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How Does Web Hosting Actually Work?

28/05/2016

If the time has come to set up a website for your business, there are a few things you'll need to know and understand – such as web hosting. For those who are new to the game and aren't very tech savvy, web hosting relates to a place where individuals and organisations can put their websites.

But isn't the internet intangible? How can a website be 'placed' somewhere? Well, when you set up a website you actually need computer space to host your site's files and provide high speed internet connectivity so that other computers can access these files. While it's technically possible to 'self-host' from your own computer, this isn't advisable – especially for those with limited tech experience!

Therefore, most businesses and individuals call on a web hosting company to look after their website for them. When you utilise the services of a web hosting company, you are essentially renting the server space that they provide for your site. These companies have large, powerful and very reliable computers – often referred to as 'servers' – from which they host your website. Servers are kept in data centres, which are usually equipped with excellent security, backup power and environmental controls. These measures help to ensure the servers continue to work 24/7 – so that your website is always up and running!

Are all web hosting services the same?

No, they certainly aren't. There are typically four different types of web hosting services available here in Australia: shared server hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, dedicated server hosting and cloud hosting. While each of these act as a storage centre for your website, they do vary in terms of reliability, server speed, the technical knowledge required, storage capacity and control.

What is the difference between web hosting and the domain name?

While this will sound like a very simplistic question for many, those new to website ownership may need this point clarified – it can be easy to get confused when it comes to technical lingo! Simply put, the domain name (which you will acquire prior to choosing a web host) is the address of your website. On the other hand, web hosting is basically the 'space within your house' where you can place your furniture and other belongings (i.e. data files).

It is very important to ensure you do your research and select a reputable web hosting company, as they are not all born equal. Choose wisely – the reliability and security of your website depends on it!

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