Explained: the simple difference between web hosting and websites

by Paul on November 15, 2011

Web Hosting and Website Service Hierarchy

Web Hosting and Website Service Hierarchy

The difference between a website and web hosting is obvious.

For those in the know.

For others, the difference is inexplicable.

With the help of this quick little article, I will show you the difference between the two.

Web Hosting is long past its sell-by date as far as most people and business are concerned.

Websites are the future, not web hosting.

Why is getting a website so difficult?  Actually, it’s not anymore.

Websites are the last stage in a process largely unseen.

We feel there are more parts of the process that don’t need to be seen for most people and businesses.

Why, in 2011, are business still buying web hosting and not websites? There are a few reasons for this, a couple of which are:

  1. No-one has yet created a viable system to abstract websites from web hosting – you normally don’t buy a website, you buy web hosting.
  2. When something is apparently complicated or over-technical, people stand to make money from it.

So think about it – if you want to save yourself a bit of cash and setup a website for your business, and you don’t want to deal with the technical headache, you’ll typically pay over $1500 for a decent quality shop window on the web.

That’s a lot of cash for a show window.

If you decide to get your hands dirty and save some money at the same time, you have the headache associated with:

  • web hosting, disk space quota, bandwidth, databases, users, etc.
  • email, smtp, POP/IMAP, Outlook
  • WordPress, themes, plugins, shopping carts, spam, hackers,..

And so the list goes on.

What’s a non-techy to do?

Well you have to make a choice. Pay the cash, or learn the system.

Until now!

Website: the final stage in the webhosting::website hierarchy

A webhost is simply a service provider for rental webspace on the Internet.

Think of the web hosting system as akin to home/apartment rental.

Sure, you can go an buy your own “house”, but most don’t need the capacity a house would provide, or it’s prohibitively expensive to do so.

Web Hosting service providers have lots of servers (= computers) connected to the Internet.

Shared web hosting is the “apartment” equivalent of home rental. You don’t have the whole building (server) to yourself, just a little bit partitioned off from the rest, for your sole use.

With me so far?

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a whole server for yourself – the equivalent of renting a whole “house” in its entirety. Everything in it is yours, you have the keys, and you say what goes on the server and how well it runs.

Once you have your own Internet “webspace”, you point your domain name to it (using DNS) and then ¡hey presto! whatever you put on your webspace appears on your browser when you visit your domain name.

That last line sounds easy, but still, in the year 2011, this presents a huge challenge for many people.

The future is websites, not web hosting

Host Like Toast are working on a new product designed to offer the websites you need as the item that you actually purchase.

We want to make websites accessible to all, at a price that is affordable by all.

How do we do this?  By abstracting the concept of “website” from “web hosting”. Rather than have you focus on the means (the web hosting), we want to focus on the end (the website).

Here’s how it will work:

  1. You want a website at a new domain. You first decide what the domain name will be.
  2. You purchase the domain + website + optional email hosting. That is to say, you don’t purchase web hosting because we manage that for you.
  3. You apply a design from templates + themes (with your own custom designs as an option) and apply it to your site.
  4. Done! You literally have a website installed on your new domain within 5 minutes all performed from a single location/control panel.

Yes… from a single location.

Sounds nice, huh?  Well it is.

We’re extending our in-house tools so they’ll be accessible by everyone. How you create websites, manage them, back them up, design them, configure them is all going to change.

We’re calling it WordPress WorpDrive.

You can get a taste of the power of WorpDrive using our WordPress Installer tool (will form an integral part of the final product): WP-60

Stay tuned – Go here to sign-up to receive notifications as the product is developed and when it is released to the public.

Use the form below to join our Developer Channel

Do you need an automated CPanel web hosting backup script? There is that and more in the Developer Channel

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