Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was wondering if I am editing a file such as /etc/hosts or /etc/sysconfig/network should I put a . at the end of the name. such as

Is there a difference? Would anything break either way.

share|improve this question

According to man hosts:

Host names may contain only alphanumeric characters, minus signs ("-"), and periods ("."). They must begin with an alphabetic character and end with an alphanumeric character.

share|improve this answer

Entries in /etc/hosts are never expanded with a domain, it's a simple table lookup, and hence, trailing dots are meaningless and likely to cause issues. Also as mentioned in another answer, the specification for /etc/hosts rules them out (for this reason).

share|improve this answer

I have never seen anyone use a trailing dot there, so you probably shouldn't. Even though nothing might break right now, it's just tempting fate, as something might not expect it.

share|improve this answer

Trailing dot is not meaningless. If you try to access a host with FQDN(which includes trailing dot), your application will lookup the name from DNS not /etc/hosts if the hostname in /etc/hosts does not have trailing dot.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.