What is Web Hosting?
If you’ve ever looked up “how does the internet work?” it’s likely you’ve seen an image representing the internet as a cloud. The truth is far more physical. The internet isn’t a cloud, it’s more like a huge series of hard drives all wired together.
Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, build and maintain massive complexes known as “Data Centres.” These data centres house hundreds of super computers called “Servers,” which we’ll return to in a moment. The ISPs are also responsible for running colossal lengths of Optical Fibre Cabling either underground or under the seabed. This cabling runs to “main” hubs that are owned and operated by ISPs, which then run to local hubs that provide the nodes that connect residences and shops to the internet through modems and routers.
So how do we access the internet? Well, the process begins whenever you put an enquiry into a search engine or website domain to your browser. From here, the computer sends a request to something called the DNS (Domain Name System), which is essentially a massive online phone book. The DNS uses the domain name you looked up to search for an IP address, which is essentially the home address of a website. Once it finds the IP, it connects you to the appropriate server, which sends a light signal through the optic fibre cabling to your router. Your router converts the light signal into an electric one, then sends it to your device either through an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.
It’s kind of like if whenever you wanted to visit a friend, you pressed a button that made their house sprout wheels and then drive to your doorstep. When you press the button, you’re requesting access to your friend. The request is sent to their home address and once the request is accepted, their house arrives to you in a matter of seconds, with the roads used to achieve this serving as the optic fibre cables.
So now you know exactly how the internet works, what does any of this have to do with web hosting?
Well, you remember those Servers we mentioned earlier. If you can picture websites as tenants, then Servers are massive apartment complexes, and the apartments are the many solid state drives that house multiple websites.
When you construct a website, the result will be a bunch of data in one form or another, and to be accessible to the public, that data needs to be on a server. Web hosting is when a company charges a fee to allow your website to take up real estate on their server(s), thereby giving you a “place” on the internet. Until your website is on a server, it’s really just an exercise in coding and design. Once it’s finished it needs a site on the web hence – website. Without web hosting no one will be able to access your website, and bad web hosting can have disastrous results for your business.
This is where Traffic Radius can help you out.