What is web hosting, really? Why should you care?
Typically, if we use the word “hosting,” it has to do with a party, right? We’re hosting a brunch, a bat mitzvah, or a bachelor party.
What is website hosting? Is this an online party for websites? Is there a cover charge? Well…it’s not a party, but it is a bit like an event center, and there IS a cover charge.
Every image, every webpage, every social media platform on the Internet has to be hosted.
But what does this mean? Is it like a foreign exchange student?
The thing to understand is the Internet is a giant virtual filing cabinet. Or, if you prefer, a big event center with an endless hallway and nearly infinite rooms to hold the party that is your website.
A lot of people understand that they need hosting for their website. They pay for it, so they know there’s a fee associated, but that’s generally where the understanding ends.
So, if we’re sticking with the event center analogy, your website needs a room or locker, and at the very very least, a file folder in the event center, and you have to rent it … by the year. That room (or locker) has a specific address. I’ll bet you’re thinking the address is your domain name, right? That would be a swing and a miss; the domain name is more of a shortcut or an easier way of saying your site’s address, a nickname! The real address is called DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System or Server. You see, all of the addresses for all of the websites (yes, all of them) are numerical. They generally look like this: 220.127.116.11. Let’s face it, that’s not very marketable or memorable.
DNS allows those numerical addresses to be translated to words, i.e., your domain name. If we’re honest, since cell phones have saved everyone’s info, no one can even remember your phone number, let alone your website number. You need words that relate to your company name or the service you provide. It’s hard to relate numbers to search results. If you’re looking for the freshest donuts in Galveston, Texas, you’ll type words in a Google search bar, not an unrelatable number. What number would that be? Zero? Eight? A baker’s dozen? See, it just doesn’t work.
Your domain name (also called a URL: Uniform Resource Locator) is composed of the relevant words you pick to help folks find you; btw, you’ll rent that yearly too. Hosting is the rental of the room, the locker, or the file folder on the Internet where your website lives.
But what does that mean: where my website lives?
Your website is a large collection of many types of data. Of course, it contains the photos and copy you can clearly see, but it also contains an inordinate amount of code. Even the simplest of websites have pages and pages of code that tell the computers of the world how to display any given webpage. Web pages —for instance, your about page— are not just photographs and words; they start off blank, and then with code, we explain what colors to display, what fonts to use, what size those fonts are, what images to display, how big those images should be, where on the page precisely by dimensions the images should stay, where functional buttons or links should be, and a plethora of other very nerdy details. The more complex a website is, the more pages of code.
All of those lines of code, images, and files need to be contained in the same place on the internet so that your website can load quickly. Otherwise, it would be like trying to bake a cake with the ingredients scattered all over your neighborhood; you’d drop the eggs on the way to get the flour. That’s why you need hosting (and a pantry and a refrigerator too). Your host provides the space on the Internet for all of the code, images, and files to live.
No ingredients, no cake. No host, no visible website.
Why host with Gravity Junction?
In essence, we keep the space that your website lives in clean. We make sure that the space is large enough to hold all of your data, and if your data outgrows your space, we help you expand it. Part of hosting with Gravity Junction also means that your website files and the software that makes your website work properly will be regularly updated.
You’re probably wondering why that’s important?
The Internet is an ever-evolving digital organism; because of that, keeping your data safe, keeping your customers’ data safe, and making sure your website displays properly across hundreds of devices, and dozens of screen sizes requires constant attention.
We pay attention.
Inexpensive hosting from large corporations will get you a sliver of space in someone else’s locker. At Gravity Junction, your website is in its own room (this is called dedicated hosting) that’s the right size for your website.
Why does that matter?
It has everything to do with how fast your site loads when someone types in your domain name. When you don’t have enough resources to display your pages and your images quickly (and we mean super quickly), Google will penalize you by ranking faster sites above yours.
Your hosting (your room on the Internet for your website to live) is vital to the health and performance of your website. Big box hosting companies do provide dedicated hosting like we do at Gravity Junction, but they charge premium fees.
At Gravity Junction, we build your site for performance and then ensure your dedicated hosting plan is maintained and positioned for the same optimum performance.