The Anatomy Of A Server

28th January, 2019 by

Are you familiar with the various server elements when choosing a web hosting package?

When faced with server specs, do you pause to research the technical information involved?

If the answer to both questions above is no, you’re not alone. Many newcomers to the hosting industry are confused by the jargon that accompanies web hosting decisions, which is why in this post, we will take a look at everything you need to know to make informed hosting choices. From GPU to Gbps, we have you covered.

The Basics

Anyone who purchases a web hosting package creates data to be hosted in servers located within data centers. These large warehouses are custom-built specifically for housing hardware in an optimal environment. Each data center is filled with cabinets of servers called racks. A server rack can hold up 42 servers, but what each server holds requires a bit more explanation.

Below you will see the various components that make up each server. From disks to storage, each device is a carefully constructed powerhouse of computing capacity, specially designed to keep your website online. Keep in mind that we could write a complete technical guide to each server element below. However, in an effort to make sound web hosting decisions, the information below will establish a solid technical foundation.


The motherboard is usually referred to as the main circuit board because it is connected to all other components included in the server. More than any other element, the motherboard IS the computer. All other elements encased in the server are tools to help the motherboard run more efficiently. The motherboard holds your server’s processor or CPU, memory, drive controller, and any other connected devices.

Network Connection

The network connection in a server is what allows your website to appear on the internet. It is a crucial component to appearing online. WestHost data centers are close to major internet hubs to ensure that your data is continuously accessible anywhere on the globe.


Your server processor is the brain of your web hosting solution. While the processor doesn’t control all aspects of server performance, it is usually the driving force behind system power. Processors are typically dual-core or quad-core, depending on how many processor cores are installed in the system. Additional cores typically equate to more processing power.

Power Supply

In each server, the power supply connects to both the local power grid, as well as to a backup power source in the event of an outage. Servers must have a continuous connection to power to maintain connectivity.


Each server holds up to 32GB of RAM shared between many users in a shared setting. In a dedicated server, a single user has access to all of the memory housed in the server. However, most web hosting users don’t need the full capacity of a server. They instead purchase a shared server package to keep costs low. Shared servers are split among many users to support many smaller websites and applications.

In web hosting packages you will often see disk space which is different from memory. Disk space is long term storage while RAM is short term storage. Larger amounts of RAM allow the system to run faster, while larger amounts of disk space store more data, usually in the form of databases. Which brings us to our next point: drives.


A server’s drive is where data storage takes place. The computer writes the information onto the disk within the drive. There are a few different types of drives, however, you will likely most commonly encounter hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state disk drives (SSD). In web hosting packages, you will see drives referred to as disk space. WestHost offers up to unlimited disk space in some packages due to our ability to add additional drives.

At WestHost, our focus lies in locating the best data centers to fill with top-of-the-line hardware. We custom-build our hosting solutions from the ground up to confidently bring you network connectivity and control. We’ve spent the last twenty years providing industry-leading web hosting to our clients, so start building your online empire with WestHost today.

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