Difference Between Host and Server

The main difference between host and server is that host is a computer or another device that connects to the network while a server is a software or a hardware device that provides services to other programs or devices in the network.

A computer network is a collection of computing devices connected together to communicate and share resources. The host and server are two terms in computer networking. A host is a device that connects to the network. It is also called a node. It can be a device such as a desktop computer, laptop etc. On the other hand, a server provides various facilities for the other devices in the network. For example, a file server stores and manages the files in the network.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Host
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is a Server
     – Definition, Functionality
3. Difference Between Host and Server
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Host, Server, NetworkingDifference Between Host and Server - Comparison Summary

What is a Host

A host is a device that connects to the network. It can be a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, etc. The hosting machine contains software that enables it to communicate over the network. Every device in the network has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This address helps to identify the device in the network. When a device needs to send data to another device, that data travels to the correct designation by checking the IP address of the destination device. Sometimes, the hosts use hostnames instead of IP addresses. In that case, Domain Name System (DNS) converts the hostnames to the relevant IP addresses.

Difference Between Host and Server

Figure 1: Example of a Host

Basically, a host is a device that connects to the network. However, all the devices are not hosts. Devices such as hubs, switches, and routers do not have an IP address. Therefore, they are not hosts.

What is a Server

A server is a software or a hardware device that provides services to the other devices in the network. A client is a software or hardware that obtain services of a server. A server can connect multiple clients, and a single client can connect to multiple servers. It is possible to run the client, and the server in the same device or the server can be a separate physical device as well. 

Main Difference - Host vs Server

Figure 2: A Host

There are various types of servers depending on the service they provide. Some common servers include web servers, file servers, database servers, mail servers and application servers. Overall, servers provide various services such as storing and managing data, sharing resources, computations and many more to multiple clients. Furthermore, there are also more powerful servers running in data centers for reliable and accurate data communication.

Difference Between Host and Server

Definition

A host is a computer or a device that connects to the network while a server is a software or a hardware device that provides services for other programs or devices in the network.

Functionality

A host shares and consumes resources while a server shares resources and provide services.

Connection Method

A host can connect to other devices using Internet whereas a server can connect to other devices using Local Area Network (LAN) or Internet.

Conclusion

The basic difference between host and server is that host is a computer or other device that connects to the network while a server is a software or a hardware device that provides services to other programs or devices in the network.

Reference:

1.“What Is Server?” WhatIs.com, Available here.
2.“Network Programming Essentials: Host.” Naeem Akram, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “computer desk, monitor, Internet, desk, office, working, digital, technology, gadget, tablet” (CC0) via Pixino
2. “Wikimedia Foundation Servers-8055 14″ By Victorgrigas – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lithmee

Lithmee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering and is reading for her Master’s degree in Computer Science. She is passionate about sharing her knowldge in the areas of programming, data science, and computer systems.

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