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Let's say I just have an ip address for a server and I don't have a domain with it (it's just a database server, so it doesn't need a domain). I don't want to have to remember the ip address every time, so is there a way I could still use the syntax like ssh username@database or something?

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5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

If you only want the name for ssh and ssh only, you can add a name to your ssh config in ~/.ssh/config

As an example, your config file could look like this:

Host database
    HostName <real IP address or hostname here>
    User username

Then you can type ssh database on the command line and ssh will automatically do ssh username@ip.address for you.

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Add an entry for it to /etc/hosts on the system you're ssh'ing from.

The syntax is 1.1.1.1 hostname

This works on Linux and Mac. For windows, the file is c:\windows\system\drivers\etc\hosts

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clients have 2 or 3 ways to associate a name with a IP address.

1) DNS, but that implies a hostname and a domain.

2) host file, you can add any name in the clients host file and then it will be used. Add the line '192.168.1.1 database' in /etc/hosts to associate the name database with the address 192.168.1.1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_%28file%29 for more specific details and OS specific locations.

3) NIS, Solaris computers can use NIS to share hostnames for multiple clients.

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Or LDAP. Or mDNS. Or any NSS-enabled mechanism. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 21 '10 at 22:07
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You need just to add the database name-IP mapping to your /etc/hosts file. The hosts file can be easily edited. You will find some entries there.

This name can be used for any connection not just SSH.

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Create a DynDNS, it's free, in five minutes you can add a A record that points to your IP.

For example: create database1.dyndns.org as an A record pointing your ip
You can access from everywhere using:

ssh username@database1.dyndns.org

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