Introduction to Hosting Websites - What is a Server?
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If you are settled on hosting your own website, then the first thing that you will need is a server. A server is just a fancy high-end computer that will store your website and process requests to view it. Technically, any computer with an Internet connection and the right software can function as a web server.
Most of the time, servers will be stored in “server banks” with hundreds of other servers. The bank is hooked up to a high speed and high bandwidth Internet connection line. The room in which the servers are stored is carefully climate- controlled to keep the computers running cool and free of moisture.
The individual setups of web servers can vary widely and depend largely upon taste. They generally run either the Windows Server or Linux operating systems. There are quite a few software packages that can be used to host websites, but the two main competitors are the freeware Apache and Microsoft’s IIS.
Although the computer, Internet connection, and hosting software are all that you technically need to run a website, there are plenty of other options that are available to you as a web host. You can install other programming languages that will allow for greater website functionality, such as PHP and Perl. There are a lot of different programming languages that all offer their individual suite of functionality and preference.
In essence, once you have installed the necessary software on a computer connected to the Internet, you can have a working web server. You are able to attach domain names to your websites, direct requests for the website to the proper file directories, and do just about anything else that you would want to do with a website.
Although this is all that it takes to have a web server, there are some guidelines that you should follow to ensure that you are actually getting what you want, instead of just what you need.
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