You can think of web hosting as being similar to a plot of land where all of your website files such as images and text reside. All houses have two connected parts: an address and a piece of land where the house sits.
No matter how big or small a website is, they all need a domain name and web hosting to be visible online.
Domain names are like street addresses for websites. When you buy a name like example.com, no one else can register it. You have exclusive rights to host your files on the domain name you register as long as you continue to renew the name.
Web hosting is the storage space where your website resides. Sometimes we just call it “hosting” since it is such a popular term. This storage space for your website’s files (text, images, documents, etc.) all reside on a server somewhere. So, when you buy hosting you are essentially buying rented space on a web server which serves your files.
It’s important to note that having both a domain name and a website is important because:
- If you have a domain name but no web hosting, you will have an address you can send people to but there will be nothing there for them to look at.
- If you have hosting but no domain name, you will not be able tell people where to go to see your brand-new website.
- When you have both a domain name and a hosting account is where the magic happens – people will be able to quickly find and view your website online.
In its simplest form, your website will be hosted on a server that is likely hosting many other websites (known as shared hosting). Shared web hosting is typically the cheapest form of hosting and is also the easiest way to get started.