What Is Web Hosting and How Does It Work? A Simple Guide

Web Hosting

Web hosts. Domain names. Email servers.

So many buzzwords, but what is web hosting and how does it work?

As of May last year, the total number of global web hosting providers was 338k. In Australia, the industry employs over 1,800 people and that’s set to skyrocket.

This article provides a simple guide to website hosting. It looks at what is domain hosting, how to host a website, and what makes a good host.

Read on to understand the important buzzwords and make an informed choice when choosing the right web host.

What Is Web Hosting?

All websites need a home and that home is called a web host.

When you click on a link in Google your browser works behind the scenes to find the website. Every site has a unique location called an IP address which is stored on a global directory.

When your browser finds the right one it then asks the host to send your website’s files. This includes text and images to videos and PDFs. Information is stored on a server that serves the right data as requested.

What Is Domain Hosting?

Notice the address bar at the top of your browser? In it is the readable web address or domain name of your site. You could use your IP but that isn’t practical.

www.company.com is the most traditional style of a domain name but there are many forms to choose from. TLDs, or top-level domains like .com, now include .net or .biz, to country-specific like .com.au for Australia.

As a web host manages this process they’re also called domain hosts.

Email Servers

Web hosts also manage email tied with your domain. When someone contacts you on info@yoursite.com, the host holds it securely until you read it.

Some hosts also work with the likes of Microsoft 365 to manage your emails and calendars. Be sure to match your requirements.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A website is built using HTML, a mark-up code that a browser interprets into viewable pages. A developer creates the code then transfers the file to the host.

This process is called file transfer protocol.

A good web host offers secure FTP on all its servers. It encrypts the data before you send it so hackers can’t intercept your sensitive information.

Site Builders and WordPress

If you’d like to build your own site then you can without learning code.

Many hosts offer site builders, software that acts like Word so you can type and insert images easily. You can create a simple site within hours.

WordPress is the biggest blogging software in the world and it’s free on many hosting plans. Ask your host how you can take advantage of WordPress to manage your site and even sell online.

Hosting Control Panel

Many hosts offer an easy way to manage your website using a Control Panel. This gives you access to all options like setting up email forwarders or databases.

The industry standard is cPanel. It offers hundreds of options, giving you full control over your own site. Hosts like Lightning Fast Web Hosting offer premium cPanel plans to match any budget. 

What Is Web Hosting and How Does It Work?

When someone asks you “what is web hosting and how does it work?”, you can now give an informed reply.

You know about domain names, site builders, and FTP. You understand what email servers are and how to create a site using WordPress.

These are the building blocks you need to host a website, so why not give it a go yourself?

Remember to read our other guides in our Tech section. Follow us on our social media pages and let us know what you think.

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