to tell a device from another within a domain. Name servers, on the other hand, are fully qualified hostnames. These are basically the servers where you DNS information is actually stored. They are specialized servers that handle queries from the local host about the various services of the domain name.

Structure

 – Hostnames comprise of a sequence of labels separated by dots. Each label in a hostname must be between 1 and 63 characters long, and goes as long as up to 255 characters with all the labels combined to form a fully qualified domain name. Hostnames can represent physical or virtual addresses. A name server, on the other hand, looks just like a domain name and it stores all the files containing information about the domain names and their corresponding IP addresses.

Hostname vs. Name Server: Comparison Chart

Summary

While both hostnames and name servers are used in the context of how the public can access your server, they are different terms with different functions. A hostname is typically a domain name that points to the IP address of a hardware device connected to a network. Like we call others by their names to identify them, computers on a network are identified by hostnames which are unique to each device. It is a unique identifier that makes it easy for us to identify a computer on a network and to tell one system from another. Name servers, on the other hand, are dedicated servers on the web that help you identify websites by their respective domain names. They direct traffic on the Internet by assigning IP addresses to simple, easy to understand domain names.

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References :


[0]Hunt, Craig. TCP/IP Network Administration: Help for Unix System Administrators. California, United States: O'Reilly Media, 2002. Print

[1]Dooley, Michael and Timothy Rooney. DNS Security Management. New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, 2017. Print

[2]Hunt, Craig and Robert Bruce Thompson. California, United States: O'Reilly Media, 1998. Print

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Showcase_of_nameservers.png

[4]Image credit: https://www.seobility.net/en/wiki/images/c/ce/Hostname.png

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