I have been building websites for a while now and have tried out several hosting plans and have also built a few websites on my machine before uploading them to a web hosting server. So I recently wondered to myself, Is hosting really that necessary? or is it a ploy to get me to spend money on a service that I could otherwise handle myself. Based on my experience, and I set out to do some research to uncover the truth and here is what I found.
Can I run A website without hosting? To effectively run a website, that will be visible to all users around the world, you need to host it on a web hosting server and have a domain name that points to that web hosting server. Your PC can be configured to work like a server and you can use it to serve up your website. However, you will need to ensure that the PC is always on and consistently connected to a reliable internet connection to guarantee that the website will be served consistently whenever a person enters your domain name. In this post, I am going to explain how web hosting works and why it is essential for you to run your website using good and reliable web hosting services.
How web hosting works
Web Hosting is a service where a high powered computer called a server is specially configured to be constantly connected to the internet and to serve up web pages and run email functions in a secure and flexible environment. To run effectively, a web server needs special software that help in managing files, databases and processes and share the server resources among the different requests that are made to it every minute.
Your website files cannot be displayed effectively from your computer to the rest of the internet because of connectivity, hardware and configuration issues. This means that you need to upload website files from your computer to the web server and place them in such a way that they will be found every time someone enters your domain name.
Here is a simple video explanation of how web hosting works.
How a web server is different from a normal PC
Even though servers and pc seem to have the same specs, they are really different and below is a list of some key differences.
- Though server hardware and PC hardware components seem to have similar specs, server components are drastically more expensive.
- The hardware in a server is more rigorously tested than the Hardware in a PC. The reason for this is that you generally need a server to be more reliable than a PC since any loss of data there can be potentially catastrophic
- Server hardware is designed with very different user needs like reliability, redundancy, and compatibility with other servers as compared to the PC hardware.
- Servers run on different operating systems from normal pcs. The server operating systems are created with efficiency and performance in mind compared to pc operating systems that have to balance visual appeal with performance.
Why web hosting is essential to run your website
You need web hosting to run your website since without it, you will be unable serve your website to people around the world in an efficient way. The alternative to hosting your website on a web server is storing it on your computer and this is not the most efficient way of serving up a website.
In addition to this, you will be unable to connect your computer to a domain name since you will need to have NameServer details to connect your website to the domain name.
How to turn your pc into a web hosting server
Though it is not advisable, you can host a website on your pc by turning your PC into a server. You can do this by following the following video
Running your website on a budget
Instead of hosting your website on your pc, a better alternative is hosting your website on a budget hosting plan that has a bit of restriction but will run more reliably than your own PC. A great option for this is hostPoa who provide web hosting in Kenya for as low as KSh499.
Alternatively, you can invest in getting a good hosting plan for your account with deepAfrica Web Hosting. We have web hosting packages that are customized for website development and that have all the resources you will need to successfully run your website without any downtimes and without having to think about the background processes that help keep your website online.
Other services provided by hosting companies
Its easy to think that web hosting companies are charging for services that you could otherwise do yourself but you would be wrong. As I have shown above, the servers provided by web hosting companies are quite different from normal PCs and this makes web hosting companies useful in that regard. On top of this, below are a few other services that web hosting companies provide that would be a bit difficult to do yourself.
The web hosting company managing your hosting plan performs maintenance of the servers ensuring that they are running at the most up-to-date software and resources.
Web Hosting companies also provide online security updates and scans that ensure that your website is safe and online at all times. They routinely scan accounts for malware and security vulnerabilities that could potentially bring down your website.
There are times that your website will go down due to something you have done or a misconfiguration between your website and the server
Your server is likely to experience some malfunction at one point or another. If you were the one in charge of managing your website, you would need to wake up in the middle of the night to manage a server outage or something else that may happen to your server.
Other Support Services
Web Hosting companies also perform other support services like creating email accounts, dealing with spamming, and other administrative services that you would have to do if you were running your website from your machine