Hosting Guide #4: What Is a Host? Why Do I Need One?

Alright! You have your domain name so people can access your website. But, you’re not done yet! You now need to set up a host.

So, WHAT IS A HOST AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

Here’s a simple analogy: Look at the domain name as the physical address of your business, and your host being the actual office space.

When you make a website, you need computer on the internet to put it on. This is called a web server.  This web server remains powered on 24/7 with your website on it, waiting for people to request pages of your website. This server is accessed through an IP address or domain name. 

Well, based on what was written above, it should be obvious why you’d need one. Without a host, no one would be able to access your website.

FYI: your website does not get stored on the type of computer you’re accustomed to seeing. Websites are stored on webserver, located in a data center. A special location which is designed to have extremely fast internet speed. Seen below are pictures of a datacenter. 

It’s really important you understand the very basics about hosting, because like your domain name, it’s fundamental to a successful website. And like a domain name, changes this later can be costly, and a huge headache. 

I SEE DIFFERENT HOSTING PLANS, WHAT’S ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Saying the word “host” or “server” is no different than saying the word “vehicle”. A vehicle can be a school bus or a professional race car. Two vehicles can have little in common, and that’s the same for hosting. 

Here are the general types of hosting categories and we’ll briefly discuss each 

SHARED HOSTING: 

This is the bottom of the barrel, and you will quickly learn that I am no fan of this option, for well deserved reasons. Let’s refer back to the office analogy: Imagine you were sharing your office with 100 other companies, the office resources will be quickly jammed up. Coffee will empty quicker, internet will always be slower, the office would need much more frequent maintenance, the conference room would never be available. The more companies you add to your shared office space, the more your company work becomes interrupted. 

With shared hosting, you have a single computer, or server, services hundreds to thousands of websites. Every website shares the computer resources and pipelines for transmitting data. 

So, if your neighbor’s website is getting lots of traffic the data pipeline will get clogged and your website can become much slower, and even go offline. 

So, to summarize: Shared hosting

pros: cheap
cons: