A Hostname is the unique name given to a computer connected to the Internet. For example, the hostname for my website is www.bleepingcomputer.com. The hostname is composed of two parts. The first part is the local name, which in this case is www. The second part is the domain name which is bleepingcomputer.com. When you combine the two parts you have the hostname.
Hostnames can also be just the domain name. For example, if you browse to the location bleepingcomputer.com, you will still be able to reach my website even though you did not prepend the local name to it. In situations like this, the hostname and domain name are the same.
It is also not required for hostnames to correspond to the standard names that are associated with certain functions. For example we all know that if we see the name www.domain.com, and if we browse to that site, we should be reach the website for the company or association domain.com. It is also possible to make a hostname bleep.bleepingcomputer.com and map that name to the website. So if you browsed with your web browser to that site, you would still reach the content from this website, but you would reach it through another name.
With this in mind it is very important to remember that hostnames were created as a convenience to make it easier for you to get to a location on the Internet without having to remember the IP Address. Therefore, there is no particular standard or naming conventions hostnames must adhere to. So if someone says sometime in the future, "I have a great site. Goto bleep.bleepingcomputer.com!", don't say thats its a bad links because it should start with www, bleep as the local name should and does work.
All hostnames have a corresponding IP Address that is mapped to it. These hostnames are resolved to their IP Address equivalent using the Domain Name System.
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