Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

3.1. I keep hearing about Internet hosts. What is a host?

If you've ever gone to an enjoyable cocktail party, birthday party, luau, or other social event, you already know what a host is--the person who lets you into his or her home, allows you to eat his food, sit on his couch and generally mess up the place. This type of host is only vaguely similar to the kind of host on the Internet. On the Internet, a host is any computer system that is connected to the physical network. More specifically, it's any computer with a distinct identity--a name and a network address. (Your cocktail party host, I hope, also has a name and an address.)

Note: The words host, site, and computer can be used interchangeably.

Each Internet host has a name in the form of system.domain, where system is that computer's own moniker and the domain contains information about the organization to which the computer belongs. Examples are as follows:

There are millions more. In any case, the word before the first period is the computer's name. The word after the first period is the domain name. More on domain names in a minute.

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