To have your website accessed by anyone, anywhere, it would need to be hosted. Web hosting can be compared to the renting of property except that it involves the "renting out" of web space. It could also be considered a subscription service wherey you would pay an amount to ensure that your website is accessible everyday of the year. A web host is a service provider that places your website on a computer which is connected to the internet and gives people access to your website. The computer that stores this information is called a server and it allows information to be accessed through the network, or by any computer that is connected to the internet and a browser.
Essentially, web hosting is the placing of your website onto the internet via a server. Once your site is on the serve, your website can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet, 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. The web host has a fast connection to the internet and is able to host thousands of websites on numerous servers. Put in basic terms, the web host rents web space out to you so that you can get your website up on the World Wide Web.
There are several web hosts available to choose from, but they have the following similar basic features:
o Server Type: this is the type of server software which is running on the server. When dealing with a basic website, the server type is not of much importance. However, with a more complex website with database functions which serves up dynamic pages, the importance of the server type then plays a more important role.
o Disk Space: this is the amount of web space that is actually available to you for the storage of your website on the hard drive of the web server.
o Bandwidth per month: this involves determining the amount of website that is available to you. Bandwidth is the measure of how much transfer is available. A high traffic website would have very high bandwidth requirements as compared to the average site.
o Email Accounts: simply how many email accounts you are allowed to have with the web hosting account.
Web hosting is used to store websites, the databases of companies, picture files, movies, email, mp3's and essently anything that can be put on a computer. The web host will help you to secure a domain name, which free hosting accounts can not offer. Having a lengthy URL shows that your website is hosted by a free server and its unprofessional appearance will confuse your customers.
Services range from free hosting to buying an entire server for a company's own use. It is possible to spend a small fortune on web hosting, all depending on how many features you need.
Web hosting allows small businesses to play in the same arena as the corporate giants, giving them traffic volume accommodation and competitive bandwidth.