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The Internet Host

Host (network), a computer connected to the Internet or another IP-based network Hosts file, a computer file to be used to store information on where to find an internet host on a computer network Internet hosting service, a service that runs Internet servers allowing organizations and individuals to serve content to the Internet Virtual host, allowing several DNS names to share the same IP address.

A network host is a computer connected to a computer network. A network host may offer information resources, services, and applications to users or other nodes on the network. A network host is a network node that is assigned a network layer host address. Computers participating in networks that use the Internet Protocol Suite may also be called IP hosts. Specifically, computers participating in the Internet are called Internet hosts, sometimes Internet nodes. Internet hosts and other IP hosts have one or more IP addresses assigned to their network interfaces. The addresses are configured either manually by an administrator, automatically at start-up by means of the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), or by stateless address autoconfiguration methods.

Every network host is a physical network node, but not every physical network node is a host. Network devices such as modems, hubs, and network switches are not assigned host addresses and are consequently not considered as network hosts. Devices such as network printers and hardware routers have IP addresses, but since they are not general-purpose computers, they are sometimes not considered as hosts.

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 peer-to-peer applications, in which all nodes share and consume resources in an equipotent manner. A host is a physical node, can run both server and client programs, provides specific services, and Serves multiple users and devices.

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 ARPANET.


While the ARPANET was developed, computers connected to the network were typically mainframe computer systems that could be accessed from terminals connected via serial ports. Since these dumb terminals did not host software or perform computations themselves, they were not considered hosts. The terminals were connected to the terminal hosts through serial interfaces and perhaps circuit-switched networks, but not connected to any IP based network, and was not assigned IP addresses. Today's IP hosts may, however, lack ability to serve as terminal hosts. A host is a general-purpose computer system connected to a communications network for the purpose of achieving resource sharing amongst the participating operating systems.

A UCLA computer science professor and his student was able to send the first message over the predecessor to the internet using ARPANET.

In 1973, a group of high school students reportedly gained access to a closed network managed by the Pentagon on ARPANET. To make it difficult for hackers to compromise the system, Computer scientists Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn suggested building encryption into the internet’s core protocols.

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