So, what is a web server?

  • 10 August 2023
  • Reading time: 8 min
  • Hosting

While we've already explained what a server is, understanding web servers is essential ... A web server plays a crucial role in putting your website on the internet. If you're planning to launch your own website or web shop, it's important to know a little more about it. So if you like to get started well-informed, it's worth reading on.

Web server: definition explained

We try to explain the definition of a web server as clearly as possible. Here we go! A web site is placed on a web server so that your site (including all web pages, images, videos ...) is available to Internet visitors.

A web server, usually owned by a hosting provider, thus ensures that your website or other application is online and can be used on the worldwide web. Web servers do this through what are known as HTTP protocols. Data is sent via HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) from the web server to the end user's web browser. HTTPS, by the way, is the best way to do that with a secure connection.

Therefore, the web server acts as an intermediary between your user and your web content, allowing your user to view the desired web pages and use your website without problems. To make a comparison, a web server hosts the files and content of a website, while a domain name is the address through which people access that website.

Different types of web server software

To do their thing, web servers need software. Because it is web server software that allows web pages, images, videos and other files to be hosted and offered via the HTTP protocol.

There are different types of web server software. Here at Combell, we recommend that you work with Apache, LiteSpeed or Nginx. The latter option is a flexible server solution with high performance and high stability.

There is no harm in comparing the different types of web server software. Each software has its own features and performance options. They run on different operating systems such as Linux, Windows and macOS.

In-house expertise

Apache, Nginx ... The hosting experts on our Performance Team can't keep quiet about it. 😉 They give you specific advice on how to boost your website or app, without wasting money on extra servers.

So, you can be sure that, if you choose Combell as your web server(s) provider, you are partnering with the market leader that has all the know-how!


Combell Boost is an easy way to improve the performance of your website. Our tests show that LiteSpeed (Boost) increases the performance of websites and apps by 20% to even 30%. WordPress websites in particular benefit greatly from it. You just need to activate the option through your control panel and install a simple plug-in for your CMS or framework. You can also add it to your shopping cart when placing a new order.

How does a web server work?
How does a web server work?

Benefits of web servers

Delivering web content, making sure potential customers can use your website ... It all seems so obvious that we don't think about the importance of a good server. However, the benefits of web servers should not be underestimated.

A web server even contributes to the success of your website or web shop. Stability, security and performance are therefore the three basic pillars of Combell's hosting offer.

  • Always online

A web server owned by an experienced hosting company offers reliability and stability. This way, you minimize downtime and your website is always online and available to visitors. This is a good thing, because websites that are constantly down, do not make customers happy.

  • High performance

A good web server is optimized for high performance, allowing your websites to load faster. Take it from us: fast load times are crucial for keeping visitors on your website and improving your search engine optimization (SEO). Therefore, choose hosting with web servers that can handle large amounts of traffic without sacrificing speed.

  • Scalability

A (local) web server is scalable and can grow with the needs of your web site. Web servers must be able to handle increases in traffic and users without sacrificing your performance.

  • Security

With a good web server, you can protect your web site from all kinds of cyber attacks. Think SSL certificates, use of firewalls, regular software updates, 24/7 monitoring ... Security is essential to protect your website users' data and privacy.


Not every hosting company pays optimal attention to cyber security. Combell does. In order to optimally protect your data, we try to block as many attacks as possible beforehand. This way, your application remains completely unaffected. Read more about our different actions.

Hosting your own web server vs. managed hosting

Planning to create your own website? You can, through user-friendly tool such as SiteBuilder and Site Assistant at Managed WordPress. Maybe you're thinking about hosting your own web server. Setting up, optimizing, maintaining a web server ... It can't be difficult, can it? 😀

Think twice anyway! Because hosting your own web server involves a lot of work. You have to provide your own hardware, download web server software and have a stable network. Just like you have to choose your own server operating system.

Besides a lot of time, you also need technical knowledge. Because you are responsible for the security, updates and complete maintenance of your web server. Piece of cake for you? Then, discover the possibilities Combell has to offer in terms of VPS, OpenStack and Unmanaged cloud.

Managed hosting provider

For those who prefer to outsource extra jobs, often accompanied by the necessary IT headaches, to a reliable partner, there are managed hosting providers. 🙂

A managed hosting provider not only takes care of the hardware (the servers), but also its management (including security, updates and maintenance). This is a big difference compared to unmanaged hosting where you yourself still have work to do.

There are several external hosting providers. Think of international cloud providers such as Google, Amazon web Services and Microsoft Cloud. Yet local managed hosting providers have strengths you should consider. Those assets are all major advantages that you don't have if you do everything yourself.

  • Local servers

Our data centers are located in the Benelux. This immediately ticks off one of the conditions of the European data protection laws (GDPR).

Moreover, fire safety is monitored by special measuring devices and extinguishing installations with industrial argon gas. No fire, power failure or natural disaster can stop us from keeping your business-critical data available always-on on our cloud servers.

  • Support in your own language

As our managed hosting customer, you always have access to our premium support. By phone, email or chat, you are in direct contact with our experts who know your IT environment inside out. And all in Dutch, French or English.

That's a big difference compared to foreign providers. They often work with a ticketing system via e-mail. You then get a number and end up in a queue waiting until a help desk employee has time to solve your problem.

One of our main services, is providing quality support.
One of our main services, is providing quality support.
  • Fastest hosting

With Combell, you are not only sure that your hosting is 100% secure and always on. But we dare to say that we offer you the fastest hosting on the market. And you need it: a slow website is just as bad as a website that is offline.

We offer you the fastest web hosting on the market.
We offer you the fastest web hosting on the market.
  • 24/7 monitoring

We monitor your managed environment continuously. And if we notice a possible failure, we intervene proactively. Because downtime can cost you a lot of money. And how much? You can calculate that very quickly with this Downtime Calculator.

  • The best hardware

A local managed hosting provider such as Combell uses modern, state-of-the-art equipment that is powerful and durable. But it is equally important that the servers are correctly configured and adapted to the requirements of your project.

  • Reliable backups

If the worst happens and your system crashes completely, there is still no reason to panic. We have also thought about your Disaster Recovery: we start up a new server super fast, on which the most recent backup of your server-hosting environment is placed.

  • Ultimate cyber security

Local managed hosting providers spare no expense for the security of your web servers, with firewalls and encryption methods that our competitors can only dream of. Hackers don't stand a chance with us and your website remains available even during a DDoS attack.

Wie je website host heeft veel invloed op de snelheid van je website.
Who hosts your website has a lot of influence on the speed of your website.

"The load time of our web pages is almost four times faster"

Two customers, who recently made the move to the managed Combell infrastructure, entered the conversation about performance. Their answer goes far beyond mere gains in computing power. Thanks to a technical analysis, they went for a move to a new infrastructure tailored to their needs. Bottlenecks disappear and noticeably faster platforms are the result. To the satisfaction of their users.


Click this link to find out how your path to a tailored hosting solution goes if you choose Combell.

A strong hosting partner is essential

"For us, collaborating with a managed hosting provider is a matter of credibility. Our business is entirely online. A strong hosting partner is therefore essential. Our good reputation would completely disappear if our infrastructure fails," said SiteManager CEO Alexander Hoogewijs. "The loading time of our web pages is almost four times faster."

That other customer, Ruitershop Online, went from cloud hosting on Microsoft Azure to managed hosting from Combell. "The response times are already comparable or better than on the previous infrastructure, while the cost is much lower. And there is still room for improvement. The collaboration is really professional and customized, flexible and with great expertise," it says.

Tips for choosing a local managed hosting provider

The best hosting provider is the one that offers the service that best suits the needs of your business. We offer a few more tips that can help you choose a local managed hosting provider.

  • Compare Service Level Agreements

SLAs are additional guarantees on top of a hosting provider's standard service. Each Combell Service Level Agreement guarantees, among other things, 24/7 monitoring and proactive adjustments when needed. This way, we guarantee you optimal accessibility and solution guarantees with competitive response times.

Find out what guarantees are linked to our SLA packages.
Find out what guarantees are included in our SLA packages.
  • Check the contract terms

Read the contract terms carefully to make sure that all aspects of the hosting service, such as security, scalability and data limits, are correctly defined and also match your demand.

  • Evaluate technical capabilities

Look at the quality and reliability of the server infrastructure, such as hardware, network connectivity and data centers. Check that the managed hosting provider uses the latest technologies and security measures to ensure you optimal performance and protection.

In addition, it's not a bad idea to investigate whether the provider offers the technical capabilities you need, such as support for specific programming languages, databases or applications. A thorough evaluation of the infrastructure and technical capabilities will help you select a local managed hosting provider that can provide the required performance and flexibility for your web site or application.

Your web server at Combell

You do your business, we do ours! Thanks to our tailored hosting solution, you again have time to focus on what you are really good at. You no longer have to worry about your web server: we have it under control.