When looking into the online industry, many terms and phrases are often thrown around without the appropriate knowledge, often leading to them becoming misconceived and mistaken for others. Going further in-depth into getting a website online, several steps need to be completed to make it possible, two of which are often confused for each other – a web server and a web host. 

So that you have the very best understanding of the terms, the talented team at catalyst2 have created this guide covering the differences by explaining what each term means and some important details about the two. 

What is a web server?

Starting with web servers, they are fundamentally a machine that offers services to other machines. Making it more appropriate towards the internet, it’s a powerful computer that runs software so that content requests from the world wide web so that it can be transferred to the client requiring the information. 

  • Can you run your own web server?

Yes, you can, but in reality, unless you are very tech-savvy, it’s not worth the hassle. A simple set-up requires a dedicated computer for your server, a domain name and a way to direct your domain name to the server. Although this does offer benefits for the smaller requirements such as gamers or small bloggers, it’s never ideal for businesses that expect a continuous flow of traffic. There are also a wealth of security and maintenance tasks that need to be maintained, all of which are a large hassle, and expensive to manage. 

  • Can you lease a web server?

If you have decided not to run your web server, which is probably best, then you will be pleased to hear that there are endless numbers of companies that offer web server packages. For reference, there are several types of web servers which are designed for specific purposes, for instance, if you expect a wealth of traffic, it’s recommended to look toward dedicated servers. 

What is a web host?

Web hosting on the other hand is required so that websites and webpages can be visible online. Where they often get confused is because all of the data from hosting, storage and all else are stored within web server where their process has been discussed above. It’s worth noting that it’s vital that you have a domain so that the web hosting is possible, otherwise it’s near enough impossible for web visitors to be able to identify and reach the website. 

  • Can you host your own website?

Fortunately for those who have already organised a web server, web hosting is a little less challenging to set-up by yourself, but it’s still not advised. Unlike web servers, you won’t need any extensive software, but you will still need the technical knowledge and expertise to operate the correct software, as well as having a static IP address with a stable internet connection. 

  • Are there web hosting service providers?

Once again, if you prefer not to go through the hassle of hosting your website, for very small fees you can set-up monthly plans with web hosting providers. Start from as low as £2 a month, you won’t have to worry about all of the issues regarding the set-up, maintenance and after-care of web hosting, leaving you to focus on making your website as great as it can be. 


For those that are now keen on speaking to a web hosting provider about the opportunities available, look no further than the experts, catalyst2. With over 20 years of experience, our team has the very best understanding of managing a web server and hosting to the very best standards, enabling us to become known as one of the best web service providers in the UK. 

If you wish to speak to one of our friendly customer service advocates about our specific requirements, we suggest giving us a call today on 0800 107 7979. Alternatively, we are also available via email – simply send your message and contact details to sales@catalyst2.com, where you can expect a reply within a single working day.