Working with a web agency can sometimes feel like speaking another language. Talk to a developer long enough and you’ll hear terms like themes, plugins, backups, ip addresses, and more. If you’ve ever thought about, or currently have, a website you have likely heard of hosting. However, that term might be unclear to you. Using an analogy will help you understand and visualize what hosting is.
Your Website as a House
At its most basic level all a website needs is a domain and a host. Using an analogy, the house is your web hosting, and the address is your domain name. When you make a request, your browser uses to the domain name to know how to get to your ‘house’ or website. Once your request resolves, the website loads from the computer it’s loaded to.
A domain is your website address. For example, legendarylion.com is a domain name. Domains have many extensions from .net to .org, but far and away the most common extension is .com.
A domain name is like the address on your house. It’s a unique address that belongs to you only. But a domain is only one of half of the equation. A domain is the address, but what about all the images and content that you want users to see? Where is that stored?
Having an address doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have a place to store your “stuff”. Hosting is the house that stores all your files so that you’re website can be seen by others. Every file that makes up your site from images to text need to be stored somewhere. Hosting is the house that stores all of this information.
The analogy of a house is further seen in the maintenance of hosting. Part of the cost of hosting is regular maintenance. In both homes and websites regular maintenance is required to ensure your website is secure and functioning. On a house it may be fixing the roof or installing solar panels. On a website this includes, but is not limited to, running backups and updating plugins.
The next time you’re scrambling to remember what hosting is, just remember the analogy of a house and you’ll have a better idea on how it works.