What is a web host?

Most people today have seen web sites. They understand the concept, and can imagine what their own website might look like. It's the details, the actual process of getting their site up and running that is unclear. This article aims to shed some light on the mystery.

Where is your website?

First of all, your website will NOT be stored on your own computer. Think about it: if you have a standard dial-up Internet account, your site would only be accessible when your computer is connected to the net. Even if you have a cable or DSL connection, the speed would not be enough to handle more than a few visitors or "hits" at a time. Besides, would you want everyone in the world to have access to your own computer? Think of the security risk, not to mention the drag on your machine's performance if you had a lot of visitors.

Storing your website and making it accessible to visitors is the essence of what a host does. You might liken it to the owner of a shopping mall who leases storefront space to merchants. The store owners can concentrate on their own business without worrying about parking, restrooms, and the other logistics of running the mall.

What about my ISP?

You might be thinking, "Don't I already get this service from my Internet Service Provider (ISP)?" You probably do get some space for your web pages as part of your ISP account. The problem is, the address your visitors type to reach your site is going to be something like:

www.yourISP.com/users/~yourcompany.html

This doesn't look professional by today's standards.

The "free" web space provided by your ISP does not allow you to use your own domain, i.e., yourcompany.com.

 

A professional image

This is where a hosting service comes in. The host provides space on its computers for your own domain (yourcompany.com) and you'll also then be able to receive email at you@yourcompany.com, rather than you@yourISP.com. Again, this conveys a much more professional image to your clients, whether you even devote much energy to your actual website or not.

Note that you do not have to host your website with your ISP; the services are completely separate. In fact, you don't even need to have Internet access to host a website! At StarlightSite.com, we concentrate on hosting -- we do not offer dial-up connection services.

YourCompany.com

There is one final element you need to know about to complete the picture, and that is: domain registration. In order to use yourcompany.com -- this is called your domain -- you first have to register it. Before you do that, you'll have to search and see if anyone has already taken it, just as you'd do before registering a business name or trademark.

Again, this is a separate cost, and does not have to be provided by your ISP or your host. In this case, however, we do offer the service but it is not required that you register your name with us.

StarlightSite puts you on the world wide web

Where do you go from here?

First, register a domain. You can do this on your own or we can help you. Either way, the domain is registered to and owned by YOU.

Next, start designing your website. If you need help with this, contact our design partner, Fitch & Fitch.

Now you are ready to be on the web! Just sign up for a hosting account with StarlightSite.com. We will help you get set up and ready to go!

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