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 test.example.com.

Is there a difference? Would anything break either way.


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.


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).


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.


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.

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