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What is a Web Host? (For Total Newbies!)

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Last Updated on February 7, 2021 by Kelly Thoreson

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When I first started my blog I had no F’ing idea what a blog host was, let alone how to pick the right one!

I thought…

What the hell is a web host?

Why do I need one?

How do I pick the right web host?

If I pick the wrong web host is my blog going to fail?

Does this sound like you right now?

Keep reading cause I’m about to take you from 100% confused to 100% light bulb moment and help you pick the right host for your new blog.

What is a Web Host?

If a website were a traditional brick and mortar business:

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the web host would be the land you put the building on.

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Websites need big ass computers called servers to store all the information needed to run them.

Web hosting companies have banks of servers that you can pay to rent space on.

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When you pay a web hosting company to store your website’s data on their servers, it is called hosting.

What Else Does a Web Host Do?

Here’s what you can expect from any web host worth your hard-earned dime:

  • Email service
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Site transfers
  • WordPress install assistance

Email Service

Your website is your business and as such, there’s no excuse for emailing your readers from [email protected] You know what I’m talkin’ about.

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You can expect your host to offer email service so you can be all sorts of professional with an email like [email protected]

Read my Best Web Hosting Comparison (In Plain English) to make sure the host you’re considering offers a free email service.

24/7 Customer Service

Yes, 24/7 customer service from your web host should be a requirement, not an extra.

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You never know when you’re gonna accidentally hit the wrong button on the keyboard and delete something that took you months to create, and at that moment you’re going to want someone to call that can help you recover your backup.

Site Transfers

Maybe you already have a website and you’re looking for a new host? Look for one that will help you transfer your site over!

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In my Best Web Hosting Comparison (In Plain English) I lay out for you which web hosting companies come with free site transfers and which do not.

WordPress Install Assistance

If you’re not using WordPress, you should be (unless you know code in which case – go hog wild cowboy).

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Installing WordPress should be easy and with a good web hosting company, it is. Most of them will offer one-click WordPress installs that any beginner can handle.

Click here to learn which web hosts offer one-click WordPress installs and which don’t.

Types of Web Hosting Available

Web hosts will offer different types of hosting: shared, dedicated, or VPS. For most blogs and small businesses, shared web hosting is the right place to start. Let’s look at the three options below.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting means that the big ass computer (server) that stores your website also stores other websites.

This makes shared web hosting the cheapest of the three types of web host

If you are a small-medium sized business or starting a blog, you will be just fine with shared web hosting.

Dedicated Web Hosting

If your business is larger, you may want to look into dedicated web hosting.

This means that the server your website is stored on is used for nothing else. This generally means more security and speed, but also much greater costs.

VPS Web Hosting

There is mid-point between shared and dedicated hosting, and it is called Virtual Private Server hosting, aka VPS.

VPS hosting still means you share your server with other websites, but you’re sharing them with fewer sites than a shared server. It is more expensive than shared hosting but less expensive than dedicated hosting.

How to Pick the Right Web Host for You

I have a whole guide for beginners for just this purpose. Picking a web host can be confusing, so I broke everything down in plain English. Check it out here.


Web hosting is necessary for starting a website, but it doesn’t have to be a mystery.

Now that you understand what a web host is and why you need one, you can get on with starting your new website!

If you’re looking for extra support while you start your blog, I’d love to have you in my free Facebook group. In the group, you can get your super-specific blogging questions answered and enjoy a badass supportive community!

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