So, imagine you’re a domain name, you’ve been born (registered) and your given name is davethedomain.co.uk. You exist but nothing more. If you want a home and address then you need a house\flat. This is hosting - where you live. You can think of your furniture as your website and email.
Websites are hosted on servers, but let's think of these as streets containing houses. If we look at the housing market from most to least expensive we’d generally find your mansions first. All alone on own private land, fancy and exclusive, loads of space and costing a couple of million quid. This is what is known in the industry as dedicated hosting. Your website hosted on it’s very own server. This would be wonderful for every website but is sadly out of reach for most website owners and if you're only a small website then it’s not really necessary to rattle around an empty mansion all day on your own.
Most websites are hosted on shared servers. If a website has a house, then a shared server is a street. Just like our streets, website streets come in many shapes and sizes.
You can host a website incredibly cheaply these days, but without understanding what you’re paying for it’s hard to understand why you’d pay more. I’ll attempt to stretch my analogy here to cover this!
Picture a busy victorian terraced street on a busy road that wasn't really built for the volume of traffic and is a bit of an accident blackspot. Then imagine that your website lives in one of these houses. You expect some visitors, but the traffic is terrible and it takes them an age to reach you. Once there they have to fight with your neighbours’ visitors for limited parking. By the time they’ve knocked on your door they’re already frustrated! You’re living on a cheap hosting street. The buildings are old, full and you may get the odd power cut.
Upgrade to the suburbs, move into a nice detached in a peaceful cul de sac and suddenly your website’s life is looking easier. And what's more your visitors are much happier. They can find you quickly, never hit any traffic and parking is plentiful. They ring your bell with a smile on their face and are much more interested in what you have to say. It’s still shared hosting, but on a better server, shared with fewer other websites and delivered to you securely and efficiently via faster more robust connections.
If you were confused about what hosting was and why you should be paying for it before, hopefully that’s made some sense and is at least a little clearer. If you have any questions we’d be happy to answer them and should you decide it's time to “move house” then the good news is it's really easy. If you'd like us to help you with your move then you’ll find us the easiest estate agent you’ve ever dealt with.