So, why is using a web hosting server and web hosting service so important? Well, web hosting is vital for starting your own online business. And why should that be so? This is because you want to advertise what your business has to offer to the rest of the world. Otherwise, how will anyone get to know about you and your business?
Let’s read on and find out more.
A web hosting company is one that stores websites on its server. A server, on the other hand, is a computer or computer program that controls access to a resource that is central in a network. Your website must live on a server somewhere which is permanently connected to the Internet. This server is called a web hosting server, because it hosts websites, as well as other data, and services. The web hosting server belongs to the hosting company, and is maintained by it. This is why you need to pay the web hosting company on a regular basis, as maintenance does cost in terms of people’s salaries and other required resources. A web hosting server must always be switched on and be connected to the Internet. It contains all the required components to make a website work.
In the case of shared hosting, it means that many websites share the same web hosting server. A dedicated server is dedicated to a single client, who doesn’t have to share any disk space with anyone else. Dedicated servers are used for large websites, where the website owner must be able to have more control, and possibly more bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to a range of frequencies occurring within a given band, and which is used for transmitting a signal.
It is good to understand what happens when you have your own business website on a web hosting server.
Each web server on the Internet is provided with a specific address named an IP address. IP means Internet Protocol, and can look like this: 220.127.116.11. Servers have static addresses as they don’t change often.
Each web host server on the Internet has also a domain name, which is much easier to remember than their IP address. For example, the domain name http://www.example.co.za consist of the host name (www), the domain name (example), and the second-level domain name (co.za). The Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for South Africa is za. The most used web hosting server in South Africa is called Apache, serving 66.56% of the za domains.
A group of servers called domain name servers translate the domain names to IP addresses, and these data bases occur all over the Internet.
So to sum up, the Internet consists of millions of machines, and each one has its own specific IP address. A lot of these machines are servers, such as the web servers, that supply various services to other machines occurring on the Internet.
A server such as a web hosting server provides its services to the Internet via numbered ports. Each port is assigned for a different service that is found on the server. A server running a web hosting server, would have the web server occurring at port 80. Someone wanting to use the web hosting server, will have to connect to that server’s specific IP address as well to that specific port 80.
A client that is connected to a service at a certain port, can access that service via a unique protocol. A protocol controls in a certain way the language interaction when a request for a service has been initiated. Protocols usually consist of text, and dictate how the client and the server will talk to each other.
Finally, let us have a look at two different types of web hosting servers, namely, a shared web hosting server, and a dedicated web hosting server.
If many websites each occupy a place on one web server, it will be quite economical for each website, as the overall cost for maintaining the server is spread over all the websites on the server. Seeing there are so many websites sharing a server, a good system administration is required to manage it all. A shared web hosting server is not the place for those who would like to exercise more control over their websites, especially when it comes to considerable software development. Only standard web server applications are applicable to a shared web hosting server. The majority of large hosting companies provide their own specifically developed control panels for use with a shared web server. Control panels are used for simplifying the process of hosting a website.
In this case, a client leases an entire server, which is why it is called a dedicated server. Because one client is completely in control, there is much more freedom in what kind of operating system, and hardware can be used. To have a website on such a server will cost a lot more, understandably so. This time the administration, and engineering support of the infrastructure cannot be shared.
As a local example, Afrihost, builds and offers to the public dedicated servers, using the latest technology. Their server’s hardware is constantly managed and monitored by their network engineers. Various options, involving, for instance, differing web traffic (the two-way flow of data between visitors and a web site), CPU (the central processing unit of a server), RAM (random access memory), and hard drives are offered with different monthly costs.
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