hostname - macOS


The hostname command in macOS is used to display or set the system’s host name. This name is used to identify the machine on a network. The command is most effective in network administration, script automation, and system maintenance tasks.


The basic syntax for using the hostname command is:

hostname [options]

To set the hostname:

sudo hostname <new_hostname>

Where <new_hostname> is the name you wish to assign to your machine.


hostname supports a few options that control its execution:

  • -s, --short: Display the short host name (the portion before the first dot) only.
  • -f, --fqdn, --long: Display the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name), which is the long host name.
  • -i, --ip-address: Display the IP addresses associated with the host name.
  • -a, --alias: Display the alias name of the host, if used.
  • -d, --domain: Display domain name of the host.
  • -A, --all-fqdns: Display all FQDNs of the machine.
  • --help: Display help information.
  • --version: Display version information.


  1. Display the current host name:

  2. Set a new host name:

    sudo hostname new-host-name
  3. Display the IP address of the host:

    hostname -i
  4. Display the short version of the host name:

    hostname -s
  5. Display the fully qualified domain name (FQDN):

    hostname -f

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: When setting a new hostname, you need administrative privileges. Ensure you use sudo to avoid this error.
  • Hostname Not Persisting After Reboot: Changes made using hostname might not persist through a reboot. To permanently change the hostname, use the scutil command:
    sudo scutil --set HostName <new_hostname>


Combine hostname with other commands to perform more complex tasks. For example, logging the host name and IP in a log file:

echo "$(date) - Host: $(hostname -s) - IP: $(hostname -i)" >> system.log

This can be used in scripts to track the network status of multiple machines.

  • scutil: Manage system configuration parameters.
  • ping: Check network connectivity.
  • ifconfig: Configure or display network interface parameters.

For further reading and more detailed information, you can consult the macOS man pages available via man hostname in your terminal.