Back to Basics series – What is web hosting?

back_to_basicsWelcome to the first post in the series we are calling “Back to Basics. The idea of this series is to address common questions people ask or are confused about when considering starting a website. We will be writing the posts in non technical terms so it is easy to understand and follow. We encourage you to comment or ask questions on each post if you need clarity.

The most common question we get asked is What is Web Hosting?

Web Hosting is a service provided by a vendor or business such as Little Hero Hosting which offers a physical location for the storage of web pages and content.

A website can be made up of all kinds of data and information such as images, video, HTML, PHP, CSS files and any other content accessible through the Web including emails. To connect or have your files published on the World Wide Web (www) your data needs to be stored on a computer server which is located in a secure and climate controlled environment that is permanently connected to the internet through high speed data lines. This server space is referred to as Web Hosting.

When somebody requests a page on a website site, your computer uses various internet systems to find the appropriate web server and the server pulls the page out of its memory and sends it to your machine.  Servers are configured to be able to read all the different file types and publish them as intended by the designer or author.


In simple terms we often say to people think of hosting as a house rental scenario. You rent a house without furnishing from the landlord for a negotiated price each week, month or year. Upon signing your agreement you are then able to fill the house with your personal items. Hosting is the same, you find a host who suits your needs, and you create an account and agree to the terms and then fill it with your data.

There are different types of web hosting but they will be addressed in another post.

While you may own a domain name, without it connected to a web host your domain will be like a disconnected phone line, able to be dialled but receiving a disconnected signal at the other end. In a website’s situation you would see a page not found notice when typing in the url.

You may be asking so what is a domain name and how does it connect to my chosen host but we will address that in the next posts of our Back to Basics series.

What questions do you have about web hosting?