Web hosting is one of those things that everyone has most likely heard about but few people have a good handle on the specifics of the process. So you need a web host to have your own web site or page right? But what does that mean?
Well let’s talk about it. First the basic idea of web hosting is that a web host is part of a system of computers that make the internet possible. What I mean is that these are large computers that have memory enough to contain the data on web pages for everyone to access at any point in time.
If web pages were supported by the owner’s own computer the internet would clearly not be nearly as accessible or as fast. Personal computers just do not have the processors to handle the enormous amounts of traffic that a web hosting server can support. And when a person’s computer shut down or malfunctioned there would be no accessing that page. Also there are a lot of things on a personal computer that you wouldn’t want people getting their hands on. Another good reason to have a separate place for your site.
So though it may seem infinite there is a finite amount of space (or memory if you want to think of it that way) on the internet. These computers (or more properly servers) are huge and there are more coming online every day and so there will never be less than the increasing demand. However the fact that the space is finite creates the ability for these servers to put a price on the space. Generally though this price is not prohibitive and this is somewhat controlled by competition between web hosting companies. One of the nicer additions to the industry has be the recent addition of several new discount web hosting companies.
There are also several services that the web hosting companies provide for their customers besides simply space to hold information. The most basic of these services is that of internet connectivity. There must be a way for a person on the internet to get to the data that is stored in a server. Therefore addresses located on the internet need to “point” the user to the information. Internet connectivity takes place through something called a data center which is provided by the web host. It is important to point out here that the data center can point traffic to other servers not owned by that particular host. So you could own space in one host’s server and receive your connectivity through another host’s data center.
Other services include database support and application development platforms as well as web interfaces that allow you to manage the web server. These services are specially designed for different types of applications. Basically the web hosting company will set up to host different types of sites so that they can offer specific tools to those customers.
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