Whether you have an online business, want to advertise your brick and mortar store or just want to start your own blog, it’s easy to start a website. There are free services that help you build a basic site or you can have an original design created for you. Once your site content is created, your next step is web hosting.
While many people know about websites, how to get started making them or at least how to contact someone else that knows how, far less people know that having your own website requires hosting. That’s why it’s important for you to educate yourself about web hosting, what it is and what to look for before choosing a web hosting service provider.
Host Geek, a trusted web hosting provider, shares some of the need-to-know web hosting basics.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is essentially publishing your site to the internet so other people can find it. Your website exists as a collection of files housed on a web server (a computer). The web host is the company that maintains that server and sells space on it.
If you have an office space or store front, you can think of web hosting as being similar to renting your physical space. You need to rent space for your online store just like you would rent space for your brick and mortar store.
What types of hosting are there?
There are different types of hosting and it’s important to determine which type suits your needs best.
Shared hosting is usually cheaper, but as you share a server with, possibly, thousands of other sites, you are compromising on security and flexibility and your site’s performance may be tied to that of the other sites on your server. Shared hosting is therefore usually best for personal websites or professional websites that aren’t too complex or handle a large volume of traffic.
A dedicated server means that your website’s space is completely your own (you’re not sharing with anyone else). While this option may be more expensive, if you have complex requirements or need more reliability and security, such as an e-commerce site, it is a much safer option.
What is a domain name?
Your domain name is the name you choose to go in the address bar at the top of the browser. This is the way that people can identify and find your website. It’s like the address of your brick and mortar store, but instead it’s the address of your online store.
When you choose your domain name, it should be something related to the content of your website so that people can remember it or easily identify it.
Ok, so then what is DNS?
In order for people to see your website on their own computer, the computer needs to be able to find the IP address of the server where it is hosted in order to bring up the content. If your domain name is the human version of your address, than your IP address is the computer version of your address.
An IP address is a series of numbers, which would be difficult for a person to remember. Domain names are an easier way for people to identify websites. In order to translate the domain name a person types into an IP address the computer can read, a DNS, or Domain Name System is used.
A DNS is a type of server that’s sole purpose is to translate domain names to IP addresses. Once the IP address is found, the server where the website is hosted can be found and the content can appear on the computer.