What is Web Hosting and Why Do I Need It?

Web hosting is basically an always switched-on computer, dedicated 24 hours and 7 days a week to serving websites. Web hosting providers offer hosting packages that allow you to login and upload data to their servers. The cost of this can range from free to thousands of dollars a month.

Do I Need to Pay to Host a Website?

You don't, but there are sound reasons for paying money to a hosting provider to host your website...

You're perfectly able to install free software on your computer and serve a website from it, but generally a hosting provider will provide you with dedicated infrastructure, redundant power supplies and a better Internet connection, allowing the rest of the world to view your website without physical limitations. Your mega-popular fishing website fans won't be happy that your site is offline because your dog chewed on the telephone wire.

Trust 20 years of web evolution and use a hosting provider rather than trying to host a website from home.

What is a Hosting Provider?

A hosting provider has dedicated infrastructure sitting in a datacentre building that exists purely to house computer hardware in a cost-efficient and effective environment.

There are rows upon rows of servers stacked into racks, with redundant power supplies, secure entry/exit to the servers and generally an environment suited to hosting mission-critical data.

Some web hosts own their own datacentres, others will lease rack space within one, others will only have one or two servers in one rack. Some very small hosting providers (or resellers) may even exist within one server or share a server with others.

Why Would I need Hosting?

If you want your information or service to be available online all day and all year round, hosting it online with a reputable hosting provider is the way to go.

Do You Need Help Finding a Hosting Provider?

If you're new to the technical side of the online world, you may be better off finding someone local who is in the business of helping people get sites online. The time you spend learning (and there is a lot to learn) could be more than offset by simply paying someone to do it for you.

Pretty much every locality in the world has someone offering online services that includes getting your data hosted. They may also be able to help you with related tasks, like buying a domain, using social media and promoting your site online.

Who Provides Web Hosting Services?

There are literally tens of thousands of hosting providers in the worldwide market, and making an informed choice about who you choose can save you a lot of time, money and health in the long term.

What Next?

If you want to find a reputable host without paying someone to do that for you, you're on the right website right now. This site offers you information, reviews and guides relating to web hosting, so take the time to look around and get a feel for what kind of information you need to arm yourself with before you make the choice.

Take a look at the difference between types of web hosting to see the main differences in web hosting services are.