What Exactly Is Web Hosting?

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This question How to Start an Internet Business is being asked by one of the students in the class. This is a creative and smart question that needs to be answered to not only students but also to every small business person.

Let me try to answer this question in a layman's language and metaphors. So, for those of you who are a bit above novice level propeller head status can skip this.

I'll bet that the computer that you're reading this on most likely has a modem. That means that if I needed to access a file on your computer all I would need to do is to have my computer's modem dial the telephone number that you're computer modem is connected to. I could instruct my computer modem to download any file that resides on your computer's hard drive. That is an oversimplification of what happens when you surf the Web.

In this scenario your computer becomes a host and my computer becomes a client in techno speak. So in its most elementary form your computer has become a host server (Web server). Now the problem occurs when more than one person needs to access the information on your computer at the same time. The second person would get a busy signal when they dialed in. In order for a host to service multiple clients at the same time requires some pretty high-tech hardware, multiple phone lines, and of course some protection to keep the hackers off of your computer.

You could install all of this high-tech software on to your home computer but it wouldn't be very practical as it would cost you thousands of dollars and your home computer would not likely be powerful enough to be able to perform the high-speed tasks of serving up thousands of files at the same time.

Down the street there are a couple of techie nerd types who have set up very sophisticated high-speed computer hardware. This hardware are called a servers in techno speak. When this technology is connected to hundreds of phone lines these folks rent out space on these high-speed servers to folks like you and I who are Webmasters. This service is called Web hosting. It is quite expensive to set up and has a significant overhead attached every month. Most legitimate Web hosts charge a nominal fee to each Webmaster each month. Some as low as $6.95 per month.

But some of these techie nerds claim offer you free web hosting. Now maybe they are parting with their personal assets on some religious mission to make the globe a better place to live. But I rather doubt it. They are going to find some way to monetize a return on their investment. So whenever you see the word free, grab your wallet and slowing back away.

The techie nerds are going to find a way to monetize providing these services somehow. Almost always their monetization strategy includes serving advertising to the visitors to your free website. For those of you, who attended our "Teaching on the Internet" class and the "How to Start an Internet Business" class who have created a free Angelfire site in the class exercise already know how that system works.

So, in order for your website to exist, your customers are going to have to put up with annoying ads . . . pop-up ads, pop under ads, porn ads, ads of every sort to entice your visitors to click on the ads rather than read your content. Generally speaking the services are okay for a Web site for your friends and family or a hobby site. But you'll get laughed at if you try to make a serious ecommerce business on a free server. Web hosting is available all over the place for $6.95 per month.

Eric

Eric Ihde takes a hands-on approach to community education. (un true). He has wide experience in business and in meeting the practical needs of educators. Since founding GrowthEducation , Eric has worked extensively with community colleges and other community education centers.

Due to his extensive experience in community education, he has been able to guide GrowthEducation toward offering the ideal combination of benefits that community colleges need for greater success. His goal for our courses is to bring students courses designed to fulfill specific needs and teach practical skills. The courses are designed to supplement the curriculum colleges already provide to aid students in achieving their career and personal goals. You can reach him at eric@growthedu.com.

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