What Is A Web Hosting Service?
If you are new to web hosting (and you must be otherwise why are you reading this article!) you may not fully understand just yet how it all works or fits together. This, hopefully is where I will put the jigsaw pieces on the table and give you the picture on the box so that you can start to put it all together.
Web hosting was explained to me a long time ago as the land you build your site on in a property analogy and seeing as I came from a property developers background made sense to me immediately.
Your house would be your website that you build on a piece of land that you pay rent to a landlord each year and that is the hosting company. Your are free to move your house (website) if the landlord does not keep up the services he has promised to provide or you need to have bigger servers, better security or better continuity of service.
Now depending on how important your house is to you and how deep your pockets are you can rent different places for different prices. You would not expect to live in a penthouse if you only paid a few dollars rent per month but if you paid the money to get a penthouse you would expect much more security and space and uninterrupted service.
The reality of the situation is that your website is a bunch of electronic code that when put together properly looks amazing if you got your design right and will be visited by loads of your prospective audience if you get your SEO and online marketing right.
The electronic data takes up space to hold all the text, images, code, etc and this would be what you will physically give your hosting company to put onto their servers and for them to keep this information available for anyone who wishes to view your site.
If your site (room) is quite small then you will share a server with many other people just like in an apartment block. If your site is larger (house) then you might share with fewer people like on a block. Occasionally you will need to have a dedicated server all to yourself as the size or security of your site demands it and this would be like owning your own estate.
Part 2 can be found here…What Is A Web Hosting Service? Part 2
Who Needs Web Hosting?
Web Hosting is an essential piece of the puzzle that gets your web site in front of your visitors. The web hosting is usually provided by dedicated companies who allow you to rent space on their servers. The servers are just specialized computers that store your web site’s files and allow them to be accessed by your site visitors.
So if you want to get your web site, blog or e-commerce store seen by the masses you will need to set up your web hosting. When you consider as of December 2012 there were 634 million websites registered offering at least 4.12 billion pages, you get some idea of the scale of the web hosting industry.
Web Hosting companies offer their services all over the world and you may well think that it doesn’t matter where your site is hosted seeing as the world wide web is well… world wide! But as sites load faster and faster every little bit that you can do to help those page loading times will count more and more. So picking a web hosting service closer to where you expect the majority of your visitors to be located would be a sensible move that many do not consider.
Another option to achieve the same goal is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). These have recently shaken up the world of web hosting, allowing you to host your site’s files across several servers in different locations and results in a better distribution of loads and faster page load times. Especially of interest for sites with high media content and a high number of visitors.
As the Internet has grown and the world of web hosting has grown with it, the service provided by the hosting companies has meant the need for specialist skills and knowledge has faded away. Running your own web site now is such a user-friendly experience that literally anyone young or old can master it.
Expect the growth of the Internet to continue, and even if we are seeing a trend towards increased mobile phone and tablet use, they will all still want to consume content located on web sites, hosted on servers all over the world.
In fact pretty soon it’s going to be hard to imagine anyone that the world of Web Hosting doesn’t reach out to and touch in some way.