Let's clear up some misconceptions about mining. Most Bitcoin users don't mine! Bitcoin mining is a business and very competitive`. Mining makes sense either if you do it for fun and don't care if you make less than you invest, or if you can do it very efficiently.
If you want to get Bitcoins based on a fixed amount of mining power, but you don't want to run the actual hardware yourself, you can purchase a mining contract .
During mining, your computer runs a cryptographic hashing function (two rounds of SHA256) on what is calle