How a DNS Server (Domain Name System) Works
In this review, we will discuss what is a DNS server and how a domain name system works. The goal is to help you better understand the background processes that make websites and the internet work. On the internet, computers don’t network with each other using names like humans do.
Humans Use Names – Computers Use Numbers
Computers use numbers. That’s how computers and other similar devices talk and identify with each other over a network. Computers use numbers such as IP addresses. Humans, on the other hand, are accustomed to using names instead of numbers. Whether is talking directly to another person or identifying a country, place, or thing, humans identify with names instead of numbers.
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Helping You Understand The Internet
At Website Hosting Store, we want users to have a better understanding of how the Internet really works. To accomplish this, we will feature article and video posts to help you understand the internet and the various technologies and components which make it possible for you to have a website visible to the public. In the final analysis, we hope that helping you to understand these topics will make you more comfortable with us as a hosting company and lead to your decision to trust us with hosting your websites.
Turns Your Domain Name Into An IP Address
So in order to bridge the communication gap between computers and humans and make the communication a lot easier networking engineers developed DNS. DNS stands for a domain name system. A DNS server resolves or translates names to numbers. To be more specific a DNS server resolves domain names to IP addresses. So if you type in the web address https://websitehostingstore.com in your web browser, DNS will resolve the name, Website Hosting Store to a number because the only thing computers know are numbers.
For example, when you wanted to visit this website, you opened up your web browser and typed in the domain name of this website, or you clicked on a link somewhere that redirected you to this website. Either way, technically, you really didn’t have to type in websitehostingstore.com to retrieve the Website Hosting Store web page. If you knew the IP address of websitehostingstore.com, you could just type in the IP address, and you would be redirected to this website.
DNS – The Phonebook of the Internet
However, humans are not accustomed to memorizing and dealing with numbers in that way. Furthermore, there are millions of websites on the internet. It’s much easier for us to just type in the domain name instead and let DNS convert it to an IP address for us. So, back to our example, when you type websitehostingstore.com your web browser, the DNS server will search through its database to find a matching IP address for our domain name. When it finds the domain name, it will resolve that domain name to the IP address of the Website Hosting Store web site. Once that is done, your computer is able to communicate with the Website Hosting Store web server and retrieve the web page. So, DNS basically works like a phone book, when you want to find a number, you don’t look up the number first, you look up the name first then it will give you the number.
To break this down even further, let’s examine the steps that DNS takes. First, you type in websitehostingstore.com in your web browser. If your web browser or operating system can’t find the IP address in its own cache (stored) memory, it will send the query to the next level to what is called the resolver server. The resolver server is basically your ISP or Internet service provider (ATT, Comcast Xfinity, Verizon, etc.). When the resolver receives the query, it will check its own cache memory to find an IP address for websitehostingstore.com. If it can’t find websitehostingstore.com, it will send the query to the next level which is the root server.
The root servers are the top or the root of a DNS hierarchy. There are 13 sets of these root servers and they are strategically placed around the world, and they are operated by 12 different organizations and each set of these root servers has their own unique IP address. So when the root server receives the query for the IP address for websitehostingstore.com, the root server is not going to know what the IP address is, but the root server does know where to send the resolver to help it find the IP address.
TLD – Top Level Domain Server
So the root server will direct the resolver to the TLD or top-level domain server for the dot-com domain. The resolver will now ask the TLD server for the IP address for websitehostingstore.com. The top level domain server stores the address information for a top-level domains, such as.com and.net dot org and so on. This particular TLD server manages the dot-com domain which websitehostingstore.com is a part of.
When a TLD server receives the query for the IP address for websitehostingstore.com, the TLD server is not going to know what the IP addresses for yahoo.com. So the TLD will direct the resolver to the next and final level, which are the authoritative name servers. Once again the resolver will now ask the authoritative name server for the IP address for websitehostingstore.com.
Authoritative Name Server
The authoritative name server or servers are responsible for knowing everything about the domain which includes the IP address. They are the final authority. So when the authoritative name server receives the query from the resolver, the name server will respond with the IP address for websitehostingstore.com.
And finally the resolver will tell your computer the IP address for websitehostingstore.com and then your computer can now retrieve the Website Hosting Store web page. It’s important to note that once the resolver receives the IP address, it will store it in its cache memory in case it receives another query for websitehostingstore.com so it doesn’t have to go through all those steps again. You local computer does the same thing and store frequently visited web pages in your computer cache. It is a good idea to clear your local PC cache every few weeks to avoid your computer becoming confused and to keep it operating efficiently.
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Introduction to The Internet
To fully understand Web Hosting, we should start with a brief introduction of the Internet. So, what exactly is the internet or World Wide Web? You’ve heard the term Information Super Highway.
Servers and Protocols
Well, the internet is really made of servers. Think of servers as a more elaborate form of your home PC. A server has hardware (a physical computer) and software on top of it. And all these machines communicate between each other. To do this they use what are called protocols. For example, to see the website https://websitehostingstore.com, you’re using the https protocol. When you surf the web, you use the protocol http, https, or www. To send and receive email, you most likely use the SMTP, IMAP, or POP3 protocol. So, the internet or web is basically a bunch of machines running software that communicate between each other using protocols.
The obvious question then is, with all of these millions of things using these protocols, exactly how do you find things on the web? Well, the answer has a real world explanation. In the real world every one has a home or business address. Likewise, on the internet, every thing also has an address. Every site site pretty much has what’s called an IP address. This gets us back to protocols. IP Address means Internet Protocol Address. An IP address is like your street address, your zip code, your town, and your state.
The Internet and Numbers
The internet is based on numbers. It’s really a series of 4 numbers separated by dots that recognize or identify a unique website. Even your personal desktop or laptop computer machine at home right now is using a unique IP address to say where you are at. If you’re old enough to remember when computers were in their infancy, there were these big mainframe machines using punch cards with ones and zeroes. Well, so that we don’t have to remember these numbers, things have evolved.
Domain Names and Domain Name Server Resolution (DNS)
Now, we map names. These easy to remember domain names are mapped to the IP addresses we mentioned earlier. The mapping of these domain names to IP addresses is called the DNS resolution process. Consequently, when you type in Google.com, you end up on the Google page. When you visit Google to find out something, you’re really visiting an IP somewhere on a server on the web.
Why do you need Web Hosting?
Whether you are an a beauty consultant, an affiliate marketer, a restaurant, an attorney, or an upholsterer, you need a website in today’s world. You might get away without web hosting for a while. However, sooner or later, you will see the benefits of having a website. When you reach that point and decide to have a website, you will need to host that website somewhere. That is what is meant by web hosting. You will need to put your website on the internet so other people can see it. At that point, your website will be on server. It will have an IP address. And anybody can go there and see it. You need web hosting for a website and email.
Introduction to Web Hosting
What is internet hosting? What is web hosting? It’s basically a piece of the internet. You can think of it as your condo or your house or whatever… depending on the size, your mansion on the internet. It’s basically a slice of a server, hardware and software and network that you have on the internet that anybody can come and see.
Types of Web Hosting
What are the different types of hosting? You have basically 3 types of web hosting – plus a 4th that is kind of new.
First is shared hosting. Most people start out here. Shared hosting is pretty much a server that is divided into 100 or sometimes even thousands of pieces and every customer has a little piece of that.
Usually, shared hosting accounts are pretty cheap. Hosting companies usually put hundreds or, sometimes, thousands of customers on a shared server. Most people exist for years on a shared server without any issues whatsoever. You have no interaction with the other users whose websites are stored there. A risk can develop if one customer’s website overwhelms the the entire server. However, that is the exception, not the rule. When you establish you first website, shared hosting is the best solution. Many users host several of their websites on shared servers. As you learn more about web hosting, or your business expands significantly and you’re making a lot of money, you may want to move up from shared hosting.
The next type of hosting to consider would be a VPS or Virtual Private Server. A Virtual Private Server is divided a much smaller group of user – usually between 4 and 20 users. The separations between users are a lot stronger. It is very hard for one customer to bring down the entire server. But it is possible. Many users also host several of their websites on VPS servers.
Lastly, you have the dedicated server. A dedicated server is dedicated just to you. It is one server for you and your site or you and your multiple sites.
The most recent web hosting solution is known as Cloud Hosting. Cloud hosting is similar to Cloud computing. Cloud hosting can combine any or all of the other three hosting solutions. The key difference is that the web hosting is not attached to one machine but multiple machines. With cloud hosting, many machines in different locations can provide, share, VPS or dedicated web hosting. So you have one more layer of virtualization to separate the software from the hardware. With cloud hosting, typically, when one server goes down, it doesn’t impact you that much because the software is still running on the other servers in different locations.
VPS or Dedicated Server?
VPS solutions are typically more for non-critical things. Because a high-end VPS can cost as much as a dedicated server, as an advanced user making a solid income from your website or websites, you might as well go for a dedicated server. The dedicated server is for you if you want no risk from other neighbors. The only thing that could happen to you is a network issue with your provider or a hardware failure. In that case, they just change the hardware and you’re back up and running. The more money you spend, the less risk you have. The less money you spend, the more risk you have.
Shared Hosting Most Common
On a shared hosting account, which is fine for 99% of the sites out there, you have more risk. If you have a website that’s making $20,000 a month and, around Christmas, developer Bob decides to do some php and he’s a beginner and does some errors in his coding, it could potentially impact the full server. It might take the hosting company a couple of weeks to figure that out, figure out who is doing that problem, creating that problem. Meanwhile, your site is impacted around Christmas, and you might be losing a lot of money every day.
Selecting the Right Hosting
So, if your site is making a lot of money, you definitely want to be on a dedicated server. The more money your site makes, the more you want to spend on your web hosting. So what are the selection criteria you have? On shared hosting, it’ll be disk space, the amount of space for your website, and the network traffic you could use every month.
Typically, you don’t have to worry about that. When you are beginning, most programs will be plenty enough for your disk space and your bandwidth. When you get into a dedicated server, your choice, your parameters will be the amount of RAM, or random access memory. Also, the power of your CPU is important here as well. By that we mean the power of the server, the number of instructions it can execute for a second, the disk configuration.
Features offered by Web Hosting Providers
Another criteria for selecting your hosting provider will be the features. So php, MySQL, whatever specificity of your website, if you have some, you want to validate those against the hosting provider. Most of them will support WordPress, Drupal. You might want to check but usually, they will list that.
Cpanel is a Must
One thing that can be crucial is using the standard control panel. The industry standard is known as cPanel. If you’re considering hosting your website with a provider and that provider doesn’t offer you cpanel for your shared hosting, you should consider another hosting provider. Cpanel is what allows you to run the back end of you web hosting. If you’ve had a website hosted elsewhere, you ,most likely, had cpanel. One of the main advantages of cpanel is that it is standard. So, if you decide to change your host, it is easy to export your site and import it into another host using cPanel. Also, whatever company you choose, if they use cPanel, it’s the same interface to manage your backend. That means that you don’t have to learn a new interface each time you move to a new host. If someone tells you they have a control panel, it’s not necessarily cpanel. You should verify.
Another important factor in selecting a hosting provider is recommendations. Do you have a friend? Do you know somebody who has hosted elsewhere? If you recommend a company that you use, that recommendation is way more valuable than an advertisement you see on TV or on their own website.
Most times when you see managed server, it’s managed to a certain extent. You still need a webmaster or yourself to upgrade to a WordPress website or your Drupal website.
Problems Happen – It’s How they are Solved
Here are some final tips. If you see a company that’s not competent or you have to deal with the employee that’s not competent in that company, don’t waste your time. Get a different employee or move. As simple as that. There are plenty of good companies out there, plenty of people who are helpful out there. The other thing you should keep in mind is that in web hosting, as anything else, problems do happen. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad company. You might have experienced hardware problems on your PC. Well, a hosting company runs hundreds, if not, thousands of PCs. So problems do happen. It’s how they handle the problem that makes a difference. If a company doesn’t really care about it, if they take forever, if they don’t realize how critical it is to you or your business, then you need to move on. That’s why it’s important, once you become a professional affiliate, to nearly always have some stuff hanging around there that you barely use – a dedicated server you’re playing with, you’re experimenting with. So if something happens, you can move out of there quick. I hope this helps and you’re understanding web hosting.
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Quick guide to Web Servers
It really is quite clear that some people are unsure about web servers and why you need them. In this review we’re going to take a look at different types of web servers and the pros and cons of different web servers. We’re also going to explore the setup of web servers and how to use them. These posts are intended to help beginners better understand more about websites and how they operate. Afterall. if you’re going to have a website, you should know something about how it works. First, let’s go over a little history for anybody who isn’t quite sure just what a web server is.
Browsers and Site Addresses
When you type an address into a browser (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Microsoft Edge), that address tells your personal computer where you want to load a webpage from. It’s exactly like if you wished to search for a friend. You tell a taxi driver your friend’s address, and the taxi goes to your friend’s apartment building. When you reach your friend’s apartment building, then what? Your friend doesn’t just know you’re there, which means you use, and in this example, you talk with the doorman.
Tell the Web Servers Which Page to Load
The web server checks whether the file, or friend, is available. If so, it gives you the information you wanted, which your computer then downloads, and displays as a web page. You can, of course, load web pages without running a webserver. Without the doorman, you might be able to find the individual person you’re looking for, but you don’t necessarily know where they live. You might find them wandering a corridor, for example.
Web Servers Know Which Files are Connected
Production and Development Web Servers
In general, web servers fall into 2 categories. The first one is production web servers,. They are the web servers that all websites on the internet are hosted on. Development web servers are used off-line during the development procedure for sites that will eventually be transferred onto creation servers when the web site goes live.
Debug Mode – Creating Websites Off-Line
Because development web servers are used if you are creating websites, you’ll get a great deal of opinions about the code you are writing. This is called debug mode. During this process you learn things used to make your site run better. Whenever your website is live though, you don’t want to spend your time with all of this opinions from your server. Problems must have been fixed through the development process. Therefore, debug mode is generally disabled on creation servers making them run quicker.
Three Main Web Servers
NGinx Web servers
PHP and Apache Web Servers
Apache, on the other hands continues to be quick, but it is a lot more about pre-processing web pages. If you write a PHP website, the PHP document never actually comes back to your browser. PHP means Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a widely-used open source, general-purpose scripting vocabulary that is particularly fitted to web development and can be inlayed into HTML. PHP is one of the easiest server-side dialects out there for web designers. A lot of sites are designed with WordPress, a CMS (content management system) constructed with PHP. The file is actually simply a group of instructions that your web server must follow to create a website. It really is that generated web-page which is given to your browser. The fact that Apache is better at doing all of these pre-processing jobs makes it slower than NGinx.
Microsoft’s IIS Web Servers
Microsoft’s IIS is similar to Apache, in that it’s more about pre-processing than NGinx. However, the real reason people use IIS is because it’s a Microsoft product. That means that if something goes wrong, you can call Microsoft, and they’ll help you fix it. The same is not true for Apache or NGinx.
In the developmental web server world, we also have apache, NGinx and IIS. However, the settings are tweaked to be more useful for designers. There are also a LOT more specialty web servers out there. However, in order not to make this review more complex, we’ll end it here.
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