A Simple Guide to Webhosting
Webhosting, while second nature to those with the technical background, can seem like a rather confusing subject to those who aren’t familiar with all of the technical aspects and industry jargon used to describe it. WE have previously written a piece on switching web hosts, but we thought it would be good to offer you a simple view of what web hosting is all about.
When the hosting process is broken down into its parts and explained in a way that people without a computer science background can understand, it is a fairly simple.
In this piece we’ll take a look at a scenario where a website is being setup for a client. It can act as a guide to webhosting. For the sake of the scenario it should be assumed that the development and the design of the website are already complete; this will only deal with the hosting aspects of a website.
Domain names and Nameservers
The first step in webhosting is having a domain name. This is the address of your website. You can buy a domain name through a registrar (an example of a registrar is Namecheap, or GoDaddy). If you are concerned about cost you can relax; domain names are available in a wide price range so you can choose an extension (.co, .com, .net, .info) within your budget. It is recommended that you shop around the available registrars so you get the price and service you want. It should be noted that registrar’s will offer you different services along with the domain name; if you’re budget conscious ignore the services and simply purchase the domain name.
Once you have your domain name the next step is to setup a nameserver. This is usually known as a Domain Name System or a Domain Name Servers (DNS). This is usually the most difficult to understand aspect of setting up a website. To help explain this, try to remember that a domain name is an easy to remember label for an IP address. An IP address, like a home address or telephone number, is unique to every individual computer. In the world of webhosting there has to be a way of making sure each domain name leads to its designated IP address; this is the DNS’s job. These servers keep every domain name and associated IP address organised so that a web surfer will successfully get to their desired website.
Websites are essentially just a number of different files arranged to produce the actual website. There are HTML files, PHP files, CSS files or stylesheets, photos and other images, and similar files that comprise a website, as long as the files are stored in a folder on a computer which is connected to the internet. This computer is referred to as a server in industry jargon. When you’re launching a website you pay someone to house your website files on their server. This is known as webhosting. It is just the act of a company providing a space for your website files in order for them to remain connected to the internet.
Once a webhosting server has the website files in their system anyone interested can type in your domain name and the DNS will ensure that they are routed to the proper IP address connected to that domain name. Once the IP address/domain name is accessed the website files hosted through the webhosting company will be activated, too. The hosting you will need will depend on the site you are hosting. There are some excellent managed hosting solutions, such as Umbee Hosting- click here, which offer a wide range of solutions; all explained in accessible language.
Those are the basics of webhosting in the context of an already developed website. The last thing that should be noted is that there are vendors who offer all of these services in one place. You can get a domain name, DNS, and hosting services all in one convenient location; you don’t need to go to different companies, but often a top managed hosting will be the best option if your site needs excellent service levels..