When I connect to my server (ubuntu server 10.10), I get this:

[email protected] ~>

How can I remove ".belkin"?

  • 1
    Try editing /etc/ hosts. gksudo gedit /etc/hosts and replace server-name.belkin by whatever name you desire.
    – LFC_fan
    Oct 26, 2010 at 8:39
  • 2
    Do you want to change the actual server name, or just the way it's displayed in the prompt? Oct 26, 2010 at 18:07
  • 2
    Voting to reopen, because this is a superset (allows restart). Feb 5, 2017 at 17:27
  • how does this question get closed in favor of one asked over a year later?
    – warren
    Aug 24, 2017 at 16:42
  • @warren the current consensus is to close by "quality": meta.stackexchange.com/questions/147643/… Since "quality" is not measurable, I just go by upvotes. ;-) Likely it comes down to which question hit the best newbie Google keywords on the title. Apr 19, 2018 at 11:59

14 Answers 14


You need to edit the computer name in two files:




These will both need administrative access, so run

gksu gedit /path/to/file

Replace any instances of the existing computer name with your new one. When complete run

sudo service hostname start

The name will also be changed if you restart your computer.

See also:

  • 46
    After that, just sudo service hostname restart and the hostname has been changed without rebooting.
    – Anthony O.
    Nov 20, 2013 at 0:37
  • 6
    In Ubuntu 14.04 there is no service 'hostname'. What can I do there to avoid reboot. Jul 28, 2014 at 6:39
  • 8
    sudo service hostname restart doesn't work on default install of ubuntu server 14.04 on AWS. I had to do full server restart
    – gerrytan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 21:47
  • 9
    On 14.04, I simply ran sudo hostname, and that did the trick. I didn't notice any immediate change, but when I opened a new terminal, I saw my hostname had indeed changed. Nov 22, 2014 at 8:33
  • 14
    sudo hostname new-host-name worked for me on ubuntu 13.10
    – Lekhnath
    Jan 14, 2015 at 12:04

hostnamectl set-hostname on 13.10+ desktop

This is the best way if you have systemd (13.10 onwards) and if cloud-init is not active (see below):

hostnamectl set-hostname 'new-hostname'


  • does not require rebooting
  • persists after reboots

More info at: https://askubuntu.com/a/516898/52975

18.04 onwards: cloud-init

18.04 Introduced cloud-init which can control setting of the hostname so hostnamectl changes it won't stick after a reboot if cloud-init is installed. TODO: how to check if it is installed, is it installed by default on the desktop image or just server?

If you want hostnamectl changes to stay after a reboot, then you'll need to edit the cloud-init config files, disable cloud-init's hostname set/update module:

sudo sed -i 's/preserve_hostname: false/preserve_hostname: true/' /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg

or disable cloud-init entirely:

sudo touch /etc/cloud/cloud-init.disabled

See also: How do I change the hostname without a restart?

  • 4
    Doesn't change /etc/hosts in 14.04
    – Autodidact
    Jul 1, 2016 at 15:37
  • 7
    works perfectly in ubuntu 16.04... thanks a lot
    – creative
    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:16
  • 2
    Confirmed to work correctly in 16.10 also
    – fuzzygroup
    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:23
  • 2
    I had to add my new-hostname into /etc/hosts else using sudo would cause some error "sudo: unable to resolve host xxxxx"
    – WoodyDRN
    May 27, 2017 at 0:27
  • 2
    Working also with Ubuntu 20 LTS as desktop, and only using sudo hostnamectl set-hostname myNewName. After new terminal and after boot (!), the` myNewName`, no problem. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:56

It's quite easy:

  1. Edit /etc/hostname, make the name change, save the file.

  2. You should also make the same changes in /etc/hosts file

  3. Run sudo service hostname start

As long as you have no application settings depending on the 'old' hostname, you should be ok ;-)

  • 32
    WARNING: If you do this without changing /etc/hosts accordingly you will be unable to use sudo because your hostname will fail to lookup Dec 6, 2010 at 16:10
  • 1
    It's ok, you can do that as hostname is now a service managed from upstart. It'll do exactly the same thing,restart the service.
    – Pavlos G.
    Jan 7, 2011 at 13:11
  • 2
    Note: this will not work for ubuntu 14.x, as hostname is no longer in init.d Oct 9, 2014 at 11:42
  • 1
    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS: Failed to start hostname.service: Unit hostname.service is masked.
    – Chloe
    Nov 1, 2017 at 5:15
  • 3
    Warning: won't work with Ubuntu 18+ which is running cloud-init by default, which controls hostname on boot.
    – null
    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:13

It is safe to do, you just need to be sure you edit both the system hostname configuration file (/etc/hostname) and the hostname name resolution file (/etc/hosts). From a terminal execute the following:

sudo -s
editor /etc/hostname
editor /etc/hosts
shutdown -ry now
  • 3
    You can avoid shutdown with sudo service hostname restart.
    – Wtower
    Nov 19, 2014 at 12:27
  • 3
    @Wtower Doesn't work with 14.04. :(
    – ankush981
    Jan 2, 2016 at 6:13
  • Warning: won't work with Ubuntu 18+ which is running cloud-init by default, which controls hostname on boot.
    – null
    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:13

In addition to editing /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname, various services might have issues with the change as well. Mysql and postfix are installed by default in ubuntu. A broken postfix won't affect most ubuntu users, since it's a background email server that isn't used by much.


sudo editor /etc/postfix/main.cf
sudo service postfix restart

The default config for mysql doesn't use hostname, so it will work fine as-is. If you have customized it, edit the files in /etc/mysql/ and restart the service.

You may also want to edit /etc/motd (message of the day), which is shown on virtual terminals and remote logins. That one won't harm anything though.

Other services that you may have installed that would need fixing are apache, bind9, etc. In each case, find and edit the hostname in their config and restart the service.


The host name uniquely identifies your computer on the local network (and possibly on the Internet as well) so it's not a good idea to change it unless you know what you are doing.

But you can change the shell prompt not to display the .belkin (domain name part):

export PS1='\u@\h \w> '

See the bash man page and specifically the section on prompting for more information.


Another better and safe way to rename hostname

Install ailurus

  • Add the PPA and update your repository

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ailurus && sudo apt-get update

  • Install ailurus

    sudo apt-get install ailurus

  • After installation it will be found under Applications>>System Tools>>Ailurus
    alt text

  • 5
    Why is this getting negative votes? Should be better to configure something with a dedicated tool than muck around on the command line and break things in the process.
    – endolith
    Jan 20, 2011 at 3:49
  • 43
    Installing such a big software just to change a hostname is a bit of an overkill
    – Nemo
    Jun 17, 2011 at 1:56
  • 11
    I agree that this is overkill -- in particular because the software not available in the repositories but has to be installed from a PPA... Jul 5, 2011 at 16:55
  • @karthick87 perhaps mention in your answer that this is a large piece of software (with other configuration options)? - personally I agree with endolith that a tool with a single, simple change point is better than lots of command line operations (I use Ubuntu Tweak, also currently available from a PPA)
    – lofidevops
    Oct 14, 2011 at 7:19
  • 1
    I think that you can break a lot more things (and more easily) using this tool, than just replacing a word in a couple of files. It exposed too many things to you.
    – gerlos
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:53

Use the hostname command to change your hostname

sudo hostname newname

However, this does not edit your hosts file, which you must do so as to make sure that your computer recognizes itself

gksudo /etc/hosts

And add a new entry for your hostname pointing to oldname newname

You could remove the old entry as well, but I prefer to keep it there.


If you don't want to play with a text editor, Ubuntu Tweak (grab the deb from their website) has that as one of the little things you can play with (along with lots of other little tweaks that you might want to make but don't really want to play around with the terminal and the files themselves).

  • Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason why Ubuntu Tweak is not in the software repos? Dec 7, 2010 at 22:31
  • They never got around to adding it/haven't been accepted. You can add their repo to your list either right after starting tweak or through the terminal/repo list.
    – dkuntz2
    Dec 7, 2010 at 23:40
  • You can also add Ubuntu Tweak as a PPA with sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa then sudo apt-get update then sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
    – lofidevops
    Oct 14, 2011 at 7:15
  • 1
    note that since ~13.04 Ubuntu Tweak no longer provides this option
    – lofidevops
    Jun 15, 2014 at 11:32

The following command change the hostname on the fly but to make it permanent, you have to edit /etc/hostname:

echo 'new_hostname' > /proc/sys/kernel/hostname

Open a new terminal session and you'll see it right away.

With systemd in place, the proper way to do it is

hostnamectl set-hostname "new_name"

If you want a GUI assisted process install Ubuntu-Tweak. Among other uses of this app is the ability to change computer name through tab "Computer-Details" -> "Hostname"


SystemSettings -> Details -> Overwiev (default opened in U16.04) - Device Name.

but additionally you must change name in /etc/hosts. Ubuntu BUG()?

  • I think this a rather nice way to change the hostname. Sep 8, 2016 at 13:48

Open a terminal and

sudo sed -i '1s/.*/desired-name/g' /etc/hostname

# you need restart to effect with...

sudo shutdown -r 0
  • Warning: won't work with Ubuntu 18+ which is running cloud-init by default, which controls hostname on boot.
    – null
    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:12

For some reason all answers are about changing the hostname. However the goal of just showing the first part of the hostname can be achieved in other way.

You just need to find a place in your .bashrc file where the PS1 is set and replace \H with \h.

man bash - prompting

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