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What does it mean when people "buy servers"?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Ken Burkstrum

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Posted November 19 2007 - 08:04 PM

I have a webhost that I pay $10 a month for. I'm not sure how it works all I know is I have a 250GB Hard Drive at their place that I'm able to upload and store things to and also I have a few hundred GB of monthly bandwidth that I can use before they lock the site. As far as I know, a server is just a box (usually small and thin that get stacked on those big towers) that has the typical specs home PCs do like processors, RAM and hard drive space. It confuses me when I see on webhosting sites that I can purchase dedicated servers for $100+ a month and I look at the specs and they are lower then even my second hand PC. Which confuses me about the function of a server (other then HD space) and how much power it takes to do how much work.

What is really a foggy area for me is I see sites (particularly forums) talking about how the site is running slower and they are working on buying newer better servers. They often phrase it as if they are buying those servers and putting them into their house/small office. From what I can tell this is done frequently for alot of independent websites that have alot of traffic. What I don't understand is if this is true, then how can they host their own websites on their own servers with such slow internet connections? If I were to get servers set up in my house there's still the problem of me only having a cable modem with a 512Kbps upload speed. I'm just not sure how it works and what I would look into if I ever needed a better solution or if my site ever started to slow down because too many people were visiting it (a proposed scenario).

The whole concept is very foggy to me thats why my questions probably appear fragmented.

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Tekara

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Posted November 19 2007 - 11:28 PM

It really doesn't take anything to serve simple html webpages. About the only time a web server needs to have any power is when you have large databases (like forums). Most servers tend to be older technology because it is more reliable, something akin to tried and tested. They also tend to be built of "server" grade parts which are supposed to be more stable than consumer grade parts.

You can get higher quality connections to your home if you're willing to fork out the money. Most service providers usually go up to at least a ms

However most of those websites do what is called "co-locating". They rent some floorspace at a place that has a very high quality internet connection and safeguards against fire/flood/etc and then place their own server in the location. It is generally a lot cheaper to go this route when connection performance is of concern.

When you rent from a webhosting company the premium price generally includes a service contract for the hosting company to keep that server online to the best of their ability. Which is in sharp contrast to co-locating where if the server crashes it's your responsibility to fix it.

Hope that answers some of your questions!
"Computers are a lot like air conditioners - they both work great until you open windows." -Anonymous
"The danger from computers is not that they will eventually get as smart as men, but that we will agree to meet them halfway." -Bernard Avishai

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Ken Burkstrum

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Posted November 20 2007 - 02:41 AM

Is it the internet speed the webhost is providing or the server that causes slow down on sites with a lot of traffic?

I imagine big webhosts have internet speeds in the GBs per second and that they cut each site a piece of that pie but I never notice any site stating that they offer faster internet connectivity for a higher price, only monthly bandwidth. If the speed they are dealing you isn't cutting it and getting a super connection in your own home and hosting isn't an option, is it a common practice to have them give you more bandwidth?

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted November 20 2007 - 05:39 AM

Ken:

Most web sites will buy space on a server with other sites until they get large enough to be on a dedicated server. Even then they will often have to have multiple servers to run the site. We run 3 servers. One for the database, one for the web side and one for images and mail.

Like Tekara said though if you are running an HTML site with nothing like a database that it is tied to you can get away with one server.

As far as the connection goes you can run a line to your house but by the time you do that you can get on a hosting site that will manage your hardware for you, provide you will a fast connection to the net and do this all at a cost that is cheaper than you managing it all yourself.

Parker

"I tried to get my medical records from the company but they say they

are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."
 


#5 of 6 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted November 24 2007 - 03:51 PM

I use an old Pentium III at home as a music server. It doesn't require much computing power if all you're doing is sending files across a network or the internet, and I do access my music from home on my laptop when I'm on the road.

Most websites are on shared hosting, where many (200 or more) all share the same resources for serving the sites. The cheaper the plan, the more sites a company will cram onto a server.

Dedicated servers are just as their name sounds, dedicated to one company/website/function. You could use a dedicated server to host multiple sites of your own (good idea if you are a web developer and want to lock in your clients to your own hosting), or host a massive website or even just partial functionality of a massive website as Parker described.

Dedicated servers can be either rented or co-located, and generally you have full access over the server including root.

In between that you sometimes find virtual servers, which gives you the control you get of having a dedicated server, but on a limited shared server.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

Parker Clack

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Posted November 25 2007 - 02:33 AM

Joe:

What software do you use to access your music remotely from your PC to your laptop?

Parker

"I tried to get my medical records from the company but they say they

are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."