What is a host computer?

A host computer is a centralized workstation, server, or mainframe computing device located in a network environment that manages tasks, communicates instructions, or provides specific services to other networked computers known as clients. Most of the time, the computer acting as a host allows client computers to access and run specific software applications, which allow users to perform database administration, documentation editing, publishing, web development, and video processing. The host computer often serves as the central hub for deploying data and managing tasks in a networked community.

After recording a video, a person can upload it to a host server, locating the file on their computer and providing the website with the path to it.

A database or information store usually resides on a host computer or centralized workstation. Depending on the software application and the specific use, this device will be the main distribution center responsible for feeding important data to several or hundreds of client computers. This data may include customer information, inventory, product specifications, or media files that the customer may need to view as part of a company-wide broadcast. Most of the time, this device runs an administrative version of the software, allowing administrative tasks to be performed while the client computer runs a similar version, allowing only data entry and viewing of specific information. The operator of each client depends on the performance and stability of the host computer to access information quickly and accurately.

In a small publishing environment, this type of system can be used to catalog existing content, marketing materials, graphics, and photography that are constantly used by writers, editors, and designers when building a collection of information for distribution. Writers can create initial drafts and copy them to a specific folder on the host computer, where an editor can retrieve, edit, and return drafts with the necessary changes. As the process continues, the content can be moved to a secondary location or folder where the publication’s designers work with the content to determine the concept, design the pages, and build the publication to be ready for distribution.

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When licensing software, sometimes a host computer is required to host a data file, which contains specific hardware and network information about each customer, designed to run the software application for its user. This computer is often called a licensing server or key server because it will provide remote authorization from its location to a predetermined amount of users or software locations to be used legally in a network environment. Along with many other uses, a host computer can serve a multitude of purposes to aid in the efficient operation of a working network.

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