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What is Web Hosting Server and How it Works

In this article, we want to give you some details about what a web hosting server is and what components it is composed of by giving more attention to its functionality at the expense of specific terminology.

Web Hosting Server Hardware

A very powerful computer with very high specifications such as memory RAM, multiple SSD hard drives and CPU processors is mounted in a special rack in a special building with very expensive equipment called a data center.

Server Software

First, there must be an operating system installed on our server - servers, based on Linux are the most widely used ones. We are using a distribution called CentOS in our server infrastructure.

Then we have all the individual applications needed by a web server, such as server daemons, Linux libraries, programming languages and other applications which determine the ultimate functionality of the web hosting service.

Users are becoming more and more demanding for the quality and capabilities of the web hosting services and to meet these requirements a modern web hosting server should support as a minimum the following applications:

  • Web server - an application that returns (serves) web pages requested by internet users, that are hosted on the server.

  • BIND or named - the most widely used Domain Name System (DNS) software on the Internet - used to manage the domains of hosting users.

  • Mail servers (SMTP, IMAP, POP3) and additional applications (webmail, mailling lists applications, SpamAssassin filter,etc) all these provide web hosting users with quality email services.

  • FTP server - file transfer application.

  • OpenSSL - a library for encrypting and building a secure (SSL/TLS) client-server connection - i.e. between the user's computer and cPanel, to generate and install SSL certificates, to encrypt email correspondence and more.

  • OpenSSH - provides secure remote access mostly via a secure console and secure file transfer via Secure Shell (SSH) protocol.

  • MySQL and PostgreSQL servers - provides customers with the ability to use database applications (CMS, Shopping Cards, Blogs ...).

Each web hosting user gets access to a control panel (cPanel) from where they manage their domains, email accounts and files.

On the other hand, cPanel itself is managed by WHM (Web Host Manager).

WHM sets the values of all the parameters of the different web hosting plans and, depending on the web hosting plan, the user gets access to a control panel with more or less features.

Additional Applications

The PHP, Perl, and Python programming languages are installed on the server, which are used by both server and user applications.

Additionally, modules and packages are added to a programming language to allow web hosting users to use a wider range of applications (such as PEAR and PECL PHP packages).

Here are some of the most commonly used applications:

  • ImageMagick - image processing software

  • PhpMyAdmin - a graphical (GUI) database management environment

  • Ruby, Ruby Gems, Ruby on Rails - a popular framework for creating websites and complex web applications.

  • R1Soft - backup software

  • CloudFlare - the most popular content delivery network (CDN) - consists of hundreds of Point of Presence (PoP). Depending on where the request is made to the web server, the response returns from the closest PoP and thus increases the site load speed significantly.

  • Softaculous - automatic installer of more than 300 web applications.

You will also find a large number of security applications such as: Let's Encrypt SSL, Two-Factor Authentication, IP Blocker, Mod Security, HotLink protection and more.

The web hosting users also can use applications to analyze website web traffic AwStats, to monitor CPU usage, to access server logs, to manage cron jobs, to manage the PHP version, to offer SEO and marketing tools and many others.

Conclusion

Now you understand that the hosting server is in fact a very complex machine where hundreds of applications work simultaneously and perform different tasks for a large number of web hosting users.

We have a team of experienced system administrators to manage all aspects of the server for you, while you can focus on the most important part of your web hosting – your web business.

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