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Monday, September 12, 2011

Frequent Question #2: What is hosting anyway?

Even thought the Internet is now in her teens, new people are placing their businesses online daily. There is often confusion about hosting and how it relates to a domain name and a website. Here then, is an answer that hopefully will make the relationship more clear:

Think of a billboard on the highway, not the new digital kind, the regular vinyl or paper covered billboards. Now take away the paper. All you have is naked space along the highway and THAT is hosting. Naked space on the world wide web.

When you buy the "paper" (have the website built) you need a place to display the wonderful work your money has purchased so you rent the billboard (pay for hosting space).

When does the domain name come into play? Well think about that highway where your billboard is placed. The highway has a number and then there is a mile marker so the billboard might be on 135 at mile marker 120.

Well that would be easy to find if you really were on a highway but on the web the numbers look like this: - and that's not so easy to find. In fact, with up to 12 numbers in all, it's hard on the memory. Can you imagine trying to remember all your favorite websites by number?

The domain name then is an alias, an "aka" for the number of the host server (billboard location) where your website (paper art) resides. When you want your website to be visible you must 1) have someone program a website, 2) contract for hosting space and 3) register a name so it's easy to find the web.

And that's the answer to what usually starts with "what is hosting anyway?"

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