Internet ABCs: What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is kind of like regular hosting…right?

Most people have probably heard of web hosting but don’t exactly have the know-how to differentiate it from any of the other things that happen on the internet. We understand.

The internet is a fast-moving place, and it can be hard to keep up, even with the basics. Web hosts, domains, servers, IP addresses, blah, blah, blah. 

You probably just want your internet to work, your site to be fast, and people to visit your page. That’s all that most folks want for their website.

But it doesn’t hurt to get to know a bit about all of these extra monthly or annual payments that you’re making to keep your website online.

Here, we will go over the differences between some of these abstract terms and put a face to the name, so to speak, to answer the question: “What is web hosting?”

It’s time to learn the basics.

Misconceptions: Domain Names

It’s easy to confuse all of the wacky internet terms with each other these days. If you’re creating a website for the first time, you are susceptible to a barrage of decisions relating to web hosting and domain names.

What Are Domain Names?

This is where the greatest confusion lies. Many beginners get domain names and web hosting confused.

The domain name is the thing that a user types into to the address bar to get to the website that they’re looking for. The easiest analogy is to compare your website to a building, and the domain name is the address of the building. House number, street name, city, etc.

A History Lesson

The history of domain names is a fascinating one. In short, it went like this…

In the early days of the internet, what we now know as a web domain would have consisted of a series of numbers to identify it; known as an IP address.

Eventually, everyone realized that there had to be an easier way to do this. Could you imagine trying to remember a bunch of seemingly random numbers to type in to get to google? Horrible!

So, the Domain Name System (DNS) was created. The domain name would have two parts; a name and a purpose. For example, let’s say there was one online bookseller back in early¬†internet days, so their domain would have been “books” and their purpose was commercial, so they got a dot com. It was that simple.

When a domain name is typed in, it is translated to the IP number of the computer, or server, and there you are at your web page.

Today, there are over 330 million domain names. That’s a lot. Are there enough servers to house that many independent domains you may ask?

What Is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is where all the information from your website is stored on the internet. After reading the last section, you may have wondered if ALL web pages still have individual IP addresses…

In the Beginning…

The answer to that question is no. When you pay for a web host, you are paying to use their server, aka their IP address, and that is where your domain is then located. Every website requires a web host.

In the beginning, individual computers with individual IP addresses made up the whole of the internet. As internet commerce became more of a thing, the number of web domains multiplied so larger companies would sell off their extra server space to smaller companies, and web hosting was born!

Web Hosts In 2019

Today, web hosting is a huge industry by itself. Anyone that wants to start a blog or a website for their company needs to go through a web host. That is more than likely the first thing they’ll come across when finding out how to make a website.

Web hosts handle all of the technical stuff that the average person has no interest in dealing with. You find a hosting company, choose a plan and a domain, and off you go.

There are different types of service that web hosts will offer nowadays, depending on your adeptness to website creation.

What Kind Of Service Should I Get?

If you’re lacking the technical ability to build a website from the ground up, you will probably want Website Builder hosting. Website builders will provide you with a drag-and-drop style interface to put your site together, and then host it when you’re satisfied with the results.

With shared hosting, you share a server with other website owners and all of the server’s software. This is a cheaper option because any number of people can share the server, but can also result in slow service.

If you require a server to yourself, you’ll want dedicated hosting. It’s expensive, but you’ll have more resources and security.

There’s a fourth type of web hosting called “collocated hosting”, and is when you own your own server and house it at a web hosts facility. This would be for larger businesses.

For small businesses and independent use websites, you won’t need to go over the top with your web hosting package. The best way to determine the most suitable plan for you is to do a bit of research and shop around at different web host websites. Check out this site to read more now about web host selection.

Time To Start Your Website

Now that we’ve figured out what domain names are and answered the question “what is web hosting?”, it’s time to start your new website.

Picking a memorable domain name might take a while though, remember that there are 330 million unique domains that are already live. Just be creative and take your time, it’ll come to you eventually. After that, choose the best web host for you with the knowledge you gained today!

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