25 Nov Web Hosting 101
If you own or are planning for a website, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is where will that site be hosted? This leads many to other questions like “What is hosting?”, “Why do I need hosting?”, and “What are my options?”.
To answer the first two questions is pretty straightforward:
1. Hosting is storing all of your website’s information on a computer called a server
2. You need hosting because your website has to be stored somewhere so the internet can find it
To fully explain how hosting works, lets go over the most important terms to understand.
Technical – A server is a computer that is always on and connected to the internet. It stores data (images, videos, website code, etc), waits for requests from other machines or software and responds to them.
Non Technical – A server is similar to a valet. When a computer requests your website from the server, that computer is like a person handing the valet a ticket to get their car. The valet (server) finds the keys associated with that ticket, goes to find the car (website), and delivers the car back to the person who had the ticket.
Technical – The domain name is a website’s key identifier, used to represent one or more IP addresses. Domains are available through registrars, which keep track of all possible domains for sale & purchase.
Non Technical – Your web address. In the valet analogy, the domain name is the ticket given to the valet. The valet (server) uses this identifier to know which car (website) that person is looking for.
Technical – DNS stands for Domain Name Server. A DNS maintains a directory of domain names and translates them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Non Technical – In our valet analogy, the DNS would be the board that has the keys to all of the cars and the ticket numbers that the keys are associated with. When a person (the computer requesting information) hands the valet (the server) a ticket, the valet goes to the board (the DNS), looks at the ticket number (domain) and finds the car keys that match that ticket. The valet then knows which car (information) the person is looking for and goes to get it for them.
Technical – Bandwidth is the amount of traffic and data allowed to transfer between your website, your users, and the internet, and is expressed in metric multiples of bits per second.
Non Technical – To continue the valet analogy, bandwidth is the number of valets that are working. The higher the bandwidth, the more valets you have working. The more valets you have working, the more cars you can go get and deliver at a time.
Choosing A Host
When choosing a hosting provider, deciding based solely on price is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Instead, take a look at how big your site is (or will be) and what your site traffic is like. Do you get lots of unique users at a time, or a few here and there? Do you get high traffic spikes? Do you have lots of images, videos, or content pages? Choosing an inadequate hosting option means slower site speeds and most of your site traffic leaving frustrated.
Ready to choose a web host? There are several different options, and we break them all down in our article “Which Web Hosting Option is Right for You?”
To know how many resources your website requires, or to find the perfect host to fit those requirements, we recommend talking with a web professional. Fawkes FX offers quality hosting services to our partners, and are happy to help you find the right hosting solution for your needs!