Web Hosting is the service of physically hosting your website files on a commercial grade computer called a
server. A server houses multiple services within it, including a web server to serve up webpages, a mail
server to manage email, and more.
Servers are maintained by hosting companies and by systems administrators (Sysadmins). They keep the
server's operating system up to date and running smoothly. They also install and maintain tools used by
web developers, such as PHP and MySQL and others.
Once hosting is set up and the domain name for a website is updated accordingly, other servers in the
world will now know to ask your hoster's server for your website files when someone types in your web
address (URL). The server you're hosted on then serves up your webpages so they can be viewed on
someone's computer. The server also keeps track of how many times it showed a webpage or file in
the statistics log.
Email is often included as a part of web hosting- You're able to have email@example.com.
Web hosters manage the complicated business of keeping email accounts sending and receiving.
Click here for more about email.
Hosters can also set up SSL certificates - the service that makes the locked padlock
show up on your browser to indicate a secure encrypted transaction.
Hosters also work on the bigger picture - protecting all accounts on the server from constant
outside attacks that might prevent the server from working.