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Your computer has an IP address. Did you know it has a name?

Red and white blank name tag on a white background

Are you and your computer on a first-name basis? That is to say, did you know your computer has a name if it’s on a network? Fact is, every computer on a network has both a name and an IP address. (On a network, your computer is referred to as a “host.”)

Why a name and a number?

The reason makes sense: Names are easier for people to remember than numbers. But computers deal strictly in numbers… zeroes and ones.

For instance, if you had a computer in the office and one in your kitchen and you put them on your home network, you might name them “OfficePC” and “KitchenPC.” Or you could call them “JoesPC” and “JillsPC,” and identify them by user. It’s up to you.

If you’re on a work computer, your network probably identifies you by name first, since your IP address can change fairly regularly. If you contacted your IT department, they’d likely ask for or look up your computer name and match it to your IP address.

Even printers and scanners connected to a network will have both a name and an IP address. So when you select a printer by name to print to, the network connects to it by its IP address.

What is your computer’s name?

You already know how to find your IP address: just go to whatismyIPaddress.com and it shows up. It will always show your current IP address—so if you’re in a hotel or on the road, it will show the IP address you are using precisely at that time. However, most people don’t know their computers have a name, let alone know how to find it.

Finding your computer’s name

Here are instructions for both Macs (Apple computers) and for PCs (personal computers, which use the Windows operating system).

If you have a PC:

  • On the Windows desktop (main screen), right-click on “My Computer”
  • Select “Properties”
  • Select the “Computer Name” tab
  • You’ll see your computer’s name.

If you have a Mac:

  • Click on Apple logo (menu)
  • Select “System Preferences”
  • Select “Internet & Network”
  • Select “Sharing”
  • You’ll see your computer’s name.

Chances are you won’t need to remember your computer’s name (the need to share it doesn’t come up that often). But it’s good to know how to find it for that day you’ll need it.

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