Any product or service that requires storage or access on the internet will use the services of a web hosting company. The hosting company has a number of servers, or data centers, where each person is provided with varying amounts of space to store their digital media, including websites; others can then access these files.
There are a great many services available; you even have free hosting where you won't have to spend a single dime, this is ideal for absolute beginners. There are many limitations to free web hosting services and they are not generally regarded as an option for serious web users as the amount of storage space is limited along with many other functions a web user may require. Hosting packages vary enormously and must be chosen according to the needs of the user and not based on price because certain requirements may not be available in the lower price range.
Almost everyone starts out with what is termed 'shared hosting' where the server is used by many. It is usually possible to upgrade to have a dedicated server for your files once you know the service provider is reliable; there is normally an additional charge for this facility. You need to have a registered domain to have a web hosting package otherwise files; websites and other digital information cannot be stored or accessed. Almost any information that is stored on a web server is called a file which can mean audio tracks, images, video footage and the website itself; as digital storage costs drop then the amount of space you are allocated tends to be increased over time.
When you have a paid web hosting package it will allow you to have an email address using your domain name unlike those that are offered free with the likes of Google, Yahoo or MSN for example where their name is at the end of the email address. People who are serious about their internet presence will want to have their own identity and to prove the point; you will never see a company using someone else's domain in their email address. The amount of data that is viewed on your site each time someone accesses it is called bandwidth; it is an extremely important aspect to consider and the main reason why buying the cheapest hosting package is not always best.
If your company can't offer you better bandwidth, then it will be very hard for your users to view your webpage. Of course this won't matter if you only have a basic website but as soon as you start adding large images, audio tracks, video footage and other big files, your bandwidth will be used up very quickly. Although it is possible for a person to use their own PC as a host, there are many security dangers associated with this so using a dedicated web hosting company is preferable.