What is hosting?

You have decided to have a website built, or maybe you decided to build it yourself. One of the costs that come up time and time again is hosting.

So what exactly is hosting?

Hosting means a company provides space for files and uses special software to let the world see the pages you have built. This space is on a computer and they call that computer a server or web server. They call it a server because it "serves" something to another computer in a network. In this scenario it serves internet pages to the internet.

Different hosts (companies that charge for hosting and maintain software) have different rules. For instance, one company may give you unlimited space which could be good if you were a major retailer like Amazon.com that has many files, and others will have different levels for different size accounts. Each likely to have a price reflective of it's space.

Hosting companies also control things like how much traffic you are allowed to get to your sites. This is called bandwidth. Other things are what type of files/programs you can use, emails accounts you can have and security options.