Hosting and servers may seem interchangeable. But while they are related, they have very different functions. While a server is a type of computer or software that shares important data and various applications, hosting is the act of providing access to a server. When you host a website, you’re renting space on a server to store your site’s files.
Hosting provides access to a network for a device to connect, like a computer or tablet. On the other hand, a server uses software to render services to other devices. There are various types of hosting and servers available, but they all render services to other devices.
In this article, we will look at the difference between hosting and servers to help you understand how they work. Below are some of the differences, features, characteristics, pros, and cons.
Hosting vs. Server: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Definition||Hosting is a service that provides space on a server for websites and files to be accessed online. It also refers to the hardware, software, and connectivity that make up the delivery infrastructure.||A server is a computer system that makes resources, information, services, and programs available through a network. Computers are regarded as servers when they share solicited resources with the client’s computer.|
|Types||– Shared Web Hosting|
– Free Web Hosting
– Paid Hosting
– Cloud Hosting
– Grid Hosting
– Managed hosting
– Dedicated Server Hosting
|– Web Server|
– Email Server
– Chat Server
– DNS Server
– Application Server
– FTP Server
– Proxy Server
|Advantages||– Efficient data management|
– Offers ISP services
– Enhanced set up and security
– Helps establish a web presence
– Cost effective
|– Has powerful processors|
– Supports advanced RAM
– Supports large cache
– Has higher storage capacity
– Can operate 24/7
|Year of Invention||1994||1989|
|Method of Connection||Internet Connection||LAN or Internet|
Hosting vs. Server: What’s the Difference?
In short, hosting refers to a method of acquiring space for a website on the internet so it can be accessed by anyone. A server is a piece of hardware – or even software – that stores website files, and processes and displays them on the internet.
Hosting: A Brief History
1991 was a big year for expansion of the internet. The National Science Foundation owned the NSFNET internet, which was utilized for research and education purposes, especially for engineering. That year, they made the decision to allow for-profit companies to access the network. At the same time, Tim Berner’s Lee, who had invented the World Wide Web in 1989, opened it to the public in 1991. More and more people and companies used the internet for FTP, email, and USENET traffic, and there were minimal web pages in existence. Even though web browsers for Mac and Windows computers appeared at the end of 1993, their use was not made apparent until 1995. As more an more traffic took to cyberspace, it became apparent that if a person or a company needed to host a website, they should have a computer or a server of their own.
In 1994, Geocities was the first of web hosting services which began hosting users on their servers. Geocities allowed users to upload pages of content to their platform. Later, in 1995, as the Web grew, other companies started offering free hosting services. Examples of these companies are Angelfire and Tripod.
Features of Good Hosting
When you build your website, you have to consider good hosting in order to make it run smoothly. You can find many hosting companies with several different features, so the ultimate choice is up to you. However, consider the monthly traffic, loading speed, available space, and payment methods in the process. Some features of good hosting include the following:
#1: Disc Space or Storage
Every website needs enough storage space for databases, files, images, and visuals. As your website grows, so does the traffic. That means you need a hosting company that provides enough disk space to ensure your website’s user experience is good. While most sites won’t need more than 1 GB of storage space, a really popular site like YouTube utilizes up to 21 terabytes of storage a day. Blog sites tend to check in at a range of 700-800 mb of storage.
It ensures fast load times for your users. Good hosting companies offer multiple bandwidth plans to accommodate your website’s growing needs. Bandwidth is measured in megabytes or gigabytes per second. Figuring how much you need would be based on daily traffic numbers multiplied by page visits, that would be multiplied by how many megabytes each page measures. Look for a hosting company with unlimited bandwidth to ensure your website transfers data fast and efficiently, or calculate and find one that will provide plenty for your needs.
When looking for a hosting company, security should be one of your top priorities. You want to ensure that your website is safe from hackers and that your information is protected. For this reason, a good hosting company will offer a solid security infrastructure with multiple layers of security to keep your website and information safe. The most reliable ones will offer solutions and ensure your site is swift and secure.
#4: Dependable Customer Support
Supportive technical support is ideal for every website builder. Choose a quality hosting company with a dependable customer support team. The customer support team should be able to answer any questions and help you resolve any issues.
Additionally, hosting should offer 24/7 support to help whenever you have a problem with your site. This is important because you never know when something could go wrong. It should also have chat, call, email support, and chatbot options to aid communication.
The server hosting your website must have good uptime. Uptime measures how often a website or server is accessible online. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the time, such as 99.9% uptime. This means that the site or server is almost always available.
Uptime is important for website owners because it ensures that visitors can access the site and that any transactions or communications are not interrupted. Also, in case of anything, the hosting should have backup servers available in many data centers. That gives your website a chance to run even during a crisis.
Even with the strongest hosting, at times, the worst happens. Hosting must provide a backup policy with an effective backing system to ensure your website doesn’t go down. You need protection in case accidents happen, such as files getting accidentally deleted or issues occurring with the hardware. Frequent automatic backups are important, but a host with an excellent backup policy will also provide offsite backup, as well as onsite, to ensure you recover your data should something go wrong.
Features of a Server
A server is a tool that offers convenience and reliability. It manages your network, connects multiple networks together (such as in an office setting), and keeps your data safe. It can be used to store and share files and to keep track of user activity. In addition, it can host websites and provide email and other services. A company can use a server to perform several functions.
- To maintain and manage emails for a business.
- To store large databases for easier accessibility by many people.
- Use it like a file server for file transfers (it can be assessed via an FTO program).
- It can run applications remotely, and several people can access them.
- Each server’s CPU has dozens of cores. There are some with 64 and 128. That makes them powerful processors when it comes to complicated infrastructures, etc.
Hosting vs. Server: Pros and Cons
Several factors should be considered when deciding between a host vs a server for your website. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of each will assist you in making the greatest choice for your business needs.
|Pros of Hosting||Cons of Hosting|
|Affordable||Security breaches (especially in the case of shared hosting)|
|Free bonuses from hosting services, such as SSL certificates, free emails, site builders, and more||Limited growth (slowed down by the number of people sharing one server)|
|Expert support round the clock||Higher traffic requires costly upgrades|
|Pros of Servers||Cons of Servers|
|Files are stored in a central location||Can be expensive|
|The network and shared data are centrally controlled||A lot of disruption happens if any part of the network fails|
|Backup and security||Requires a network-operating system expert and a network manager|
Hosting vs. Server: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Hosting connects your site to the Internet so people can view it, while a server connects devices via Internet connections or LAN.
- A server is a hardware or software component that supports other connected devices, whereas hosting is used to connect to a network through second-party devices.
- Hosting shares and uses various resources, but a server frequently distributes these resources when providing services.
- Hosting was invented in 1994, and the server was invented in 1989.
- Types of hosting are free, shared, cluster hosting, etc., whereas the different types of servers include file, mail, database servers, etc.
Hosting Vs. Server: Which One Is Better?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing between hosting and servers. It all depends on your specific needs. However, when you compare the differences, features, characteristics, pros, and cons of hosting vs. server, you understand what role each plays in the success of a website.
A server would be the better option if you need more control over your data and want to ensure better security. But hosting would be the way to go if you are looking for a more affordable option with fewer complications. It’s important to remember that hosting offers many free perks that can be useful for small businesses, whereas servers are more suited for larger businesses with greater data needs. So, hosting is the better option for most businesses because they can take advantage of its many benefits.
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