You have outgrown your shared hosting and you are about to switch to a cloud server or VPS. What naming scheme should you use?
If your domain is example.com, what should you put as host name in your VPS setup? Is it www.example.com or example.com or example?
In case you are new to this and wonder what I am talking about…
Under Configure Server you are required to put in your host name, servername.yourdomain.com.
You can put in basically whatever you want. But you should have some kind of naming strategy for your hosts. Even if you only have a single VPS currently, it’s not impossible that your systems will grow over time, or you will split services that were once co-located on a single server onto different servers. You may also want to share your server with someone else or start another website on the same server that is completely unrelated.
Basically, the host name should not have any indication of the host’s purpose or function, but instead acts as a permanent, unique identifier to reference a particular piece of resource throughout its life-cycle (do not to reuse names when switching to a new server). This name should be used to label the resource itself and not the sites that will be hosted on it.
You should try to pick names that are neutral and not going to conflict with any public names you might want to host in the future. Let’s say you name your server alpha.expireddomains.com and in the future you will share it with a dating blog, Seduction.com, it will just sound awkward.
An example would be the use of EC2 or AWS by Amazon. These have nothing to do with the fact that a blog named JohnnyComeLately.com, some random online course or FixMyTyres.net will be hosted on it.
It is also strongly recommended that you put the server names under a domain name that is under your control. It’s not actually a requirement, but doing so will save you from many headaches in the future. Then add whatever names you come up with to that domain name in DNS.
Reasonable Names To Choose From
There are many word lists you can choose from, but the specific word list I recommend comes from Oren Tirosh’s mnemonic encoding project. These words were chosen very specifically to be short (4-7 letters), phonetically different from one another, easy to understand over the phone, and also recognizable internationally. The mnemonic word list should be much less prone to typos and transposed characters when compared to more structural names. A lot of time and research went into these words, and their properties make them ideal for this purpose. (The site doesn’t exist any more, therefore I retrieved this from the archives.)
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