What is Web Hosting?

Maybe you have some idea about what hosting is but you’re not too sure., the question “What is web hosting” is a relatively easy one to explain.

Web hosting refers to a service that makes your website available to your users. In general, most websites are intended to be viewed by anyone on the Internet, at any time. If you want anyone on the Internet to be able to view your website at any time, you need to make sure your website is running on a computer or server which is connected to the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The server also needs to be running software that is stable and secure to keep your website up and running at all times, like in the case of Linux Website Hosting

To do this you have two options.

Option 1: Hosting the Website Yourself

Hosting the website yourself means that you will need to have the right (expensive) equipment, including a web server and a permanent connection to the Internet. Most people don’t do their own website hosting due to the cost of installing a permantent internet connection. ADSL won’t work for reliable website hosting due to the fact that ADSL is usually configured to be asynchronous – ie the download of data receive preference, and for website hosting you need to upload data from the server to whoever downloads the data, and usually ADSL connections are less reliable and ADSL lines only offer a dynamic IP address, instead of a static IP address as needed for web hosting

Option 2: Find a Hosting Provider to Host your Website.

This is the most common choice for web hosting. Using a third party hosting provider allows you to concentrate on developing your website (or whatever else it is you may do), and leave the hosting tasks up to a company who specialises in web hosting.

A good web hosting company will provide at least the following services:

• 24/7 support.
• 24/7 FTP access (so you can update your website).
• A number of email accounts (i.e. [email protected]).
• Online control panel for managing your website.
• Online traffic statistics (so you can see how much traffic your website receives).
• A robust database management system, such as MySQL. If required, this is so you can add your own database.

If you require specialised server application software such as PHP, Perl or Ruby on Rails, you will need to check that the web hosting provider supports this. This is what is needed to supply PHP and MySQL hosting which is what is required to supply the most popular software like WordPress, Joomla, most Content Management Systems and E-commerce software

Once you start looking for a web hosting provider, you will notice there is a very large difference in how much they charge. You will also notice that most web hosts have multiple website hosting plans, each at different prices. Any good web host will allow you to upgrade a plan later on if required, so don’t feel as though you need to start off on a plan that costs more than you need.

You’ll also find that you can get special deals by bundling your domain name registration with your hosting (i.e. purchasing both at the same time and getting web hosting and domain registration). Deals like this can really make a difference when starting out with your website if you’re on a tight budget. eStart offer free .co.za domain registration to clients if they subscribe to website hosting on the Basic, Standard and Reseller packages and pay in advance for 12 months

You can also get a hosting plan with an online website builder included. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to learn the technical aspects of creating a website.