How do I assign a static hostname to a private Amazon EC2 instance running RHEL 7 or CentOS 7?

Last updated: 2019-10-15

I changed the hostname of my Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance. However, when I reboot or stop and then restart the instance, the hostname reverts to its former name. How do I get the new hostname to persist?

Short Description

To be sure that a hostname persists when an EC2 instance is rebooted or stopped, you must add the hostname to the appropriate configuration files on your EC2 instance.

Note: The following steps apply to RHEL 7 or CentOS 7. For instructions that apply to Ubuntu Linux, see How do I assign a static hostname to a private Amazon EC2 instance running Ubuntu Linux?


1.    Run the hostnamectl command from the shell to update the hostname of your RHEL 7 or CentOS 7 Linux instance. Replace persistent-hostname with the name you want the instance to use:

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname --static persistent-hostname

Note: Changing the hostname by using the hostnamectl command doesn't update the /etc/hosts file. However, if required, you can manually edit this file to add the new hostname.

2.    Use the vi text editor to update the /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg file on your RHEL 7 or CentOS 7 Linux instance. For general information about using the vi editor, run the command info vi from the command shell.

Note: This step is not required if you are using RHEL 7.4 and above.

sudo vi /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg

3.    Add the following string to the bottom of the /etc/cloud/cloud.cfg file to be sure that the new hostname is preserved between restarts and reboots:

preserve_hostname: true

Save and exit the vi editor.

4.    Run the reboot command to reboot the EC2 instance and associate the new hostname with the instance:

sudo reboot

5.    Run the Linux hostname command without any parameters to verify that the hostname change persisted:


The command should return the new hostname that you specified in step 1.

Note: If you install any system updates that affect the /etc/hosts file, the hostname file, or the hostname utility, you must run these steps again.