For any website to be available online, it has to be stored on some server / computer that is connected to the Internet. That server where you store your website is your host.
The host could be anywhere in the world but it has to have these simple things: Power, Internet connection, and Dedicated IP address.
If you are missing just one of those things, your website will not be available online.
- Power source
It is a necessary element for the website to be available online all the time. Just like with many things we use in day-to-day life, if you don’t have the power supply it simply won’t work.
- Internet connection is infrastructure that you need to connect with others. If you have your website on a computer without internet connection, it is the same as having your business on a deserted island without any connection with a land. You are existing on an island, but nobody can reach you.
- IP address is literally an address of your website. IP is short for “Internet Protocol” and it is a numerical set of instructions that provide communication, identification and location system for any computer that is connected to the internet. A “Dedicated IP” simply means that the address does not change with each connection.
You might think, I could get my own dedicated IP address at home and host a website on my own computer.
But what about if your power or internet goes down and you need to reboot your computer? All of the sudden your website won’t be available to anyone.
To solve this problem web hosting companies own and operate dedicated machines that exists solely to serve website. Servers are located in specialized building called data centers. Data centers have all necessary features to make your site available 24/7/365.
Hosted website or blog?
You could hear these terms and might think that this is the same thing as the website hosting. However, these terms are different from what we call “web hosting”.
In this case the hosting and most of its related functionalities are done by the third party company. You usually get the tool / software to create your website but restricted to the functionality offered by that company.
Another downside of the hosted solutions is that you can’t move your website anywhere else and it could be difficult to expand. More about that later.