Web Hosting 101

by Kelsey James

In the most basic terms, web hosting is the service that enables an individual or organization to publish a website on the Internet. While we may think of websites as something that only exists digitally, the truth is physical resources are also needed to power Internet content, mainly in the form of servers.

A server is a powerful computer that holds all the files that comprise your website; it is the physical space where your website “lives.” Websites are essentially collections of files, including text, images, and other elements. Therefore, you can think of a server as the filing cabinet where those files live. When someone visits your website, they are connected to the server where they can access those files, aka your website.

Your website is only useful if it’s accessible to your customers. Most people have heard of servers “crashing,” which can happen for several reasons. A good web hosting service provider makes sure their servers are operational as close to 100 percent of the time as possible. This is referred to as uptime and is the amount of time a server is online.

While it is possible to purchase and run your own server to host your website, this is likely far more expensive and complicated than necessary. Most small businesses’ needs can be met by paying a company, known as a web hosting service provider, to rent space on servers they own, house, and maintain.

Different websites have different needs, so a variety of web hosting services exist. To know more about web hosting and how to find the best service to fit your needs, check the articles below:

Kelsey James is a research manager at Digital.com.

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