A genuine question that comes to mind when entering the field of websites and domains is a very basic one, i.e., The Difference Between Web Hosting and Web Server.
Here we will outline all the nitty-gritty differences between these concepts and how to choose when buying a web hosting or web server.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting, or shared web hosting, is a service offered by a web hostings provider like HosterPK and other providers that provides the storage space for the content of your website along with other related resources like email services, etc.
This service gets created on a dedicated server on which any number of other users apart from you are hosting their service as well—hence the term “shared” web hosting. This will also include a control panel like cPanel to manage your site’s technical requirements, like installing applications (e.g., WordPress, Joomla), creating custom email ids, or using FTP service support to upload your site’s content. Further, at the server end, some server features like firewalls, backups, malware scanning, etc. are available and shared across all the users renting space on that server.
When you rent a space on a server, you ask the server to store your website’s files. This kind of setup makes web hosting a cheaper or more cost-effective choice as the hardware and software resources are shared between users, however, there are some drawbacks to web hosting. e.g., the entire server’s IP address can be blacklisted due to one client sending spam, which can result in email delivery problems.
Resources like CPU, RAM, and disk space are shared, which can lead to performance issues for websites with high traffic or that require more resources. Therefore, you should examine all the possible advantages and disadvantages of shared hosting before making a decision, and make sure that it is the right choice based on all the potential pros and cons outlined.
What is a Web Server?
Without getting into too much technical detail, you can consider a web server as hardware or a physical machine with an operating system (like Windows or Linux) installed, and here the job of a web server would be to serve the content requested by the website visitor.
So each time your browser opens a website, the web server is working at the back end to deliver the content uploaded by the webmaster of that site. So the web server is responsible for handling web traffic. A web server may be a physical (dedicated) or virtual machine (VPS, cloud server) facilitating web traffic communication.
HosterPK owns a lot of web servers where we host our client’s websites, and these machines are equipped with powerful components like 132-core CPUs, hundreds of GBs of RAM, and storage.
Differences Between Web Hosting and Web Server
First, we have gone through the definitions of web hosting and a web server, and now it’s time to go through the differences between the two:
As you may have understood from the discussion on web hosting above, web hosting is a service offered by a service provider like HosterPK that helps you upload and access your website on the internet. In contrast, a web server is a software that handles HTTP requests and serves web pages, while in another sense, it may also mean a dedicated server housing CPU, RAM, and storage devices and then having the software to serve client sites to users.
A data center typically provides web hosting, while a web server can be set up and managed by the website owner or a hosting provider.
Web hosting includes features such as server maintenance, security, and backups, while web servers focus on serving web pages and processing HTTP requests.
Web hosting is often available in different packages and pricing plans, while web servers can be customized and configured to meet specific requirements.
As an analogy, a shared web hosting plan can be compared to the rental of an apartment in a large building, while a web server can be compared to the ownership of one’s own house to understand the difference between the two.
Similarly, note that a shared hosting plan involves sharing the same server resources with multiple websites, much like multiple apartments share the same building infrastructure, including electricity and water. since it is a cost-effective option if you have a site that uses fewer resources. In fact, most of the sites run by users are shared, so going for a dedicated server is recommended if you have a corporate site or different hosting needs than regular web hosting does not provide.
On the other hand, the web server is like owning your own home – you have exclusive access to all the resources and infrastructure of the server, and you can customize it according to your specific requirements. Of course, it is more expensive, but it also gives you much more control and flexibility over your server environment.
In the same way that renting an apartment in a shared building can be a good option for those who only require a little space or resources, shared web hosting can be a good option for smaller websites with a low traffic volume. You should only consider investing in a web server if you need more resources, a custom hosting environment, or if your website receives so much traffic that your hosting company is not willing to host it any longer on their shared plans.
In conclusion, “web hosting usually refers to a service where your site is uploaded to a server shared with other users. While a web server by definition, helps web traffic flow to the visitors, it can also mean a dedicated machine without any other users so you are not sharing any resources with anyone, which could be costly.
You may use simple shared web hosting to host a starter site depending on your needs. Still, a web server or dedicated server would be a good option for a corporate site where data security and uptime are paramount.