How to Differentiate Between a Web Server and Web Host
Web servers and web hosts are frequently used interchangeably. There are, nevertheless, considerable distinctions between them. Let’s understand it here!
Web Server: An Overview
A web server processes and delivers web pages in response to a user’s request. It connects the client (typically a web browser) and the website’s programs or files. When users access a web page, their browser sends a request to the server, indicating the page or resource they want. The request is processed, the relevant files or data are retrieved, and a response is generated. It allows the user’s browser to display the web page.
Common types of web servers include:
- File Server– It is a storage device or computer that stores files. The user uses the server on the network to store files.
- Database Server– It refers to the server or a device dedicated to server hosting to process database queries.
- Print Server– This device lets you share the printer with multiple computers on a network.
Web servers can execute server-side scripts or applications, enabling dynamic content generation. These scripts, such as PHP or Python, interact with databases, process user input, and generate customized web pages based on the specific request.
Web Hosting: An Overview
Web hosting provides the infrastructure and resources required to store and deliver websites to the Internet. Web hosts are hosting providers offering physical or virtual space to store a website’s files, databases, and other resources. They are responsible for the upkeep of servers, network connectivity, security measures, and other hardware and software components necessary for website hosting.
Popular web hosting types are:
- Shared host– Shared hosting is an environment where multiple websites share the same physical server and its resources. Typically, it is the most cost-effective option for hosting among businesses.
- Dedicated host– Dedicated hosting is the type of hosting where a single client can access the private server. The client acquires root access to the server and optimizes it as required.
- Free host– Free hosting allows the hosting of a limited set of websites and comes with restricted storage space and bandwidth. You must move to paid hosting if you need more storage space and resources.
Web Server vs. Web Hosting: Distinguishing Factors
Key factors that highlight the differences between web servers and web hosts are:
The web server processes and delivers web pages based on users’ requests. On the contrary, the web host is a service that offers the infrastructure and resources required to store and serve websites.
2. Software vs. Service
A web server must be installed and configured on a physical or virtual server. It processes incoming requests and generates responses. A web host, however, is a service provided by a hosting company that offers server space, connectivity, and support.
An individual, organization, or hosting provider can own and manage a web server. In contrast, the web host is offered by a hosting company. They own and maintain the servers.
3. Scalability and Resources
Web servers may be scaled up or down by tweaking hardware, software, or network configurations. Web hosts offer different hosting plans with varying resources. It lets website owners choose the appropriate storage, bandwidth, and performance level.
As a website owner, you manage the web server if you host it yourself. The hosting provider manages server management tasks with a web host, allowing you to focus on your website’s content and functionality.
A web server is a software application responsible for processing and delivering web pages. In contrast, a web host is a hosting company providing the infrastructure and resources to store and serve websites. Understanding this distinction is essential when establishing an online presence and selecting the appropriate solutions for your website’s needs.
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