In the early Marstudio days, there was a time when we had just finished a website and it was time to take it live. When we asked the client if they wanted to host their website with us, they told us no. We asked if they would like to select another hosting provider, and they answered that they didn’t want hosting.
We realized that this client had a very common misunderstanding about what hosting is. Even though we use the Internet daily, it doesn’t mean everyone fully understands the ins and outs of how it works, but today we would like to change that. We’d like to give you a quick rundown on what hosting is and why it is necessary in order to take your website live.
We’ll use the idea of a rental space to describe how hosting allows for your website to “live” online.
First, let’s address what a domain is, since you need one to launch a website. In order to have customers or clients come to your business, you need an address to point them to the location of your office/store. Online, this would be your domain name. For Marstudio, our domain name is “marstudio.com.” It’s the URL you type into your browser address bar when you want to visit our site.
In the same way that you sign a rental agreement with an office landlord, so that you can work in a building and store all your materials there, you must sign an agreement to rent server space with a hosting provider to store your website. By signing a hosting agreement, you are renting space to house your website files (such as images and code) and data.
The hosting provider gives you space on a computer (called a “server”), as well as some basic necessities to make your website work. They are your landlord, responsible for making sure the utilities are well maintained (background programs) and providing you with a baseline of safety and security such as locks on the doors and fire alarms. It’s their building, and they don’t want anything to happen to it any more than you do.
Depending on how much you want to spend, you have different options for storage space and features. You can rent an entire multi-floor building, a single floor, just an office suite, or even a room in a shared office space. Similarly, the features you get with your hosting can vary too.
Like an office building, a hosting server can have many websites renting that space, but that is all the more reason to choose your hosting provider carefully. In an office building, if you have a messy neighbor who has a lot of pests (rats, roaches, mice) or leaves the front door open, it is up to your landlord to hire a good exterminator and security guard to keep your office from getting pests and robbers.
This is the same with your hosting, except instead of pests and robbers they are viruses and malware. Good hosting will keep your website clean and secure. That means paying a bit extra for your hosting can get you a front desk security guard and a good on-call exterminator to protect your website from thieves and mice.
Bringing It All Together
Your address and the physical space of your business allow your customers or clients to find and visit your office or storefront. This is the same for a website. The combination of your hosting and domain allows customers to be able to find your website.
A website with a domain and no hosting is like an office sign without a building. It exists in name only, and if someone tries to visit, it is nowhere to be found. In the same way, a website with no domain is like a building with no address. Both domain and hosting are essential if you want people to find your website online.
So if you are launching a website for your business, know that you will need to have both a domain name and hosting. They are essential components for visitors to be able to see your website online. Hosting is one of the many web services offered by Marstudio, so let us know if you have any questions about it today.