5 key factors to consider when choosing a web server

What is Server?

A server is a computer or software that provides services, resources, or data to other computers or networks. The definition of a server can be divided into the following two aspects:

1. A server is a computer that manages resources and provides services to users

The role of the server is to provide specific services for network users. The different types of services the server provides are divided into file servers (providing file access services), database servers, application servers, web servers, etc.

2. A server is a combination of software and hardware

The computer running the above software, also known as a host (network host), is a combination of hardware and software that can provide s resources, services or data available to other computers or programs network users.


Server functionality

An essential thing in cloud computing is the “Server.” It provides all the services to the clients, including Google search, Google map, Gmail, Google News, Google Drive, Google+ Social networking sites, Youtube and other services.

A server is very similar to web hosting. When a visitor wants to connect to your website, it must go through web hosting. For example, if a browser needs a file hosted by a web server, it must send a request for that file over HTTP. If the request has been sent to the correct (hardware) web server, the HTTP (software) server will accept the request, find the requested file (or return a 404 page if not), and return it via HTTP passed to the browser.

What is Server? Server functionality

Server Hardware

As hardware, a server usually refers to a computer with high computing power that multiple users can use. It has many similarities with the computers we typically come into contact with. The main hardware components still include the following several main parts: central processing unit (CPU), memory, chip group, I/O bus, I/O device, power supply, chassis and related software; compared with ordinary personal computers, the server needs to work continuously in 7X24 hours environment. This means that the server needs more stability technology, which has also become the primary indicator we pay attention to when purchasing a server.

The server hardware composition roughly includes:

  • Processor
  • Memory
  • Interface & Bus
  • Clock & Timer
  • Isolator
  • Power management

Server Software

Server software is quite similar to that of a personal computer. The operating system and application programs must be installed on the central processing unit (CPU). It facilitates harnessing underlying server computing power for use with an array of high-end computing services and functions. The following are the standard operating systems (OS) and application programs (APP) of the server:

Operating System (OS: Operating System)

The typical Unix series operating systems on the market include IBM-AIX, HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X Server, OpenBSD, NetBSD, SCO OpenServer, etc. Microsoft also launched the Microsoft Windows series operating system Windows NT Server, Windows Server 2000/2003/2008/2012, etc.

Application (APP: Application Program)

The function of the server is mainly determined by the type of application (software). Popular application servers include:

  • Domain Name System Server (DNS server): Bind9, etc.
  • Web server (Web server): Apache, thttpd, Windows Server IIS, etc.
  • Mail server (Mail server): Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange, Sendmail, Postfix, Qmail, etc.
  • NAT server: Microsoft WINS.
  • Proxy server (Proxy server): Squid.
  • FTP server: Pureftpd, Proftpd, WU-ftpd, Serv-U, etc.
  • Database server (Database server): Oracle Database, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft – SQL Server, etc.
  • File server (File server): Novell NetWare.
  • Application server (Application server): Bea WebLogic, JBoss, Sun GlassFish, etc.

Noted that we can install many different applications server software on the same hosting, and the host will have the functions of these servers simultaneously.

How to choose a server?

Choosing a server is similar to selecting a web hosting. The server can be a centralized server or a dedicated server. Generally, the following aspects are usually considered when choosing a server:

1. Manageability

Manageability refers to whether the management of the server is convenient and whether the application software is varied.

2. Availability

Availability is the percentage of time a server is usually available to visitors during a typical time. There are two considerations for improving availability: Reducing mean hardware time to failure and utilizing dedicated function mechanisms. Dedicated function mechanisms automate system or component switchover mechanisms in the event of a failure to avoid or reduce unplanned downtime.

3. High performance

This means that the overall performance index of the server is higher. The main requirements are high-performance indicators of running speed, disk space, fault tolerance, scalability, stability, monitoring functions and power supply. In particular, the performance indicators of the hot-swap performance of hard disks and power supplies and the adaptability of network cards are higher.

4. Scalability

Need to consider the scalability of the server to make the server upgrade smoothly with the increase of load to ensure the stable and safe operation of the server, the scalability of the server must be considered. Firstly, there should be sufficient space to increase the rack’s hard disks and power supplies. Secondly, the slots on the hosting should not only have a complete range but also have a certain margin.

5. Modular

Modularity means that the power supply, network card, SCSI card, hard disk and other components are modular. All have hot-swappable functions and can be maintained online, significantly reducing system downtime. In particular, the decentralized power supply technology enables each important component to have its power supply.


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