Website Hosting/Domain Registration
Two of the questions we hear a lot from new clients is "What is Hosting?" and "What is Domain Registration?".
Hosting is the storage of website files and databases on a web-server. Websites are comprised of several files that are stored on special computers called Web-Servers that are connected to the internet by very high speed connections. These web-servers are specially built to do nothing more than store files and provide access to those files to visitors to the website. Basically, when you visit a website, your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc...) is simply showing you the contents of a file stored somewhere else on a web-server.
Often, when we explain to clients what hosting is they ask us if they can save money by having the files stored on their own computer instead. Basically Yes you can store the files on your computer instead but No, you cannot save money by doing this. Most computers can be configured to work as a light duty web-server however, when you run a computer as a web-server:
- Any other programs you run on the computer will slow the server functions down and if it slows enough, your site may not load for visitors.
- You open your computer up to web based assaults to a much greater extent than is typically associated with just browsing the internet.
- If you have several visitors on your site at once, you will need a VERY HIGH SPEED internet connection.
- For a web-server to function properly, it must have a static IP Address assigned by the internet provider. Most residential and small business internet connections use a dynamic address that can change randomly. This changing address would cause your site to become unavailable. That being said, most internet providers will provide you a Static IP but they charge in the area of $50.00 per month (hence the not saving money part). Also, most internet providers have strict policies against using your connection to host a web-server.
- File. Battery, and Connection Backup. Professional Web Hosting providers have their servers configured with automatic file backups, multiple location hosting (the files are stored on web-servers in two different locations) and full time battery backups on the servers and all modems connecting them to the internet. In addition, they will also have more than one connection to the internet in case one fails. All of this is designed to keep you site online at all times to the fullest reasonable extent possible.
Domain Registration is the registration of your domain name with an approved Registrar. Your domain name is the address for your website that visitors type in their browser to find your site. For example, to access our website, a visitor would enter the domain JTLWebDesign.com. By entering our domain name in your browser, your browser will contact the appropriate web-server to gain access to the files needed to display our website for you.
One thing we do want to make clear, JTL Web Design is not an actual Web-Server Host. We have developer hosting accounts setup with our host and we provide space on our servers we have through them to our clients. This allows us to provide hosting to our clients, on our servers, at much better rates because we are sharing the server costs between multiple clients.