What is web hosting and why do I need a web host?

August 23rd, 2011 → 9:00 pm @ // No Comments

Every web site MUST have a “web host” so your site can be found on the Internet.

What is Web Hosting?
Basically, web hosting is “leasing” disk space on a web server. This space is where your web site files and folders live for the world to view. The web server may also contain email and database hosting depending on your web hosting plan.

Why do I need a Web Host?
Web hosting companies have the facilities and resources to provide fast, reliable web hosting that many individuals and businesses do not have (expert staff, security, power back-up, multiple internet connections, back-up servers and parts, etc). Leasing web hosting space is very cost-effective with basic web hosting plans starting at pennies a day.

How does Web Hosting work?
Joe, a guy in Des Moines, Iowa, wants to visit a web site: www.google.com.

  • First, Joe opens his favorite Internet browser and types in www.google.com.
  • His computer connects to the Internet and says that he’s looking for the domain www.google.com.
  • Joe’s computer sends his request to a DNS server and it finds the Name Servers for www.google.com.
  • The Name Servers tell Joe’s computer the IP address of the web server.
  • Joe’s computer contacts the web server (in Mountain View, California) and asks for www.google.com.
  • The web servers replies: “Ok. That web site is located in this hosting space on my server. Here’s the site and have a great day!

You could think of it this way:
Jane, a gal in Des Moines, Iowa, wants to send you (an Ames, Iowa resident) a LETTER in the mail.

  • First, Jane writes a letter and addresses the envelope to your P.O. Box.
  • The Des Moines, Iowa post office reads the address and routes the envelope to the Ames, Iowa post office.
  • The Ames, Iowa post office gives it to the correct postman for delivery.
  • The postman delivers the envelope to your P.O. Box.

Without your P.O. Box (or web hosting space) and the post office (or Internet), the letter would not be delivered to your address (or web site).

I hope that wasn’t too confusing. I tried to make a very complicated subject simple

Check back for a future blog on how to choose a web host.

— Iowa Web Guy

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