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Website Hosting - Introduction
Published: Sunday, November 23, 2003


How the internet works?
Internet or world wide web (www) is a network of computers that are connected to each other. The companies that provide this network are known as the Internet Service Providers (ISP). The computers, that host websites, share their web files (web pages, images, flash etc.) so that anyone can access them from anywhere in the world when connected to the internet. This file sharing is achieved by a software know as the web server software. The most common web server software are Apache and Windows IIS (Internet Information Server).

Users access the websites on the internet by sending requests to the internet. The software used to make these requests is known as a web client. Most commonly used web client is a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Netscape or Opera.

Why do you need web hosting?
To make your website available to the internet community, the website files need to be hosted on a web server. A web server is a powerful computer, which can accomodate thousands of requests for your website pages. A web server has to be connected to the internet all day and night so that users can access it anytime. A web hosting provider is a company that sells space on these web servers to website owners like you. They provide a full-time, high-bandwidth connection to the internet, so that visitors can access your site easily.

Reasons for not hosting a website on your home computer:
  1. Server and server software (web server, mail server, firewall, virus protection etc.) can be expensive.

  2. The server needs a 24/7 high speed connection to the internet, which is relatively costly.

  3. Setting up all the configurations including mail server, FTP server and DNS server can be complicated.

  4. Server maintenance requires 24 hour support, special skills and knowledge.

Now-a-days web hosting is very cheap (usually starting from under $5/month) due to intense competition in the web hosting industry. There are free web hosting companies also, however, they are not recommended for professional or company websites. The free web hosts will recover their costs by showing ads on your website, and provides less flexibility in terms of having your own domain names and email addresses.
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