Any website is the product of the successful operation of a variety of technical concepts and tools. These can be difficult concepts to grasp and our clients often ask us ‘what is hosting’ and ‘what is a domain’. We hope we can clear up some of the confusion here with a simple analogy:
- your host is your ‘landlord’
- who rents you a ‘house’ on her server
- whose address is your domain
In other words, your host provides you with a server (a ‘house’) for your website to live in. You find your website’s ‘house’ using your domain, i.e. your web address.
All any website is, is a set of files separated into a set of folders. Just like the files on your own computer. Really, that’s it! Okay, so some websites, like the WordPress websites we make, also use a database and some other cool technology to allow you to manage your website’s content and functionality, but at the very base level, a website is just a bunch of files, organised into folders. In order for people to view your website, all those files need to live on a server, somewhere, and have an address where they can be found.
A server is a computer. This computer runs the services your website needs, such as database software, and it sits in a building somewhere that is managed by your host provider. The hosting company looks after the hardware, the physical computer, that is your website’s server, and manages security, backups, and other infrastructure considerations to keep your server running properly. When you purchase hosting you are essentially renting space for your website’s files on your host’s computer, your website’s server.
In order for you and your customers to visit your website, you need an address. Your website’s address is your domain, e.g. mydomain.com. Domains are registered for a period of time, usually 1-3 years. Registering a domain is like renting a web address, and you need to renew your ‘rental agreement’ whenever your domain comes up for expiry.
Any more questions, let us know! We offer specialist WordPress hosting and we’re here to help