An Introduction to Web Servers & Web Hosting

shared hosting

Server Features & Composition

This post is intended to offer everyday web hosting customers a basic overview of a web server within the context of web hosting. Also its worth noting that this post focuses on commercial web servers and the delivery of shared hosting packages as even though its possible to host your own website its far easier, and likely cheaper, to invest in the services of a dedicated hosting provider.

The web server is the linchpin of a web hosting business. Structurally, it is not too dissimilar to a standard computer as they are composed of familiar hardware items including processors, RAM and hard disks, however the hardware is specifically designed for server use and is typically more powerful and with greater storage capacity then those found in a home or work computer.

A large storage capacity is a fundamental component of a web server as they need to be able to store all of the files and databases which comprise customer websites. It’s also important that the web server has the connectivity to allow this information to be transferred quickly to create a fast and smooth user experience.

Web Hosting

When you purchase web hosting your are, in effect, purchasing a share of the web server resources. This includes bandwidth which is a measure of data transfer such as occurs when somebody visits or interacts with your website.

Product Varierty

Web servers can be equipped to provide a number of different hosting products depending upon the software used for configuration. Shared hosting, as the name implies, means that customers share server space with one another and resources are allocated as and when they are needed. That’s not to say that your files aren’t secure because they are, the CloudLinux operating system ensures that customer accounts are isolated from one another.

More expensive hosting products such as VPS were/are traditionally thought to be superior to shared hosting as they offer clearly defined and guaranteed access to a certain amount of server resources. However this comparison was often made against so called “unlimited” (there’s no such thing as an unlimited server) packages which are frequently oversold and offer poor user experiences. Shared packages such as those on offer with feature defined disk space and bandwidth allocations preventing overselling and ensure a positive user experience at shared hosting prices.

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