A website is the most popular mode of presentation, and not only in the professional world. While various web-hosting service providers exist, many businesses and privacy aware individuals seek an alternative, such as cloud-hosted or self-hosted servers for website hosting.
Web servers load and deliver the requested website page to the user’s browser – Brave, Firefox or Google Chrome, for example.
Web server software controls how web users access hosted files. It consists of several components, housing at least an HTTP server. An HTTP server is software that can understand HTTP requests and URLs.
Web servers follow a client-server model. In this structure, one program, also known as the client, requests a resource or service from another program, the server.
To process web clients’ requests, web servers follow a few steps:
- When a web user wants to load a website’s content, their web browser requests access through the internet. This is called an HTTP request.
The web browser looks for the requested website’s IP address by translating the URL of the web pages via the Domain Name System (DNS) or by searching through its cache. This process locates the web server where the site’s files are hosted.
- The web server receives the HTTP request and processes it through its HTTP server.
Once its HTTP server accepts the request, it will search through server files to obtain the relevant data.
- After that, the web server returns the site files to the web browser that sent the request. Then, the web user sees the website content.
However, if the HTTP server fails to find or process the requested files, it responds to the web browser with an error message. One of the most common is a 404 error, but a 403 error may also appear if there are permission issues.
On the other hand, if a web server fails to receive a timely response from another server, a 504 error occurs.
Web Server Features
Aside from supporting HTTP protocols to process incoming requests and responses, most web servers offer the following standard features:
Log files document any events or activities web servers perform, such as requests, security, and error logs. Each time a web server receives a new request, a line of text is added to the log.
Many servers offer this feature before permitting partial or complete access to a website’s resources. Authentication features often involve authorization requests – when a username and password are required.
A web server’s bandwidth is the amount of data it can transfer or process at any given time. Bandwidth limiting controls the speed of responses to ensure that a network is not oversaturated and can deliver files smoothly.
It refers to the amount of disk space available to store files, which determines whether a web server can host a website.
A web server includes other essential elements, such as:
A web server’s programming language is the type of code used to develop programs executed by a server. Also known as server-side scripting languages, examples of popular programming languages include PHP and Python.
Server uptime tracks the amount of time a web server is functional and can process requests or deliver files. A server’s uptime also affects when a hosted website is operational, known as website uptime. The industry standard is a 99.9% guarantee.
Why Do We Use a Web Server?
Web servers have three primary uses:
- Host multiple websites or web applications.
- Process File Transfer Protocol (FTP) requests.
- Send and receive emails.
If you want to create and publish a website, you’ll need access to a web server that provides your website with space to store its files, assets, and databases.
Not only that, but it’s role also involves performing backups, caching and security monitoring.
For small and mid-sized businesses that want to cut costs, creating and administrating websites is expensive. Similarly, running their own web servers seems difficult, since they probably don’t have the in-house tech personnel or tools to properly configure and run one, while managing the threats.
This is why many small and mid-sized businesses outsource to external providers. However, this comes with hidden risks like loss of control over your website(s) security, privacy intrusion and confidentiality risks, and more.
If you choose to use an open-source (Apache) web server, you can create any number of websites you want. Also, you are not limited when it comes to data storage. All this without much extra costs.
What Is Cloud-Hosting?
Cloud-hosted web servers can be hosted in a server from a cloud provider.
Maybe you have a website, which needs to send emails to users, or perhaps you’re a privacy lover in search of a nice alternative to popular web-mail providers like Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo. You can have your own Cloud-hosted web and web-mail server, thus escape the routine scanning of emails these providers perform on millions of users, and enjoy a safe and private environment.
The Benefits of Cloud-Hosting Your Own Website
Let’s look at some of the advantages of hosting your website yourself:
It’s relatively easy.
“Hosting your own website” sounds like a massive challenge. However, if you choose to partner with us, you can host your website with relative ease. You have several options, but one of the best is to use a virtual private server.
You’ll retain absolute control.
When you host your website yourself, the only person in control of the server is you. You can tweak whatever settings you want, you can modify things to make your site run better, and if there’s a problem, we can fix the problem directly.
You have full transparency.
With the right monitoring protocols, you can keep a much closer eye on your traffic. This can be daunting if you’re running a small operation, but you should be able to get a better read on the potential customers and leads coming to your site, as well as proactively addressing possible threats.
There are no restrictions on what you can upload.
Most web hosting providers keep a tight leash on what their customers can upload to a site, including restrictions on file sizes and types. But if you’re hosting your own website, you won’t have to follow those rules—you can make your own.
You have increased security.
There are plenty of security practices that can be set around web server use that can make for a safer experience.
What Is Self-Hosting?
Self-hosted web servers can be hosted in-house, on your physical server. Its primary function is to let you create your very own websites hosting server.
Moreover, you can enjoy 100% control over your websites and their settings. It gives you the option to set policies and customize settings that suit your organizational requirements.
If you value privacy and prioritize accessibility, a self-hosted web server is the best bet for you.
Why Run Your Own Self-Hosted Web Server?
When you have a self-hosted web server, all your personal details will get perfect privacy. There is no more being a victim of third-party web-hosting companies snooping and sharing of your personal details and information with the advertisers.