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What Is Website Hosting?
The total newbie's guide to website hosting.
Table of Contents:
- What is website hosting?
- Do I need website hosting?
- How much space do I need?
- What is the difference between hosting and domain names?
- How much does hosting cost?
- Where can I get website hosting?
So what exactly is website hosting?
Website hosting refers to where the files for your website physically reside. That's the simplest way to explain it. There are probably more technical definitions but if you're asking this question, chances are you don't need anything more technical right now!
Just like files take up space on your computer's hard drive, websites are made up of files, and these files have to take up space somewhere they can be accessed via the Internet. This "space" is a web server, and unless you have one and it is connected to the Internet via an ISP (internet service provider), you will need to buy website hosting somewhere.
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Do I Need Website Hosting?
You need website hosting if you want to have a website. A website here is the broad sense of the term. Blogs are websites, too. They are just a type of website. Whether you need a blog, or an online store, or another type of website, you need hosting.
How Much Space Do I Need?
The truth is that you probably do not need very much space. If you are trying to put up a personal website or a small business website, you can get by with very little space.
Still, a huge selling feature of many website hosting providers is unlimited space. As long as unlimited space comes with unlimited domain names, that's fine. Otherwise, that's not really impressive since most websites are small and take up almost no space at all.
What's the Difference Between Hosting and Domain Names?
Hosting is the physical place where your website files reside. It specifically refers to a hosting server, which you can think of like your computer's hard drive.
A domain name is part of your URL - it's the bit that shows up in the navigation bar in your website browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) An example of a domain name is bizchickblogs.com. That is a domain name.
The two are actually completely unrelated for all intents and purposes. You can buy a domain name without hosting and you can buy hosting without a domain name. If you buy hosting without a domain name, you will be given an IP address which you can use to access your hosting server.
Note: most hosting companies do not sell hosting to you unless you either purchase a domain name through them or tell them you already have one.
If you already have a domain name, just specify that when you sign up (all website hosting companies will have a place for you to specify that).
How Much Does Hosting Cost?
This will vary based on where you choose to buy hosting (see below), but you can expect to pay anywhere from $4/month to upwards of $15/month for shared hosting. Don't pay any more than that! If you think you need to, talk to someone who knows first.
Tip: Use the coupon code CoolHubpages to get $9.94 off hosting with HostGator, if you choose them. The others are just as good, though. I just don't have coupons for them. :)
Where Can I Get Hosting?
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of places to get website hosting. For your needs, you are probably best with buying a shared hosting plan (which literally means that you share your hosting server with other people) from a reputable hosting company.
I personally recommend: