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Web Site Hosting

There are several types of servers that we interact with on the internet:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISP) provide a connection to the web of wires, fiber optics nodes and servers that make up the internet.  A business or an individual would normally contract with an ISP for services and then connect to that ISP via a modem, cable or DSL connection.  Frequently an ISP also provides mail servers and web hosting servers.

    AOL and EarthLink are very large ISPs with the advantage that they have local phone numbers allowing access from most locations in the U.S., however, there is a smaller ISP also providing nation-wide access that is half the price, namely, Copper.net
  • Web Hosting Servers, also known as "presence providers," have storage space like a library where internet web pages are stored.

    A person "browsing the web" would connect to their ISP, then activate a browser like Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla Firebird, or Opera on their computer.  The browser sends a request for a specific web page or web site out thru the ISP's connection to the web hosting server that hosts the desired page.  The reqest is formatted as a Universal Resource Locator (URL).  For example, the URL for this web site is http://www.webbypros.com.  A set of directories (Domain Name Servers) act like a telephone directory to route the request to the correct web hosting server.  The web hosting server responds to the person's request by formatting a page that the browser can read.

    Pages on the web hosting server are typically stored as HyperText Markup Language (HTML) documents, but they are transmitted back to the person's browser using HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).  The person's browser displays all the text and graphics sent to it and awaits another request.
  • Mail servers send and/or receive email.  In addition to a browser a person would typically use an email program such as Outlook Express, Eudora, Pine or Mozilla Thunderbird.  When these programs send mail using POP3 protocol and receive mail using SMTP the mail server is just a mail transport facilitator; if the mail is stored in folders on the mail server, these programs would use the IMAP protocol.  AOL, Yahoo and many other services provide "web-based" email that is accessed via your web browser instead of an email program.
  • DNS Servers provide the look-up capability to transform a URL or an email address so it goes to the correct server as designated by an IP (Internet Protocol) address.  Web Hosting Services usually provide these addresses although not always.  Two are required, so if a hosting service only has a single server, they will need to somehow acquire at least access to a second DNS server. If you buy a domain name from GoDaddy.com

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