A Newbie’s Guide to Web Hosting

November 2nd, 2007 by

Hi Everyone,

As this is my first blog post, I think it’s only appropriate that I introduce myself – Esther Josiah and I’m the Marketing Assistant here at UK2. Cool, we’ve got the formal stuff out of the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Not too long ago, Web Hosting, Domain Names and Dedicated Servers were all new terms to me and I remember feeling quite frustrated that I couldn’t find “non-techie” information on what they all meant.

I did get round to understanding it all, which is why I thought there might be people like me out there who are utterly confused at how inaccessible the whole process seems. The good news is Web Hosting is not as difficult as these tech-savvy guys want us to believe, it’s actually quite easy to understand.

My colleague Esben once explained these terms to me using property development. Imagine you want to build a house, first you need to buy a plot of land which is the address for that house, then you need to build the house using bricks, wood etc. Finally you need to put in the furniture and fittings.

The plot of land

What is a Domain Name?

The address of that house (i.e. plot of land) can be like a Domain Name. A Domain Name e.g. www.uk2.net is the address you give to people which they use to find your website on the internet. You type a domain name in the browser’s address bar to go to a specific website.

How do I get a Domain Name?

It is very easy to buy a Domain Name, first decide on the name you want. You might want to choose a domain name that is the same as your real name, related to your business or just something funky or interesting. Often, people choose a domain name that reflects the purpose of their website.

Once you’re sure of the domain name you want, you need to register and host it. This is know as Domain Name Registration & Hosting.

Domain Name Registration allows you to reserve a domain so that no one else can register it, you can do this via http://www.uk2.net/domains/. Domain name hosting on the other hand allows you to use a domain, For instance without domain name hosting you will not have access to DNS.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. Because domain names are alphabetic (e.g. www.uk2.net) they’re easier for humans to remember, however, the internet can only recognise a website based on its numerical address.

DNS helps the internet translate a domain name into its corresponding numerical address (also known as an IP address) so that the internet can direct you to the website you have requested.

The House

What is Web Hosting?

Back to Esben’s story, Web Hosting can be like the house itself where you put your furniture and fittings. A website is made up of files (html, graphics etc) and to make your website accessible to people online, you need to store those files on a computer connected to the internet (imagine storing your word, excel and powerpoint doc in a folder on your desktop).

The computer used to store these files is called a web server. A web server is different from a normal desktop PC because it is of a much higher specification and it is connected to the internet through a very powerful and secure connection link.

The process of storing your website files and making your website accessible to users online is known as Web Hosting.

At UK2 we have two web hosting packages – Complete and Plus and they come with various specifications. The main difference in these packages are in their allocated webspace and monthly traffic.

What is a Webspace?

This is the allocated storage space for all the files that make up your website. So if you want a high content website with lots of pages, you might want to consider getting our Plus Web Hosting package which has up to 15,000MB webspace.

What is Monthly Traffic?

This is the total amount of data your website can transmit to users each month.

For instance, if the total size of your website is 10KB, and one user visits your website, you have used up 10KB of your allocated monthly bandwidth. If 10 users visit your website, you have used up 100KB of your allocated monthly bandwidth.

The Furniture

The files and graphics that make up your website are the furniture and fittings, and your store them on your webspace!

Obviously there’s a lot more to web hosting and I’ll love to write as much as I know but I’m pretty sure you’ll get bored after a while of reading. I just hope this at least will help you get started on the very basics. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good Luck!

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# 5th November, 2007

Hi Esther,

Great post, really makes things easier to understand in terms most people know. I’ll be pointing people who ask me ‘what is web hosting’ here in the future!

— Christian

# 5th November, 2007

yeah, good one Esther !
We should actually link to it from our webhosting welcome mails that we send out to clients signing up?


Esther Josiah
# 5th November, 2007

That’s a good idea D ๐Ÿ™‚

I was thinking how about having a “newbie’s page” on the website instead. It’s probably arguable that if you’ve already bought a web hosting package then you know the basics.

By having a page like this, we can target those that are just getting started and looking for information, and Christian can link people to the page (which will have more info) instead of the blog.

I guess that depends on Esben’s workload though ๐Ÿ™‚

# 5th December, 2007

Hi Esther,

That was a good article, indeed! It makes it so easy for a newbie to understand what web hosting and domain name are all about. When I was a newbie, I used to wonder about the difference between a domain name and web hosting. I wish I had read your article then. It would have made things so much more easier for me then.

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