Definition: What is Web Hosting?

by Paul on June 25, 2011

Before trying to understand what web hosting is, you need to first understand the very basics of how web browsing works.

When you type any website into your browser and hit Go!, there is a conversation between you and that website. Let’s say the website is YouTube.com (YT), it would go a little something like this:

  • You: Hi YouTube.com, I’d like to browse your website. Can you tell me where I can find it?
  • YT: You can find me at the address abc.def.ghi.jkl
  • You: Hi abc.def.ghi.jkl, can you send me content of the YouTube website to my browser?
  • YT/abc.def.ghi.jkl: Here it is – I’m sending you a web page and all the videos on it.
  • You: Website and videos etc. loads in the browser.

And that’s it.

The web page and the images you get on your browser are just like the files and pictures stored on your own PC.

On the internet however, they are stored on more powerful computers with a faster internet connection. These computers are called servers, or more specifically “web servers“.

In the particular example above, the abc.def.ghi.jkl was the address of the web server holding the YouTube.com website information that you asked for.

If you want your website on the internet, you need your own space on a web server. To get this, you buy … web hosting.

Simple.

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