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Please explain the basics of Web Hosting

This is aimed at the ‘newbie’ and will try and simplify the basics of website hosting. Often people starting out on the journey of taking their business online are inundated with terminology and expressions that are foreign to them. Added to this there seems to be a lack of courage to actually ask questions, usually as everyone else around them seems to be ‘in the know’.

Access to the internet and website hosting are supplied by an authorised Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP provides the gateway for your pc, or mobile device, to access the worldwide web (WWW) via a variety of methods that can ‘dial in’ to an exchange that provides access to data. NOTE: Always use an ISP that is registered with the ISPA (Internet Service Providers' Association).

A website is similar to having an electronic mini-publication of your business, products and services. The website is placed on a ISP’s web server and published. It can then be accessed by anyone around the world. Similar to publishing a book and having it in an electronic library down the road, yet the whole world has access and can read it.

There are a multitude of terms used in conjunction with this process, which you need to familiarise yourself with.


Data is a broad term that covers the transmission of electronic information, whether it be text, images, files, sound files or videos. Everything has its electronic data size measured in Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB) and Terabytes (TB). Usually a domain hosting account will include email accounts, so data transmission (called traffic) is monitored when someone looks at your website, or you send and receive emails (aelectronic form of written communication).


Bandwidth is the term used to define the volume of data that is transmitted to and from an hosting account. Bandwidth can be affected by the amount of traffic at peak operating hours e.g. 07:30 am to 17:30 pm. If there are massive amounts of traffic it could impact on the speed of data downloads (to your pc) and uploads (from your pc).

Disk Space

This is the amount of storage space that is available to you to hold (host) your website plus your email accounts’ information, i.e. how much shelf space you need in the library (Data Centre).

Data Centre

This is the ‘library’, except that this one contains banks of servers containing electronic data. It is located in Johannesburg and is a climatically controlled environment on secure premises. The data centre ensures that the servers have 24/7 electrical power supplied to them and protection from fire hazards, amongst other things.


A domain is the unique title of your website i.e. a name that belongs to you for as long as you renew it. It is renewed on an annual basis if you let it expire someone else will be able to purchase it. Domains are issued by various authorising bodies around the world. To read a more comprehensive article about choosing a domain, please click here.

If you would like to check if a domain name is available then please click here.


Once you have had a website developed or created your own, it must be placed into the ‘library’ so that others can see it too. This process is called hosting and essentially means that your website occupies a place on the ISP’s server that allows others access to view it. The process of making it available to be viewed globally is called ‘going live’.

If you would like to find out more about our hosting packages, then please click here. has very helpful sales and support staff who are always available to assist you on this journey. So please don’t hesitate to ask them questions when you are uncertain of how to proceed, or something doesn’t make sense. Contact them here.

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