Difference Between Host and Server

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Let’s face it; the internet is complicated. As a central core to our society, we use the internet in many ways. But though we’re online often, many people still struggle to understand how the internet works. 

It’s easy to get confused about how websites function and the differences between definitions, terminology, and mechanisms. But suppose you are getting into learning on the internet or starting to design your website. In that case, you must understand the critical differences between a website server and a website host.

Below, we’ll outline the difference between host and server in websites to arm you with the necessary knowledge you need to navigate the internet successfully.

What is a Website Server?

Before we can fully understand the critical differences between a host and a server, it’s crucial to understand what a server does. A website server, such as a dedicated server or a cloud server, is a mechanism that processes and provides the information of the website. It stores, processes, and delivers the website and information to users by utilizing tools like HTML (otherwise known as hypertext transfer protocol).

Website servers are also referred to as computers, as sometimes servers are physical server machines.  

It helps to imagine a website server similar to a massive data center where users can access information. Web servers connect to internet browsers through the use of a trans-coder. Web servers are the systems that offer websites and allow them to be accessible. They display the website’s content, store the information, and provide users access to the website. 

For example, when a browser needs information on a web server, the browser requests the information through HTTP. After the browser makes the request, the HTTP on the server accepts the request, retrieves the data, and sends the information back to the browser through HTTP. 

Another great way to think of it is in terms of when a website is “not working.” For example, suppose you hear someone say that their website isn’t working or isn’t responding. What is happening in the webserver is not responsive, and, as a result, the website is unavailable. 

In short, the website server processes information and connects users to the website through HTML. 

What is a Website Host?

A website host is a program that “hosts” or connects users to the website. Hosting services create space on a server or a site to store site information, coding, and so forth. It’s important to note that a website is unable to exist without a server host. 

Examples of web hosting companies include Bluehost, Hostgator, and GoDaddy Hosting. While those are certainly a few of the most popular web hosting sites on the current market, hundreds of web hosting companies exist. Some hosting sites have paid plans, but there are plenty of hosting companies that offer free programs, too. 

There are many advantages to a web-hosting service. For example, many web hosting companies employ technicians armed with a deep understanding of web hosting to help you keep your website running anytime you stumble into an issue. 

A professional web hosting service ensures a hassle-free experience for customers so that you focus your energy on your business instead of troubleshooting your website. 

When choosing a web-hosting service, you’ll soon realize that the amount of space allocated on a server to a website depends on the type of hosting. You can choose between various types of hosting based on the specific needs and requirements of you and your website. 

Main Difference Between Host and Server

Although a server and host work together to create a cohesive website platform, they have drastically different functions. 

The main differences between a server and a host are as follows: 

  • Their main objectives
  • Managing and storing data 
  • Different types 
  • How they improve website functionality. 

Here are the main key differences between a web server and a web host:

Main Objectives 

The most significant difference between a website server and a website host is their primary objectives. A website server’s main objective is to process, store, and deliver web pages to users requesting access to the website. 

On the other hand, a web host aims to host all web pages on their server. Additionally, the host service takes care of website setup, technical issues, and other small details that enhance the website’s usability.  

If you think of it this way, the web host uses the website server to make a functional website. Think of a website server as the mechanism and the website host as the place.

Managing and Storing Data 

A web host makes use of many other networks to relay the same set of information. Generally, web hosts use both switches and routers to send and receive data. 

Storing data in multiple data centers also helps web hosts to manage large amounts of data properly. The amount of data that can be stored also depends on the type of web-hosting service you decide to purchase or use. 

On the other hand, web servers are the data centers where the web host stores information. A web server receives data from a browser and then performs its operations. 

Different Types

The different types of servers are another difference between a web server and a web host. Types of servers include:

  • proxy server
  • FTP server 
  • application server
  • chat server 

A proxy server is a mediator between a client program and external servers. An application server is commonly used to connect the database servers with the users. An FTP server is used to securely transfer files between the computers-a chat server exchanges data in real-time. 

For web hosts, there are many more types of web hosts because different websites have different needs. The amount of host servers differs from web servers because the market creates more host services based on the ever-changing needs of customers and websites. 

The most common types of host services are listed below: 

  • shared host
  • dedicated host
  • free host 
  • reseller host 
  • cloud host 

Improving Website Functionality 

A website depends on its server to function. As a result, the web server also improves the website’s ability to perform. A properly functioning server allows the website to standardize its coding, customize its server settings as per requirement, enables users to employ hassle-free installation, and allows hassle-free deployment. 

A web hosting service improves website functionality by improving website performance, website security, and aids with technical support. It allows website creators to not worry about technical bugs and other fine details integral to performance and usability. 

While both services aid website functionality, a web host is geared towards improving security and technical support, whereas a web server works on coding and website construction. 

Final Thoughts

While the difference between a host and server can be confusing at first, when you start to think of it in terms of metaphors, the easier it becomes to understand. 

Essentially, a website needs both a server and host to function properly. 

A web server is a program or machine that hosts one (or sometimes multiple) websites. On the other hand, a web host means that the web pages, supporting data, and information are available on that same machine. 

The server’s job is to send a web page from the website it is hosting to a user’s browser upon the user’s request. 

The more you learn about websites, web use, and the internet in general, the more you’ll begin to understand what the differences are between these terms and programs.

To learn more about website hosting, check out our website hosting reviews and see which is best for you!