What Is Web Hosting?

You’re trying to figure out all the nuts and bolts of starting a new website and some of your early research mentions a required expense you’re not familiar with: web hosting. Obviously, you don’t want to spend any more money than necessary to get this website up and running, so before you think about shelling out some change for this “web hosting” people speak of, you want to know what it’s all about.

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Web hosting is on the shortlist of services every website must have before it can go live. To help you understand why it’s so important, we’ll explain just what it is and why it matters.

Web hosting is the service provided by businesses that run and maintain the physical servers all websites live on. If that sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, let’s back up and explain further.

For as much as we talk about the internet as though it exists in the ether—using words like ”cyberspace” and “the cloud”—in fact, the internet has a physical existence as well. Every website is made up of a collection of files and software.

As a website visitor, you see a finished product and don’t necessarily think about all the little pieces it’s made up of. But once you’re the one behind the website, it becomes clear how many different parts go into the whole.

All those files have to live somewhere. Web hosting companies own warehouses full of powerful web servers that store all the components that make up the different websites their customers run. Those servers both provide the space needed for file storage and the mechanism for making those files accessible to other viewers when someone clicks on a link to your website or types the URL into their browser.

Website hosting is one of those things that happen in the background. For anyone that simply browses the web and goes to sites as a visitor, there’s no reason to ever know or think about it. It’s only the people that run websites or work in an industry that requires understanding how the web works that a knowledge of web hosting comes into play.

For website owners, if you choose the right web hosting provider and plan, web hosting isn’t something you’ll have to think about much on a day-to-day basis. As long as you keep your account up to date, your web host should work seamlessly in the background and keep your website working for every visitor who wants to see it.
 

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