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What is Web Site Hosting

ALL websites and individual web pages need to reside on a computer that is connected to the Internet.  This computer is called a “web server” and is specifically configured to receive web page requests from browsers on other Internet connected computers, and then find and deliver the desired page. 

Contemporary web servers are powerful machines that can simultaneously handle the needs of multiple websites.  For example, one web server can easily handle the needs of over a thousand independent single page websites.  This extensive capacity has given birth to an industry where a company will own and operate large capacity web servers and then rent or lease space on those servers to multiple clients for use by individual websites.  Thus the companies that own the servers “host” the websites for others, and are referred to as “web hosting providers”.  The company that manages the equipment where your webpages reside is your hosting provider.
These massive web servers are located in commercial data centers that provide "ping, power, and pipe".  The ping means that computers are accessed remotely for management, the power is the electricity, and the pipe is the connection to the Internet. These data centers are specifically designed for high reliable operations, which includes redundant power sources, backup power generators, redundant high speed network connections, redundant cooling (HVAC) systems, and standby servers.
The hosting industry provides for a wide range of service options and costs that range from free to several thousand dollars per month.  It all depends upon your specific needs. Primary factors that impact cost include the size of your website, how much disk storage is required, how busy your website is and how much bandwidth it consumes, and how much CPU resources it requires.  Large, complex, busy websites therefore naturally cost more to host than rarely accessed single page websites.  Another factor that impacts cost is how much control you desire to have over the supporting resources your website uses.  You can read more about these options in Hosting Service Options.
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