What is a Webserver?
When you type the web address of any website in to the address bar of your web browser, you immediately see texts, pictures, videos, music files and other contents in your browser.Have you ever wondered where all those things (like texts, pictures, videos and music files) that you often see in your browser are coming from???. Still dumbfounded? sorry let me ask a simpler question.
Have you ever downloaded a music file, video or picture file from any website to your computer or smartphone before? where do you think the music, picture or video file came from?.. from space right? lol wrong answer.
Sometimes we are also able to upload our pictures, videos, music files to a website and also write and publish posts/comments on websites that other internet users can see especially on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites. Have you ever wondered where those files are stored?.
For example if you type facebook.com in to your browser, this is what you will see on your screen.
Have you ever wondered where all those things (texts, pictures, videos and music files) that you often see in your browser are coming from??? or where the ones you uploaded or published to Facebook yourself are stored.
Ofcourse yes!!! but just like the question; who created God?, we often ask ourselves the question but don,t bother about looking for answer for the fear of headache lol. You are going to learn something new today.
Those contents are coming from a web server. Thats where the contents of every website is stored.
Web servers are special computers with a very large disk space. They were specifically designed to store website contents and also serve the web contents to internet users when requested.
The contents of every website must be stored on a webserver computer in order for the internet users to access them on the world wide web.
As the name “server” suggest, they were specifically designed to store and serve website contents (web pages) to web browsers. Every web server computer uses a web server software ( like Apache) and a database software ( like MySQL) that makes it possible for it to effectively store and serve website contents (web pages).
Its funny that even though web servers play a very big role in the World Wide Web, very few internet users know about it. What we all know about is web address (domain name) and a web address play just a little role in the World Wide Web.
A web address (www.facebook.com) is just the address of the web server (the facebook web server) where the contents (web pages and files) of a particular website (the Facebook website) has been stored. The web address of a website tells a web browser the specific location of a particular web server hosting the web content (files) of a particular website, so that your web browser can effectivly request for web pages (belonging to that website) from a web server computer. In otherwords, it is the address of a site on the World Wide Web where the contents of a webmaster or blogger has been stored. This web site is called web server. What we popularly called web sites are webservers.
How a web address (domain name) and a web server work together.
When you type the web address of a website in to your browser, a request for the website content is sent across the Internet to a special computer known as a web server (which hosts the contents of the website) by your web browser.
For example if you type the web address of Facebook (www.facebook.com) in to your web browser, a request for the Facebook content will automatically be sent to the Facebook webserver (which hosts the content of the Facebook website). Once the Facebook webserver receives a request from your browser, it will immediately send the requested content to your browser and you will now be able to view the contents (web pages) of the Facebook web server (popularly known as the Facebook web site).
A web site can be perfectly described as a place on the World Wide Web (the virtual world) where the contents of a particular individual or company has been stored for public access. That place (web site) where their contents are stored for you (an internet user) to be able to access it through a web browser, is called Web Server. The Facebook web site is the place (site) in the World Wide Web where the contents of the Facebook company has been stored so that the internet users can access it through their web browsers.
Web servers (which store and serve the web contents of websites to browsers) are constantly connected to the Internet and are always on (never turned off) in order to respond to the numerous request for web pages 24/7/365 from internet users world wide. A web server can serve web contents to even billions of web browsers simultaneously (at the same time) and within seconds. Its a super computer.
Somebody may likely want to ask; but how much does a web server cost?
Webservers computers are very expensive (they cost not less than $50k). Due to the above fact, they are usually owned by big websites like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, WordPress, Twitter, Amazon and the web hosting companies.
Taking in to consideration how expensive web server computers are, a would-be webmaster or blogger may likely want to ask; so if i don,t have $50k to buy my own web server computer, does that mean i will never become a webmaster or a blogger?.
Hell no! even if you can,t afford a webserver computer, you will still be able to become a webmaster or a blogger, thanks to the existence of numerous webhosting companies (web hosts) that provide very affordable web hosting service.
The Web hosting companies (web hosts) are E-commerce websites that make money online by renting out small storage spaces (hosting spaces) on their own web server computer to the would-be web designers or bloggers who can,t afford their own personal webserver computer so that they can also store the contents of their websites and make it accessible to the internet users.
The web designers who can,t afford a web server computer, can rent a space on the webserver computer of a web hosting company who charge a small fee (about $5 per month) to host or store their website contents on their servers.
The picture below illustrates that all the contents of the 5 websites are stored on the Hostgator.com webserver. In case you haven,t heard, Hostgator is currently the most popular webhosting company. All the website owners or bloggers whose web contents are stored on the Hostgator webserver has to pay $5 every month to Hostgator as hosting fee (the rent for their hosting space). I also rented a hosting space for my blog from the Hostgator webserver. That,s where all the web contents like texts, pictures, music files and other contents you often see/download from this website are stored. Whenever an internet user types my web address in to his/her browser, the Hostgator webserver will serve the contents (web pages) of my blog to their browsers.
Simply put, this is what a hosting company does; they will rent the web designers (bloggers) a small space on their massive computer servers for them to store their web contents so that the internet users can access their website. They will have to pay the hosting companies a fee per month to host, or store, their web site contents on their server.This service is called web hosting. So the web masters who can,t afford a webserver computer, can pay for a web hosting service and make their web contents accessible to the internet users.
Nowadays, there are lots of web hosting companies. The popular webhosting companies include; Hostgator, Godaddy, BlueHost and Webhosting Hub. So if you don,t have $50k to buy a webserver computer for your website, that doesn,t mean you can,t become a webmaster or a blogger. You can simply rent a storage space (hosting space) for just $6 per month from a web hosting company and store your web contents.
Once you have rented a hosting space from a web hosting company it can take you just 15 minutes to create a beautiful and fully functioning website or blog with the WordPress blogging software even without any basic knowledge about web designing or graphic designing. I have written a step by step guide that will enable you to create a beautiful and fully functional blog within 15 minutes with the WordPress blogging software.