Host

A host, more fully known as a network host, refers to a computer device which helps communicate with other hosts on a network. It includes the clients and servers which send or receive data, services, or applications. The idea of server and client can be interchangeable because a host can function either as a client and as a server, or as both at the same time. All servers are considered as the host but not all hosts function as servers. The term "host" is typically used if there are two computer systems that are connected by modems and the lines of a telephone connection system. Therefore, the system that has the data is called the host while the computer at which the user sits is referred to as the remote terminal.[1]

Functionality

The host is responsible for handling user requests. This includes offering services, software applications, and information resources to the clients or to the other nodes in the network. Aside from this, it also provides many other different services. It can be responsible for sending information to players or computer gamers or can serve as a hosting node for web pages on the internet.[2]

Types

The following are the different types of hosts:

Cloud Host

This type of host allows a number of servers to act as one system to which the performance of the website can be guaranteed via multiple machines. It works as a service which allows clients to buy as many as they can of the service that they really need. A cloud host provides customers with seamless scalability, increased accessibility, superior reliability, and potential cost savings.[3]

Remote Host

This host refers to a server in a private network or the public internet. It is a host located in a different physical location than which the user has accessed using a private network or the internet and it provides the users with this remote access.

Web Host

This is known as a web server which stores and transmits the data for one or more websites. It sells or leases spaces for memory on its servers. This host provides services to the clients that will enable them to publish websites on the internet.

Hostname

This is the label that is assigned to the device on the network and is used to differentiate and distinguish one device from other devices on a specific network or over the internet. This is just a plain text name that will identify a host with a given domain. This is also used by DNS servers in order for a client to easily access a website through a common, easy-to-remember name and to avoid the need to remember a string of numbers just to open a website.

Virtual Host

This host provides the clients with the domain name registration, storage of files, and directory services for the files that the web page is built from. Through this, it enables a single host machine to resemble multiple and several host machines. It also maintains a list of Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) types that it processes.

Host virtual machine

This server component provides computing resources to support a particular guest virtual machine. It intermediates between the host virtual machine and the guest virtual machine that isolates individual guest virtual machines from one another and it makes possible for a host to support several guests coming from different operating systems.

Mainframe computer environment

This is a type of computer which is generally known because of its big size, storage amount, processing power and high level of reliability. It has the ability to host multiple operating systems.[4] The relationship between the server and the client is a programming model that is independent of the contextual usage of this host. Hence, a host can also be used as a device or program that will surely provide services to some smaller or less-capable device or program.

History

The term terminal host means time-sharing computer or multi-user software that provides several services to computer terminals or it provides several services to those devices that are considered as small and with less capability. This term is also used often in a number of request for comments documents that really define the internet and the predecessor. According to ARPANET.RFC 871, it gives meaning to a host as a general-purpose computer system that is connected to a communication network. During the time when the ARPANET was still being developed, the computer devices that are connected to the network were typically a mainframe computer system which could be accessed and used from dumb terminals that were connected through serial ports. Because the terminals were not able to host software and perform computations, they were not identified and considered as host since they were not really connected to any networks of IP and were not even assigned with IP addresses.

Common Issues

One misconception is that servers and hosts are the same thing. Although they both essentially perform similar functions. It is important to understand the differences between a host and a server. Knowing more about the host, it can be either a piece of computer hardware or can be any device that is connected to a computer network. A computer device that is connected to the internet through an Internet Service Provider or ISP can also be considered as a host. This network host is also considered as a physical network node or simply a device that is just connected to a network. On the other hand, a server can be both hardware and software that will provide services for other devices or computer programs. It is possible for a single server to have several clients connected to it and a client alone can also connect to several servers.[5]Therefore, a host is always a physical device or a software program, it can run both the programs of a server and a client, it offers services that are very specific and it can serve multiple users and devices. While a server cannot be always a physical device or a software program, it is already installed on a host computer, and it serves only the clients.[6]

Some users may experience destination host that is unreachable, this is usually encountered when running a ping, tracers, or other commands from the network that is unable to communicate with the host entered by a user. If the computer devices do not have an issue and the user is dealing with the internal network host the problem must be diagnosed. For a home user, the ISP must be contacted for additional assistance but if the user is the administrator of the network, the setting of the router must be checked, rebooted, and must run a traceroute to the host. Some users may also experience resolving host issues. The following steps must be followed to solve it:

  1. Change the DNS server into public DNS servers
  2. Clear DNS cache of the chrome browser
  3. Clear DNS cache of the local PC or Mac
  4. Disable DNS prefetching or prediction on chrome
  5. Change the settings of LAN
  6. Modify the host files
  7. Do not use unreliable proxy and VPN
  8. Contact the Internet Service Provider or ISP

However, depending on the issue, it can really be fixed quickly. One of the easiest ways that must be tried is to switch to a different DNS service and check if it really resolves the issue.


  1. https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/host.html ↩︎

  2. https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/h/hostcomp.htm ↩︎

  3. https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/C/cloud_host.html ↩︎

  4. https://www.techopedia.com/definition/24356/mainframe ↩︎

  5. https://difference.guru/difference-between-host-and-server/ ↩︎

  6. https://learntomato.flashrouters.com/what-is-a-client-what-is-a-server-what-is-a-host/ ↩︎