Skip to content

What is Web Hosting? Web Hosting For Dummies

Web Hosting For Dummies

“Web hosting? What’s that?” This is probably the question I hear most from people I meet – sadly even people who have, or need, web hosting.

It seems like, with the march of technology, there’s always something new we need to learn: Myspace, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, blogging, Instagram . . . the list goes on and on.

Thankfully, most of these services do all of the behind-the-scenes stuff automatically, leaving us to just work out how to do the fun stuff like creating content and laughing at the latest memes.

But one of these social media services requires something a little more. Blogging requires you to understand that behind-the-scenes stuff so many other platforms take care of for you – even if it’s just to know the difference between a self-hosted blog and a hosted blog.

The Key to Blogging: Always Be Learning

Anyone who has had a blog for any length of time knows there’s always something to tinker with, something to fix, something to make better – and there’s always pressure to go “self-hosted”.

Self-hosted blogs do have some advantages over free (or hosted) blogs (e.g. or, but self-hosted blogs also bring with them another new technology to learn: Web Hosting.

Fortunately, most of the technical aspects of web hosting is automated and, for the most part, you don’t NEED to dig in to your hosting account and mess with it.  However, web hosting accounts have some fantastic features which can really help with improving your site – and your brand.

There is way too much to go into everything a hosting plan provides right here, but for now, here’s an overview of some key benefits you get from going self-hosted, which many people don’t know about: email, statistics, and password protection.

Creating an Email with Your Own Domain

Having a web hosting account means you can have email addresses @yourdomain. So, if your domain is, you could have an email address of (Substituting myname for your name or whatever you wanted). And you don’t just get one email address either, so any contributors to your blog could have their own addresses. Using your domain name in your email address adds some legitimacy to your ‘brand’ and helps you promote your blog to anyone who sees your email address.

Another benefit of using your web hosting email is that you can create mailing lists, automatically forward emails to another address, and add in automatic responders to reply to emails for you.

Here is a guide to setting up an email address

Using Your Web Host Statistics

Your hosting account includes the facility to provide you with all kinds of statistics that external packages like Google Analytics don’t give. For example, if one page or image on your blog or website is particularly big, it can slow down your whole site. The statistics packages in your hosting account can help you identify which are the slower parts of your blog so you can fix them and create a better user experience.

Sometimes stats and knowing what to do with them can be overwhelming even for experienced bloggers.

Using Password Protection for Your Website

You can easily password protect your site (or certain areas of your site), using the built-in password protection from your web host. No need for plugins or anything like that, it’s already included with your account.

These are just a few of the features your hosting account comes with. Every host has its own special features, so log on to your hosting control panel today (you should have been sent login details when you signed up) and see what there is on offer.

Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Cloud Hosting Comparison

There are lots of different types of hosting (update: see hosting reviews here) available and depending upon your own requirements it can often be difficult to find the right host for you. I personally use and recommend Hostgator for beginner bloggers and this infographic will show you where to find the right type of hosting for your needs.

Quick update (2016): I recently found a legitimate web hosting review site.

Another update (2017): Here’s another great comparison of top WordPress hosts (according to speed & uptime).

12 thoughts on “What is Web Hosting? Web Hosting For Dummies”

  1. This book is quite good but not that necessary for someone who just wants to blog.This is because of the fact that modern day web hosting providers have the most user friendly interface through which they can manage their websites.The best example is one click CMS installers such as Fantastico.

  2. Web hosting can be a significant expense for anyone. When you are looking for Web hosting online there are so many to choose from that it can be an overwhelming task to try to tone it down to a handful to consider. Did you know that there are some Web hosting providers that cost less than 5 dollars a month and you get the same reliability and customer support (if not better) as the most expensive Web hosting companies?

    There you will find a guide to finding the best inexpensive Web hosting providers. These Web hosts offer unlimited Web hosting space, unlimited disk transfer, unlimited databases, and the leading control panels with easy Website builders, templates, and they even offer free Google and Yahoo ad credits.

  3. This article is right. It’s better to have a self hosted website and customize the way you work to your needs. That way you may struggle with more difficulties, but you will have gained much more experience. It’s more fun as well. I’m really thinking of self-hosting my blog. Oh, and i love the For Dummies books.

  4. After more than three years of blogging I’ve finally started using my personalized email address. Yes, three years. *hangs head in shame*

    In my defense, I originally started with Blogger, so I just used After I switched to self-hosting I already had people using the Gmail address so it seemed a bad idea to switch over. I justified this by using for media & press contacts, as I thought it looked more professional.

    I must admit, however, that Gmail is more robust and, IMO, easier to use than my hosted email. You’re also only allowed a limited amount of space on your host, so I must be cognizant of how much mail I have stored.

  5. I have to agree that self-hosted blogs are the way to go. For me the self-hosted blog has to many advantages when compared to free or hosted blogs.

  6. I pay very close attention to the features and new features that my dedicated server provider puts out. They recently started a cheap file storage service that only costs a few pennies each month. I am using it now to store eBooks that I create for blogging. I try to utilize all of the features if possible even if the features are not that important. Great blog!

  7. That’s a massive bet given Nike’s dominance of the athletic-shoe business, where, for example, it owns half the running market and a whopping 92% of the U.S. basketball …

  8. One of the most important things for a bloq is unique content.
    Besides the people who read you blog it is also important for google to see that you add new content.
    Thanks for the great tips, en keep up the good work.

  9. I really enjoy self hosting , in the past I use blogs that were not self hosted and it is a big difference , there are so many more advantages when you have your own hosting account. thank you great post.

    1. I agree. I once hosted a web page but now I am back on third party hosting. Once I finish researching on the most valuable hosting services I will begin pursuing my plan to self-host.

Comments are closed.