What is web hosting?
…. firstly, you’ll need to understand what a domain name is.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a human-friendly address for a computer connected to the internet anywhere in the world. For example, www.mywebsite.co.uk.
An IP address (Internet Protocol) is a series of numbers used to identify computers on the internet. Each IP address is unique to every computer on the internet, however, humans are rubbish at remembering strings of numbers, so domain names (e.g., www.rememberthiswebsitesname.com) are a more human-friendly way to help people remember the address of a website.
Think of a domain name as an address for a house. Instead, a domain name is an address for a computer.
How does web hosting work?
Most of us have used a computer to create a document, such as a Spreadsheet or Word document. We usually save these documents locally, and privately, on a computer. No one can view those documents unless they use that computer, or you share them by email or other methods. Even when a computer is connected to the internet, no one can access those files without you making them accessible via a computer network or via a computer, set up as a server, to allow access to those files.
Similarly, files (like documents) contain the code to make a website work. For people to view your website, a computer connected to the internet and configured to allow people to view those files is required.
When you type a domain name into a web browser, you send a request to another computer (web server) to view those files for that website.
Sounds simple, right? If you are still confused, keep reading for a more straightforward explanation of what web hosting is.
A simple explanation of web hosting services
In a nutshell, web hosting is the process of renting or buying space to house a website on the World Wide Web.
Web hosting can be thought of as the plot of land on which we can build a house, but how does web hosting work? We’ll use a simple analogy:
- You can’t build a house without a plot of land. (The web server which stores all the files that run your website)
- Without an address, you wouldn’t be able to find the plot of land. (The domain name to translate the IP address into human-friendly format)
- Without somewhere to build the house, how can it be built? (Without web hosting services, you can’t build your website)
- You also can’t build a house without tools and materials. (Web hosting services also provide you with the tools and materials you will need to build your website, so web hosts are like builders merchants too.)
- Likewise, a plot of land on its own might be a bit dull to look at. (Without files to display your website, then there would be nothing to see when people typed in your domain name)
- You can easily buy a plot of land and materials to build a house, but you might not have the skills and knowledge required to build it. If you don’t have the skills, then you’d need to employ an architect, builder, and other tradespeople to build the house for you. (The web hosting service does not build your website for you, so it’s often necessary to hire a web designer / web developer to develop your website for you if you don’t have the skills.)
- Finally, you can’t find that plot of land, and the house, without an address! (Without the domain name, how would anyone know how to find the website you’ve built on your web hosting service?)
I hope I have managed to answer the question, what is web hosting? You’ll find more helpful related articles below.