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Internet 101: Website Hosting – What It Is, What It Costs, and More!

For many small businesses, their website is like health insurance:

They don’t really understand how it works; they just have it and pay for it because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

But it’s good to know a little bit about websites and the internet that those websites are on. So put on your learning hat, people, because we’re taking you to school.

Today’s subject: website hosting.


Web host – It’s where the party’s at.

Just like a party-host houses a party, a website host houses your website. The place where your website is stored isn’t really so different from the hard drive in your computer. If you don’t know what the hard drive in your computer is…it’s like a filing cabinet, but digital. And on the internet.

We all on the same page? Good.

With the internet, this place where your website is hosted is called a server. A server is really just a computer that people can access over a network. In other words, you can see files on the computer without having to physically be on the computer that holds them.

Couldn’t I just host my website from my computer?

Theoretically, you could host a website from any computer connected to the internet, but that wouldn’t be a good idea. Web hosting servers are generally dedicated to hosting websites. They have direct connections to the internet, they have backup systems in case something goes wrong, and they can handle a lot of traffic.

They’re also designed to be secure.

Things can still go wrong, but a professional grade server is a must for any serious website.

So is my website floating around in space? Is it in the “cloud”?

When people say “the cloud”, that’s just marketing silliness. All internet information is stored on a physical server. And those servers are all connected by landlines. Yes, even across oceans.

internet-ocean-mapWe may have WiFi to broadcast internet short distances, but the internet is ultimately a physical network. And web servers are connected directly to that physical network.

Crazy, huh?

So what kind of hosting do I need?

There are a lot of options out there for web hosting, and it can all get a little confusing. Some places like Shopify or Squarespace are self-hosting platforms. That means if your website is built using their tools, it’ll be hosted there as well.

Most websites, however, need to be hosted elsewhere.

At LaunchRunner, all of our websites are built on WordPress (the most popular website platform), and we host them on servers specifically designed for WordPress websites. That means faster speeds, smoother loading, and almost non-existent downtime.

But wait, there’s more hosting.

We should mention that in addition to website hosting, there are things like domain hosting and email hosting. Your web address (www.yoursite.com) is hosted in its own location like GoDaddy.com or another domain registrar. 

Email hosting can be handled a number of ways, but once again, its important to understand this is generally separate from your web hosting.

I don’t care. Just put my website on the inter-webs.

Because business owners are very busy people and the internet can be a very confusing place, we try to make websites simple. That’s why we offer web design packages that include website hosting, as well as domain and email setup, if needed.

That way, you don’t really have to understand how it works because we make it work for you.

You just need to focus on your business. We’ll handle the web stuff. Contact us today!