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What is Web Hosting and Why Would I Need it?

A Simple Explanation
Since I am a woman and understand shopping analogies, the following explanation made web hosting most clear for me. I borrowed the explanation from Sean Felker. A web hosting company is like a shopping mall. The owner of the mall invests his money in hiring architects, constructors, and engineers to build the building. Then the owner rents spaces in the mall to smaller businesses. The small business owner is then in charge of decorating their store and filling it with their products.

You are the small business owner and want to have a web site on the Internet. You decide to rent space from a web host. The space you are renting is on a server. A server is simply a computer that serves other computers. The host allows the rest of the world to view your site when they type in your Internet address.

Should I be my own web site host?
The shopping mall owner spent money and time on his building. In a like manner, the web host has spent time and money acquiring top of the line equipment. The host has to be sure that his server will operate quickly and efficiently. The computer that is the server will need lots of memory, the fastest hard drives, and expensive connection equipment. Thousands of people may want to access your site at a time, so your server will have to be able to handle the load. You want to feel assured that they can access that site and that it won't be "down" frequently. When the site is down, it is like the shopping mall is closed. Anytime the mall is closed, small business owners (you) are losing money. To be your own host, you'll have to decide if you want to spend the time and expense to do so.

Another thing to consider is security. A server is accessible to anyone. Web hosting companies will purchase and install firewall and anti-virus programs to protect their users. A firewall is software that keeps certain malicious programs out of the server. If you want to be your own host, you have to consider if you want to be worried about the security of your server.

The server needs to be connected to the Internet at all times. Business owners can allow their computer to be connected at all times, but home computers may not always be connected. In short, you have to decide if you want to be the shopping mall owner or the small business owner who rents a space.

If you decide you'd rather be the small business owner, there are many cheap web hosts, that have high quality service, available. One web hosting site,, offers to host your web site for only $5 a month, with no set up fee. If you could have the best location in a shopping mall for only $5 a month, would you be worried that you don't actually own the mall? Would you really want the hassle of time and money to be that mall owner? From my standpoint, using an inexpensive web host for a web site sure is a no-brainer.

Catherine Duke, B.S.

Recommended Resources
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*Note: Just 5 Buck Hosting is not affiliated with the authors of these articles or responsible for there content.

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