In one of my previous blog posts, I wrote about the different types of web hosting, and why making the right choice matters for both nonprofit organizations and businesses of any size. But a
question I get asked quite often (including this morning), is the question, “What is web hosting?” In this blog post, I will briefly explain what it is, and why it is a crucial part of your presence on the web.
Whenever I answer the question “What is Web Hosting,” I begin by explaining, in simple terms, the 3 costs of owning a website, which are:
This is the initial cost of building your website. A cheap website might be built for a few hundred dollars, and a really expensive site might go for five or ten thousand dollars or more. This is the design, functionality, and brand of your website.
- URL (Domain Name, or your website address)
This is the domain name of your website. Our domain name is “barredowlweb.com.” This is an annual (ongoing) cost of typically between $10-$30 per year.
- Web Hosting
(The point of this blog post)
The internet is not a magical, mystical place that is just “out there.” It is a system of highly complex networks, servers, and routers. Likewise, websites exist (are located) on very sophisticated (and very real, physical) servers.
Web hosting is the service companies (like us) provide to keep your website online. Highly sophisticated servers (with access to fast internet speeds) must be configured properly, monitored 24/7, and fixed whenever problems arise.
Most web developers and designers are not server administrators, and that is why you often times hire two different companies to provide these two very different services. Graphic designers are NOT server administrators, and server administrators are not designers!
Without a web hosting provider, your website would simply not work. The hosting provider is the last (but one of the most important) steps to making it available on the internet.