What Is a Web Host (And Why Do I Need One)?

Oct 6


John Pierce

John Pierce

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I get a lot of blank looks from people when I tell them that I work for a webhosting company. I've come to expect that. Chances are that unless you've actually needed the service of a web host, you've not heard the term much. While webhosting is the Internet's oldest profession (please don't snicker)...

... it's a relatively new profession in the larger scheme of history.In order to understand what a web host does,What Is a Web Host (And Why Do I Need One)? Articles you first need to understand what a web site is.For most people who surf the web, a website is a destination. The illusion of actually surfing from one location to another on the Information Highway is a powerful one.In reality, though, when we surf...we don't go to a website...the website comes to us.In essence, a website is nothing more than a collection of files. Some are .html files, others are images, others are music files, etc.A webmaster is a maestro, of sorts, who puts all these files together into a grouping which we call a web site.Web sites are incredibly amazing things. They can absolutely blow our minds at times. Always remember, though, on some level of your consciousness, that it's just a bunch of files, just like you can see on your own hard drive by clicking on "My Computer".When you go to a website, you're actually sending a request to the computer where these files are located, and that computer sends you back the files you've requested. Your browser then displays those files to you, and you see a website.So - if it's just a bunch of files on a computer, why can't you just put your website on your own computer, and let people request it from there?Actually, you can. If you have a high bandwidth connection, web server software, and a little know-how about Internet Protocols, you can do just that.Most people, however, find it easier - and cheaper - to hire someone to do it for them. The companies which do this are called web hosting companies. There are over 20,000 such companies. Most are willing to host your website for anywhere from $4 to $50 per month, depending upon what you need and how much money you want to spend.

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