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Back to Basics: What is web hosting?

If you have not owned a website before, web hosting can be one of those areas which is very difficult to understand. Let’s try to simplify that a little right now.

The simplest analogy relating to domain names, hosting and websites is to think of your house.

The domain name is the street address, and the house is the website. You need the address to get to the house… but to build your house in the first place, you need some land, and that’s where hosting comes into it.

In a nutshell, hosting is where your website’s files and databases are stored, as well as some technical settings relating to what happens when your domain name is used.

For example, if you have a website at www.mywebsite.com, then there are settings (called DNS records) which ensure that when the website address is typed, the website appears. This happens because the website’s files are stored in the hosting account.

There are similar DNS records in place for email services, so that when someone sends an email to your email address (e.g. [email protected]), the email is routed to wherever it needs to go.

There are many other uses for DNS records, but these are the main two.

How does hosting relate to domain names?

If you have a domain name, it must “point” to your hosting account (remember the street address analogy). Typing in your domain name, or an email address for your domain, sends the user on to your hosting package, and the DNS records handle everything from there.

How is hosting set up?

A hosting server is managed by a web hosting company (such as ourselves), and you can change servers within the same hosting company or you can change from one hosting company to another. However, not all servers or hosting companies are equal. Some servers are faster than others and better for certain types of websites, and the inclusions such as storage space or advanced features varies.

What types of hosting are available?

In general, there are three types of web hosting packages available to your business:

  • Shared web hosting: These servers have limited resources, which are shared amongst many websites. This can slow your website’s loading times, cause problems with security and result in penalties if you use too many of their resources (peaks in traffic can do this).
  • Dedicated hosting: These are great for large businesses or those with lots of traffic, as your website is hosted on its own server. You can add as many websites as you want to your own server as well – but it costs more than shared hosting and is often prohibitively expensive for small businesses.
  • Cloud VPS hosting: A new technology that gives you more flexibility and resources. You only pay for the space and resources you use, without many of the shortcomings of shared hosting.

For more information on your web hosting options or you want help with website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.