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 whereby 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:
Web hosting is used to store websites, the databases of companies, picture files, movies, email, mp3's and essentially anything that can be put on a computer. The web host will help you to secure a domain name, which free hosting accounts cannot 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.
Natacha Rey is a web hosting researcher and works for the following companies: Afrihost - South African Web Hosting and New Sprout - Australian Web Hosting