Web hosting - Do I need it and why?


Hi all,

Hope you are all well :)

So I am taking the leap and setting up my own website - design is complete. So whats next - I have the domain I want to buy but then I found this funny thing web hosting... :icon_eek: Although I have designed a lot of websites the technical side I have left to my good friend a web developer - however he is on holiday in the middle of nowhere at the moment.

So my question to you guys is do I need it and why? Is there another way of setting up a website...?

Thank you for your help and time.

All the best

Sarah :icon_smile:
Well your website has to go somewhere and without hosting you cannot display it to the rest of the world. Shared hosting can cost around £30p.a, it just gives you space on a shared server where you can upload your website, this allows it to become visible online.

Hope that helps.
Think of it like a shop; your website and the design, content etc is what is inside your shop and the goods you're selling.

The domain you have bought is the address for your shop, but the hosting is the actual premises itself and the space for you to set your shop up. Without buying the hosting, there is no space and so the address simply leads you to a muddy field where no building work has started yet.
Actually it's more like a cup of tea. Your company is the teabag and all of the information for your site is the leaves inside it; designing your web site is like pouring on the hot water but unless you put it all in a cup (or 'host' it), it's just a big messy puddle that no one can drink/see in their web browser.

Yeah: that's better.
Haha some interesting views by Dave L and dedwardp but all three replies are correct.

I too didn't understand the concept of web hosting until a few months ago when I decided to make my own site. I've been working on websites for about a year now at work but I didn't know anything about how it worked behind the scenes.

I use a company called 1and1 for my web hosting and they do everything I need them to do. I don't have any experiences with any other hosters but I would be happy to hear people's opinions for my decisions in the future.

Good luck!
Host your own?

I would steer clear of justhost, I have had a lot of disruption using these guys and they are based in the states with an asian chat support team. Can't wait to switch from them.

evohosting seem to be spot on so far. I have set up a site for a family member on there and the control panel seems so much smoother and faster.
Yea you need web hosting if you want to have your website.. er.. hosted!
1and1 is who I go with, they're reliable and cheap. Theres a link to them on my signature...
Actually it's more like a sandwich: your website is like a jar of peanut butter which, although delicious, attractive and full of little crunchy nuts of information, is essentially laying dormant and inaccessible in the jar until such time as as you spread it on a couple of slices of bread from someone else's loaf or 'host' it. As has been said, some hosts are better for you than others (e.g. fresh wholemeal or granary), but SmartPrice thin sliced white is cheaper.

Yeah: that's better.
ok people, a host is a computer, somewhere on the interconnected network (internet).

most providers make you share a computer (but you wont know that).
Good web host providers

Hi Sarah

I have used many different web hosts in the past and found that there are plenty of cheap ones out there, but depends on what services they offer in the packages.

Try these - 1&1 hosting, Gator Host, Brinkster, CCS Leeds

I'd recommend Hostgator.com
They've been fantastic and have live technical and sales support and no language barrier that I can detect.
Or dare I say it... local hosting. I have a couple of sites on 123 and 1and1 and also our local guys... Sys3internet.
We normally use the land analogy to explain it too.

Your land is the hosting, the web design is the house/shop, and the domain name is the address.

If you don't have a good address, people might not find you.

If your house/shop looks shoddy, people will quickly leave.

And if your land is dodgy, your house/shop might collapse!

So it's worth investing in all 3.

If you're looking to host a UK based website, then it's certainly best to go with a UK host.
You'll find SEO and performance benefits with using a server that's UK based, as google ranks .co.uk sites hosted on a UK server higher (which makes sense), and most of your visitor's requests won't have to go as far. - to continue the analogy, if your land is kazakhstan instead of kent it'll take longer to get there!

You'll also benefit from having support available during your waking hours.

I hope that helps!

Good luck.
Im trying to set myself up as a freelance graphic designer, so i want a website. I have heard wordpress is good. (i don't understand dreamweaver, or much about the technical side of things)

Should i buy a domain first? or a host first? What does wordpress actually allow you to do, ie, could i design how i want my website to look like in illustrator/photoshop then put it onto wordpress??

Thanks for your time
Your domain name is the name of your site. (I bought mine first at Daily.co.uk | UK Domain names | VPS hosting company)
You will pay a small fee for the registration of your domain name usually on a yearly basis.

You then need to find a host (mine is Hostgator.com and I also use Siteground.com), who will hold your site on it's big server. Again, they will charge you for 'hosting' your site on a monthly/annual basis.

You then need to follow your host's instructions (they have walkthroughs) as to how install Wordpress. Most hosts have this as an automated feature - if in doubt call them and talk to them.
Wordpress doesn't live on your computer, it lives on their's.

Once Wordpress is installed, then you can go and search for a theme, which is effectively the pretty bit that dresses up the nuts and bolts 'engine' that is Wordpress. This theme is then uploaded into Wordpress and then you start bringing in your content (text and images.) These images will follow the style of the theme.
It is possible to tweak a theme, but if unsure - leave it alone.

If this is potentially sounding too technical then there are companies who can set it up for you for a fee, but it's really not that difficult.

Does that help?

(My website is built on Wordpress.)

yes it does thanks.
I would like to try and do it myself. I was initially thinking of a flash website as its a portfolio of my work, but i understand that if you build a flash site and you put a search for your site on google it wont come up? and the only way to do this is to use dreamweaver as it uses html? Is this correct.
Which would you say is better, building your site in dreamweaver or using wordpress?
I have some tutorials for dreamweaver, so i could do it that way but it would take time.
It's not that your website won't come up if it is flash, it is just harder work to get it noticed by search engines. If you want a flash site then something like moonfruit might be an option as a half-way house and their html alternative delivery is pretty sound.

Wordpress is fine if you stick with a template 'out of the box'. Hacking them starts to get complicated and you will need some coding knowledge to do that.

Your last question is a trade-off. Wordpress is pretty easy to set up with a template. If you want a (decent) bespoke design then you'll need to learn some code. Dreamweaver is just a (albeit very powerful) development tool. Don't get sucked into the 'it will build my website for me' trap.
im leaning more towards a flash site at the moment, (none of the layouts in moonfruit are really grabbing me) i've got some really good tutorials for it. Is it at all possible to enable a flash site to come up in a google search more easily?

many thanks