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If you ever had to point to a physical object and say, "There is the Internet," you would end up pointing to a squat, undistinguished electronic box known as a Web server. Inside would be a series of narrow, horizontal or vertical components and some basic hardware that look a lot like the guts an ordinary PC, stacked like stereo equipment in metal rack and cooled by lots of tiny fans.
It's those slices of technology that listen to the thousands, sometimes millions, of simultaneous requests to see a given Web page, decide how quickly to respond, then administer the resources it takes to make Web e-mail, a favorite shopping site or your own company's home page appear on those distant screens around the world.
Many small businesses outsource the work of buying, maintaining, updating and administering Web servers, but there are good reasons, too, to buy and own them. Covered in this guide:
1. What Web servers do and what Web servers do not do for you
2. Buying and using Web servers for hosting
3. Web server software options
4. When to avoid Web servers entirely and use Web server hosting
It can get confusing on the buying side if not really sure what you need. For instance, a "server" can mean any central computer that controls data shared by several individual users on ordinary desktop computers, for managing e-mail or storing company-wide files, for instance.
Web server vendors and Web servers by brand at Business.com.
Web servers have been shrinking over the decades. The first was much like a large-ish PC, while the latest iteration -- known as a "blade" server -- allows for vertical stacking of many blades since memory, cooling, power and other functions are separate and built instead into the enclosure.
rack Web servers and blade Web servers at Business.com.
Web servers are really just hardware, plain and simple. What makes Web servers run, in fact, is software that interprets the commands from around the Web and manages your Web site's pages.
Making the choice to buy, operating and maintain a Web server is not to be taken lightly. At minimum, your company will have to have compelling reason -- information security, proprietary Web services, paranoia, whatever -- to justify the ongoing expense.
dedicated Web servers at Business.com
Do you need quality virtual server hosting? A virtual server is one accessed online instead of stored within a place of business itself. The advantage of this is that you do not have to purchase the hardware and you do not need the space to store and keep the servers cool. In addition often companies that specialize in online server capacity will have available more server space than a company would be able to host on their own.
You have quite a few options as you search for a virtual server host. There are a few things you will want to keep in mind as you make your decision. The amount of server space required is the main concern, and this can vary a lot from one company to another. You also want to be sure the host is reliable and has a reputation of excellent service. Price is always a concern and this will vary quite a bit according to the amount of server space you need and the company you rely on for hosting.
It's always a good idea to carefully review your options. Business.com provides links that may help you find the virtual server you need.
View the links to the left to find out more about virtual server hosting.
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