Introduction To Hosting

This section is all about hosting made simple. You’ll quickly learn the basics: What web hosting is, why you need it and how hosting actually works.

What is web hosting?

First, understand that what we call a website is really just a bunch of files.

When you want to build a website, all of those files (text, images, video and more) need to be stored somewhere online so that others can access them through the internet.

The place your files are “hosted” is called a web server. Web servers are very powerful computers with really fast connections to the web.

So when you buy hosting, you’re really buying space on a server for your website to live on.


Think of it this way:

A domain name (e.g. is your address. (You can learn more about domain names in this section of our guide)

Hosting is the lot you build your house on.

Bandwidth is how much room you have to build on that lot.

What is web hosting bandwidth?

Every time someone visits your website or downloads something from your pages, your server will send them a bit (or a lot!) of data.

Bandwidth is the amount of data your website is allowed to use up each month. Another way of thinking about it is how much traffic your site can receive monthly.

When you buy hosting, how much bandwidth you’re allowed to use is determined by the type of plan you choose.

Wondering how much bandwidth you need? We’ve got a section on that here.

How does hosting work?

First, you buy hosting – a server to put your website’s files on.

Next, you create your website, uploading the different text, code, images and files to the server for hosting.

Now: imagine someone types your website’s domain name into their browser, searching for your website.

When they search, the DNS, or “Domain Name System”, turns the web address that we can read ( into a string of numbers that machines can read (e.g., connecting the searcher’s computer with the server hosting your files.

From here on out, they’re browsing your website.

Why do I need hosting?

Because without it, nobody will be able to access your website!

Just like you need a web address for people to search, you need a physical home for your website to live on.

Couldn’t I Just Host my Own Website?

You could – but it’s usually a terrible idea. Web hosting companies can serve your pages faster, cheaper and more reliably – and you won’t waste time troubleshooting or trying to set up a server.

To host your own website, you’d need:

  • A really powerful computer solely dedicated to hosting
  • A lightning-fast internet connection (T1 or better) only used for hosting
  • Permission from your internet provider (it’s against the rules for some!)
  • Hosting software

And even then, your upload and download times are likely to be slower than the pros.

Phew, got all that? In the next section, we’ll discuss the different types of hosting available and how to choose the provider and plan that fit your needs.