What is the Difference Between Web Hosting and Web Server?
If you’re attempting to build a website, the concept of web hosting and web servers may have crossed your mind. It can be tricky to understand the difference between these two topics. It doesn’t help that they are often used synonymously!
It’s time to demystify the terms ‘web hosting’ and ‘web server’. Although you need a web server to host a website, there’s more complexity than that. For example, an internet service provider (ISP) uses a web host to provide web space on their server. But what does this mean for you?
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about web hosting and web servers: from their similarities, differences, and purpose. Let’s get started!
Introduction to Web Hosting
If you’re new to websites and web hosting, you may have heard about web hosting and web server and find yourself wondering what the difference is. Well, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
At a high level, web hosting is an online service that enables people to host their websites and make them available to the world on the Internet. Web hosting services are provided by companies that own large collections of computers called servers.
These servers store your website’s files as well as any applications (e.g., databases) associated with it so that anyone around the world can access it through their web browser. In short, web hosting turns a server into an online service user can pay for.
On the other hand, a web server is an actual physical computer (or piece of hardware) that stores certain software for serving up websites.
It receives requests from browsers for website content and sends out files over the internet in response. A single physical server can host multiple websites as virtual machines or VMs, little simulated computer environments which act exactly like real ones — using software known as a hypervisor.
What is a Web Server?
Think of a web server as the filing cabinet for all the information that makes up your website. When someone visits your website, they’re essentially asking your web server for the files associated with it like images, documents, and page templates to display them in a readable format.
If you consider that each web page is made up of hundreds of pieces of data from different sources, it’s easy to see just how important the web server is.
In essence, the web server is a computer dedicated to serving up content for people on the internet. It consists of hardware and software components that are used to store, process and deliver content to a browser upon request.
Depending on its specifications, a single web server can host multiple websites simultaneously and provide users with access to vital services like email and FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Web servers are also responsible for receiving requests from web browsers, processing them using suitable protocols such as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer), and returning resources—such as HTML documents or images—back to those browsers.
The Difference Between Web Hosting and Web Server
Let’s start by taking a look at the features of web hosting and web server, and then you can decide which one is best for you.
· Web Hosting
Web hosting is the physical space that your website takes on a server. It’s like renting a space in an office building—you’ll get all the utilities you need, but there are also other businesses in the building. You don’t have complete control over what goes in that space, so it can be unreliable if other sites experience heavy traffic or outages.
· Web Server
A web server is responsible for serving up your website files over the internet so visitors to your site can access it. A web server usually houses many different websites, so these servers can get overloaded during peak times or when other websites experience thousands of visitors at once. The upside is that they’re typically more reliable than shared hosting packages.
The Benefits of Using a Web Server
Now that you know the difference between web hosting and a web server, let’s talk about some of the benefits of using a web server.
1. Cost Effectiveness
Using a dedicated web server is much more cost-effective than buying space from a hosting provider. You don’t have to pay for the infrastructure since you already own it, and you can customize your server to meet your specific needs.
With a dedicated web server, you can easily scale up as your website gets more traffic and demand. You can add new hardware, like additional RAM or storage for larger websites, without having to worry about reaching any limits on space offered by a hosting provider.
A dedicated web server gives you better control over security since it’s not shared with any other customers. So, if you have sensitive data on your website, you can be sure that only authorized people are accessing it with strict password policies and firewalls in place.
Considerations for Choosing the Right Host
When choosing between web hosting and web servers, there are a few things to consider. Think about the size of your website, the features that you need, and how much of an investment you want to make.
If you’re just starting out and setting up a small website with only basic features, then a web hosting service might be your best bet. However, if you plan on having a lot of content and features, or if you’re expecting high traffic volumes, then a web server might be worth investing in.
The type of features that come with each service varies greatly. With a web hosting service, for example, you’ll likely get more support and easier setup than with a web server. Web servers will likely have more customization options than web hosting services too — but at the cost of needing more technical expertise.
The amount of money you have to spend will also factor into which service is right for you. Web hosting services typically require less money upfront than investing in your own dedicated server — but depending on your traffic needs, the costs may end up being more over time if a shared server won’t suffice.
In summary, a web hosting company provides access to web hosting services, meaning that you can store your website files on their server, and a web server is a physical server that hosts your website.
The two are interconnected without web hosting, you couldn’t access your website, and without a web server, there would be no place to store your website. The two are both essential for running a successful website, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two.