What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a type of Internet service that allows individuals and organizations to make their Website accessible via the Internet. It is a service provided by some Internet Services Providers (ISP), but also a variety of professional companies solely dedicated to Web Hosting.

What do we mean by Building a Website?

Normally in creating or building a Website you must consider the initial design of the Website, along with the creation and ongoing maintenance of your Website’s content and artistic elements. Generally there are three classes of applications that facilitate the creation of Web pages and Website:

  • Open Source Platforms (CMS)
  • Proprietary Solutions
  • Website Builders

Open Source Platforms, also referred to as Content Management Systems (CMS), are solutions that built and maintained by interested groups from around the globe, allowing every user to access and modify the website’s coding software. Due to this accessibility this software is usually free, but is catered towards a user confident in coding, software evaluation, and directly involved in their online presence. This solution works well for a company whose website is the main focus of the business, as the ongoing experimentation and development of available tools and functions allows for a unique website experience. Technical support and maintenance are typically lacking, as these platforms are user maintained. 

Commonly used Open Source Platforms include:

  • WordPress (industry standard, new-user friendly)
  • Drupal
  • Mambo
  • Joomla

Proprietary Solutions are complete software packages that provide the technical and logistical support lacking in Open Source Platforms. Available through established retail channels, Proprietary Solutions provide fully developed tools for design and content. When choosing a company and their software, make an educated selection; moving content due to poor support or functionality can be very difficult or impossible. This solution caters towards a company that needs an online presence, but is more concerned with content and design. 

Commonly used Proprietary Solutions include:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • MacroMedia Flash Professional 
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Inkscape
  • Adope Photoshop
  • Adobe Premier

A Website Builder, as the name implies, is software that interacts with a web host to streamline the web design process. These applications are typically bundled with templates, layouts, and other preset tools to facilitate a quick build, as well as accommodate other needs such as a Web Store (E-Commerce) or a Blogging Tool. Similar to a Proprietary Solution, Website Builders cater towards a user who needs a clean, quick website without the hassle of detailed integration. 

Commonly used Proprietary Solutions include: 

  • Wix
  • eHost
  • weebly
  • Bigcommerce

Why you should consider Building and Hosting together?

Normally the larger hosting providers expect their subscribers to use the online proprietary applications they provide to design and build Websites. While they may offer functionality such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) where users can design their Web Pages offline and then post them to the hosting server, most users will find these procedures not only cumbersome, but not wholeheartedly supported by the larger hosting platforms. Consequently, if someone is committed to using an application such as Dreamweaver to build their Website, they will likely find that local hosting services are more adaptable to this methodology.

Performance Parameters for Website Hosting Packages

Website Hosting Packages are usually priced based on two performance parameters: Bandwidth (Data Transfer) and Disk (Storage) Space. E-Commerce Hosting Packages may also vary in price according to the total number of products that you plan to sell on your online store.

Bandwidth (Data Transfer)
Bandwidth is the measurement of data being sent from the web host’s server to the website visitor’s computer. It is difficult to estimate exactly how much bandwidth a company’s site uses, but it is important that there is always excess bandwidth available. Running out of bandwidth limits a website’s availability, and to maximize site traffic having more bandwidth than is absolutely necessary is a safe precaution (to accommodate surges or growth in site traffic).

Disk (Storage) Space
Disk Space or Storage Space refers to how much hard disk space is available on the web host’s server for the website owner’s files, images, or multi-media content. Rich media files such as animations or videos tend to be much larger than static images or HTML files, so the quantity and size of rich media files will be the single largest drivers of overall disk space. As with Bandwidth, it is a good practice to have extra Disk Space to accommodate any changes or additions that may need to be made on short notice. 

Additional Costs for E-Commerce Websites

With E-Commerce Websites (any Website that is or has an online store) you can expect to pay a higher monthly fee of approximately $10 – 100/month and, there will also be transaction fees associated with online sales that will typically run 1 – 3% of each online sale. And, there will also be fees from an E-Payment provider that will typically run 2.5 – 5.5% of the purchase price, and also include a fixed fee per transaction (usually less than one dollar). 


If you would be interested in learning more about Website Design or Website Hosting, please contact the Alameda SBDC at (510) 516-4118