If you’re new to buying web hosting or running a website, the first question comes in mind is how does web hosting work? The web hosting world is full of jargon.
So it is really necessary to understand their meaning, differences and how they work together when you are going to host the website on the internet.
In the early days of the internet, the web was simply a way for people to collaborate on documents (that were mostly text). These files would be stored on a computer (a host) that was connected to a network of similar computers.
This computer that was hosting the files would serve them to
This computer that was hosting the files would serve them to a user that requested them using a browser so such a host computer would also be called a server.
Back then, a website was nothing more than a collection of such files related to each other structured much like a directory with sub-directories and files.
So, if you wanted to publish some files (a site) you would create a folder on such a server and configure a piece of software on that computer to respond to requests to serve the files that belonged to the site to a user on the internet.
But at a fundamental level, things are not that different from the way they were a quarter century ago.
Web hosting is still fundamentally based on storing a bunch of files on a networked computer that is configured to respond to requests for the files using a network protocol.
We’ll take you from the very beginning and work up to some fairly advanced concepts – but don’t worry, everything on this page is suitable for absolute beginners.
What is Web Hosting and How Web Hosting Works?
Think about the files and folders on your computer. They are stored on the hard disk of your desktop or laptop computer, ready for you to access them whenever you like.
A web page is a file, just like your word processing documents. Just as your word processing documents require your computer to store them, all web pages require a computer to store them.
The difference is that web pages are generally intended to be seen by the general public.
To enable this, the computer on which they must be stored must be of a much higher specification servers than your desktop PC, and must be connected to the Internet through a very powerful link.
A computer on which web pages are stored is called a web server (because it serves pages, on request, to users on the Internet). Collectively a bunch of web pages is a website, and collectively all the web pages in the world form the World Wide Web (WWW).
The job of making websites and web pages available to many users is called web hosting.
We sometimes like to call the product we offer web space because we are selling “space” on the Internet for you to host your website. Web space is measured in megabytes, in exactly the same way as space on your own computer is measured.
Let’s understand these all terms with very simple language:
A Housing Analogy
(As you read along, try to visualize the theme…)
Web hosting is like a house.
Most people rent house or room to stay. (Subscribe to hosting packages)
We call the owner of the property as a landlord. (Hosting provider – like Dreamhost, Bluehost)
Same way, we put our website content/files in one of the properties provided by the hosting providers.
The website is everything in your house.
Furniture, interior design, accessories.
Visitors will see this and might leave your house if it’s stinky and ugly. (Badly designed website)
If your house is too good, visitors will get addicted and visit it over and over. (Facebook, for example)
Visitors are the people who visit your house.
Or in technical terms, clients/bots who visit your website.
How did they find your house by the way?
Web Browser is like a car.
You enter the domain name and the car will get you to the right house, i.e. website.
Just like cars, some browsers are fast (Chrome) and some are really slow and may not even work. (Internet Explorer :)).
The Internet is a collection of houses.
A huge group of various houses is the internet.
The search engine is your travel guide.
Guides, like Google and Bing, keep track of everything happening on the internet. You ask them any question and they tell you where to go.
Now I am sure that you will be able to explain the web hosting jargons to your 70-year-old granny even! So that’s web hosting in a nutshell. Please let me know if you found this way of tackling the problem useful by dropping a comment in the box below.