Difference Between Host and Server [Ultimate Guide 2024]


Many use the terms ‘host’ and ‘server’ interchangeably. This guide clears up the ambiguities surrounding the difference between host and server.

What Is a Host?

According to the internet host definition, a web host (or web hosting) is a service that allows individuals or organizations to post a web page or website on the internet. A web host service provider is a business that provides the services and technologies needed for a web page or website to be available on the Internet.

Websites are stored or hosted on servers, which are known as special computers. If an Internet user wants to reach your website, they need to type your address into the browser, and their computer will connect to your server and deliver your website to them through the browser. Many hosting companies require you to have your own domain name to be able to host with them. If you don’t have a domain name, domain name registrars are available to obtain one.

Simply put, web hosting is the process of buying or renting space to house a website on the World Wide Web (WWW). Such content as CSS, HTML, or images needs to be housed on a server to be reachable online.

What Is a Server?

A server has a vital role in IT infrastructure. It’s a system or computer that connects internet users to your site from anywhere in the world. It provides data, resources, and programs to other computers over a network. Anytime computers share resources with client machines, they’re considered as servers.

A server provides information to other computers, and those computers are called clients. Client computers can be connected to a server through LAN or a WAN.

A network server is a high-powered computer designed to act as the central repository and provide different resources, such as hardware access, printer access, or disk space to other computers in the network. There are many kinds of servers; one server can be designed to do a single task or perform several tasks.

Difference Between Host and Server

Each website on the internet is located on a server somewhere in the world. A host is a company that organizes a seemingly limitless number of servers and will add your website to a server (for a price) that they own.

A computer network is a set of devices put together to communicate and share resources. The host and the server are the two main terms in computing networking. The host (or node) is a device that connects to the network that enables the users to access a website via the internet. The server provides various facilities for the other devices on the network—for instance, a file server manages and stores the files in the network.

To function efficiently and effectively, both server and host require a network.

Connection Method Functionality
Host Can connect to other devices using the Internet. The web host allows users to create and store content, such as a website or on servers.
Server Can connect to other devices using the Internet or Local Area Network (LAN). The server stores the files created through the web host.
NOTE: Google provides its users the stored data of websites from its large and powerful servers.

Key Takeaways

Web host (or web hosting) is a service that allows individuals or organizations to post a web page or website on the internet.
Websites are stored or hosted on servers, which are known as special computers.
A server is a system that provides resources, services, data, or programs over a network to other computers known as clients.
The host can connect to other devices using the Internet.
The server can connect to other devices using the Internet or Local Area Network (LAN).

Types of Servers

The many different servers are specialized in providing their own service. In today’s digital era, many applications and websites depend on different types of servers for their needs.

To understand the purpose of the specialized server, consider five of the most common ones.

Web Servers

What are web servers used for? Web servers are one of the most important and most widely used servers in today’s market. They run on websites, and their primary function is to process, store, and deliver.

A web server program uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) files to allow the creation of web pages. Dedicated computers and applications are also called web servers.

Common web servers include Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) servers, Apache web servers, and Nginx servers.

Mail Servers

A mail server is a popular type of application server, which stores, delivers, and moves mail over corporate networks (LAN/WAN) and across the internet. Mail servers obtain emails sent to a user and store the mail until requested by a client on behalf of said user.

How do you define mail server in computer terms? Whenever you send a message to someone, it first accesses a simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP), then identifies the address to which you want to send the mail, after which the mail transfers to the recipient. In other words, email servers serve as a virtual post office.

Database Servers

Just what are database servers used for? First, they help in providing such services as accessing and retrieving data from other computer databases. The access of the database server can be from the ‘front end’ running on the user’s machine or the ‘back end’ running on the database server accessed from the remote shell.

Database servers respond to various requests from clients by running the database applications. Frequent database server applications include Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, and DB2.

These types of servers can run independently of any architecture. They’re like a warehouse, where the data and information of the website are stored and maintained.

File Servers

How do you define file server in computer terms? This is a network that helps in the speedier transfer of stored files. It manages and stores all the files on a computer. Then, at the request of the users, it sends a copy of the file to another computer. Storing files provides fault tolerance solutions or easier backup rather than attempting to supply security and integrity for files on each device in an organization.

A file server shares the storage of such computer files as sound files, documents, photographs, databases, images, etc. These types of servers are generally used on the local network.

This is a primary type of server used frequently by organizations whose many users need access to more safely and conveniently stored files than on a personal computer.

Application Servers

The application server sits between the network and database, specifically designed to run applications. The server includes hardware and software that provides an environment for programs to run.

Application servers can be used to develop and run a web-based application. There are many different types of Application Servers, such as Java, PHP, and NET Framework.

The key features of an application server include data redundancy, high availability, data/application security, load balancing, user management, and a centralized management interface.

Types of Hosts

Web hosting has an important role in establishing website performance, availability, and speed. Consider these six host comparisons.

Shared Hosting

As the name implies, shared hosting means that your website is hosted on a server and is shared by other websites. It’s an arrangement where a few websites are stored on the same server. Shared hosting is suitable for smaller websites and beginners. You don’t need much technical knowledge or finances to utilize shared hosting—you’ll pay from $5.00 to $10.00/20.00 monthly.

Dedicated Hosting

According to the dedicated hosting definition, dedicated hosting gives you exclusive rental rights over a web server. This is considered the best choice in web hosting. When you have a dedicated server, it means that it belongs to you and you alone.

These kinds of hosts are typically reserved for enterprise-level websites with more than 100,000 visits per month. Its monthly price ranges from $70.00 to $130.00.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS hosting is in between a shared server and a dedicated server. With a VPS, your website will share one server with other websites, but the number of websites would be much lower. Although the primary server is shared, your website will have dedicated resources with a VPS.

VPS hosting is best for small- and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to have unexpected downtime on their website. If VPS hosting is suitable for your business, you can choose from the top VPS hosting solutions for 2021. Its price ranges from $30.00 to $80.00 per month.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting gained popularity in the technology industry in 2021. The cloud hosting definition claims that this type of hosting has multiple remote servers, and each server has different responsibilities. So, for example, if one server has a problem, the other servers on the network will pick up the slack and take over its duties.

Cloud hosting is best for large and medium business websites that are quickly growing. For example, if your website has more than 50,000 monthly page visits, you should consider a cloud plan.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is considered a subtype of hosting solutions because most hosting packages are likely to be managed. With managed hosting, the provider looks after the day-to-day management of the operating systems, hardware, and standardized applications.


Instead of retaining servers at a private or in-house data center, you can co-locate your equipment by renting space in a colocation center. The center will provide the IP address and cooling systems that your server requires, as well as the power and bandwidth.

Compared to a standard office server room, the colocation gives access to a higher level at a much lower cost. But with colocation, you’re left to your own device and expected to take care of the software, hardware, and services.

In considering these host comparisons, you simply need to choose a hosting plan that fits your needs. You can also check out the top WordPress hosting solutions, top-rated reseller hosting, best window VPS hosting, and most reliable eCommerce hosting.

NOTE: In 2020, the global cloud storage market was worth more than $61 billion, and it’s projected to grow to more than $76 billion in 2021.


What is the difference between server and host? Simply put, all websites on the internet are located on a server someplace in the world. A host represents a company that organizes many servers and will add your website to a server they own for a price.


What is a server in computer terms?

A server is a computer program (hardware or software) that provides service for other devices or programs called ‘clients.’

What is a server computer?

A computer server is a system/computer which provides data, resources, programs, or services to other computers (clients) over a network.

What is the difference between host and server?

The difference between host and server is that a host is a device (or computer) that connects to the network, while a server is a hardware or software device that provides services to other devices/programs in the network.

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