What is Hosting?

I sent my hosting invoices out a few weeks ago and got a good question from a client: what is this bill?

The first inclination of my client was to say that she already paid for the domain name… the yearly GoDaddy bill.

Background: since all my clients choose to pay for their hosting on a yearly basis to save money and save me extra billing paperwork, this client has been happily running her site for a year, and this invoice seemed to come out of nowhere.

Here’s my response, and my summary of what hosting means:

GoDaddy is who you pay to buy (to lease or to rent, really) your domain name, and your domain name is where people find you on the ‘net: yourcompany.com or yourname.net etc. Hosting is the service that allows your site to exist on the web. Web sites need both.

All web sites need a computer somewhere — a “home” — to run on. Hosting is what this is called, and I lease a computer at a data center (big warehouse full of large noisy server computers) that runs your site, making it accessible on the internet.

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