Understanding web hosting well is an important part of your training especially for establishing your online presence. If your goal is to start building websites professionally, are you looking for someone to build yours for you, or just want a better idea of how they work, answer the question “What is website hosting?” it is an important first step.
Nowadays, building a website is easier and more accessible than ever, but it’s vital that you know the basics at work.
First, let’s talk about how it works, followed by a look at some of the best web hosting services with notes on what you should expect from a provider.
Table of Contents
What is web hosting?
Definition of web hosting: Provides a safe place to store content online. The code, images, videos, and text that make up a website must be stored somewhere. Without a stable digital repository, none of us could consistently access content on the web. This makes hosting one of the most critical parts of developing an online presence for anyone from large companies to small-scale personal accounts.
Web hosting allows users to store content off-site, reducing local storage costs and the associated physical footprint. It also makes it easy to build a truly lasting web presence, with built-in benefits like backups for security and support.
Some web hosting takes place locally via personal computers or servers, but cloud-based third-party providers are used more frequently. Once you start looking for a hosting service, you should be able to find a wide range of both free and paid options to consider.
How can I get started with a website with simple web hosting?
To create a website, you will need to coordinate several steps, and choosing a web host provider is just one of them.
Register a domain – You’ll buy it from a domain name registrar like Domain.com, Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, or Google Domain, to name a few. Choose a unique name to make it easier for people to remember your IP address (which is just a string of numbers). It is much easier to remember “HP.com” than “22.214.171.124”, for example. The domain is the same no matter who purchases it, but the pricing differs for different services and add-ons.
Name Server (DNS): The domain name system is the go-between that directs visitors to your website to the correct IP address. Many times the same company will provide both your registrar and DNS services, but you can choose to use a different DNS if you wish. Some common ones are CloudFlare, OpenDNS, CleanBrowsing, and Google Public DNS.
Web hosting: The actual files that make up the website reside on a server managed by the web hosting company. Again, this can be the same company as your registrar and DNS server, or you can use a different one for this part of the process. We’ve delved into a couple of respected hosting companies below.
How does web hosting work?
Web hosting services work by maintaining stable and secure storage spaces. Although web hosts provide more than just data storage, it is a key part of their functionality. Hosts store data on hardware called a web server, which allows for easy maintenance and access by online users.
Without large enough host capacity and proper maintenance, websites could behave erratically. This creates a more time-consuming process for your site visitors, which in turn impacts the sales of your business and deprives your audience of information.
There are ways to build your own web servers with PC software, but the costs may actually be higher than with a dedicated facility and provider. That’s why most users rely on a third-party service that can guarantee certain features and services 24/7.
Businesses can choose to host their own website to keep everything on-site, with a significant investment in servers and manpower. This makes sense for large companies. For small and medium-sized businesses, however, third-party web hosting providers are a much cheaper route.
The benefits include continuous accessibility for users, stronger security against hackers, routine maintenance, and technical support for you when unexpected problems arise.
In any case, remember to purchase an SSL certificate for data protection within your web hosting.