When most people hear the word ‘server’ they don’t exactly know what it means and the get confused. This is easily done because there are lots of different servers that do different jobs. The important thing to realise is that a server no matter what needs it is serving is a powerful computer whose purpose is to supply services and resources to other computers. Often, you will find that servers have no monitor or other normal peripherals attached to them, they don’t even have to resemble computers.
There are many types of servers and they all accomplish different tasks, but their common trait is that they all provide services to other computers. You can get web servers, file servers and mail servers just to name a few.
In your day to day browsing of the Web, you are in contact with a web server. Whenever you visit a website, your browser makes a request to a server which serves you with the information you require. The web server is always connected to the Web and is dealing with lots of different people wanting to access the website. Therefore, a web server needs to be powerful. You can indeed run a web server on your old laptop and host your own website but it is not going to be fast or deal with lots of different simultaneous connections. This is the reason why most people go to a hosting company and buy a hosting plan for their website.
When you buy web hosting you are in fact renting space on a web server. Hosting companies have the personnel and hardware to run and maintain lots of servers. When buying web hosting you have the option of dedicated hosting or shared hosting. With dedicated hosting, the server only provides resources for your needs and it is ideal when you require lots of space, bandwidth and security. Most people opt for shared hosting because it is not only sufficient for their website but it is also a lot cheaper.