What is Hosting?
Hosting is the process of storing all the files that make up a website on a computer that is connected to the internet.
Each web page on a website is really just a small file that is stored on a server by the hosting service provider. When someone visits a page on the internet, the server sends a copy of the file to the visitor’s browser. The browser then processes this file in order to work out how to display the information correctly so that it is formatted in the way that the web site designer intended.
The technology involved in hosting sites is quite complicated and requires some capital investment. For this reason and because, in the vast majority of cases, websites have the same hosting needs, hosting service tend to be provided by specialist hosting companies that operate server farms – great banks of servers in air-conditioned rooms – each holding many different websites which then share the associated costs.
As the price of hosting technology has fallen, so too have hosting costs and the market is now very competitive so it pays to shop around.
If you are running a relatively simple website a shared hosting plan is probably what you want. The next level up is a dedicated hosting plan. This provides you with your own server computer, again usually in a server farm, but in this case you don’t share the computer with anyone else. Amongst other benefits, this can give you greater control over the security of your data. Dedicated hosting plans tends to cost more.