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Host (network)

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A network host is a connected to a . A host may work as a server offering information resources, services, and applications to users or other nodes on the network. Hosts are assigned at least one .

A computer participating in networks that use the Internet protocol suite may also be called an IP host. Specifically, computers participating in the are called Internet hosts, sometimes Internet nodes. Internet hosts and other IP hosts have one or more assigned to their network interfaces. The addresses are configured either manually by an administrator, automatically at startup by means of the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), or by stateless address autoconfiguration methods.

Network hosts that participate in applications that use the client-server model of computing, are classified as server or client systems. Network hosts may also function as nodes in applications, in which all nodes share and consume resources in an equipotent manner.

In operating systems, the term terminal host denotes a computer or multi-user software providing services to computer terminals, or a computer that provides services to smaller or less capable devices,
(2019). 9780130194695, Prentice Hall PTR. .
such as a mainframe computer serving terminals or video terminals. Other examples of this architecture include a host connected to a telnet server and an connected to an X Window client.

The term Internet host or just host is used in a number of Request for Comments (RFC) documents that define the Internet and its predecessor, the . RFC 871 defines a host as a general-purpose computer system connected to a communications network for "... the purpose of achieving resource sharing amongst the participating operating systems..."

While the ARPANET was being developed, computers connected to the network were typically mainframe computer systems that could be accessed from connected via . Since these terminals did not host software or perform computations themselves, they were not considered hosts as they were not connected to any , and were not assigned IP addresses.

Servers and nodes
All servers are hosts, but not all hosts are servers. Any device that has established a connection to a network qualifies as a host, whereas only hosts that accept connections from other devices (clients) qualify as servers.

Every network host is a , but not every network node is a host. Networking hardware such as , and are not necessarily assigned network addresses (except sometimes for administrative purposes), and consequently may not be considered to be network hosts.

See also
  • Port (computer networking)

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