If you're fairly new to the concept of building websites to make money from the Internet, there will be many things that are confusing at first. Like for example the notion that you need to pay a hosting company to host your website.
Why not just store your website on your own computer and let the world find it there?
After all, a website is nothing more than a collection of pages of information. Why go to all the expense of paying for someone else to display it for you?
Why Hosting a Website Yourself May Not be the Best Idea
There are lots of reasons for not self-hosting a website, actually. For starters, to host your own site at home, you would need to pay for a leased line from your telephone company and pay for the bandwidth that is used on a monthly basis.
A regular telephone or broadband line may not be enough if your site starts attracting some decent traffic. Too much would take your line down and your site would go off the air. That would not be much use to you if your website was intended as a money making entity.
Next would be the expense of a decent server (computer) dedicated to running your website and NOT for casual use as an Internet browser, keeping up with Facebook or watching Youtube videos on. That kind of playing around uses valuable resources and will slow your server down, making your website slow to load. People are very impatient and will hit the back button if your page does not load fast.
Your server would need to run all the correct software to enable your website to be found online. You can run Windows server if you want, but most web hosts prefer the Linux operating system for good reason. Do you know how that works and/or are you prepared to learn it?
Lastly, assuming you have all the necessary hardware, software and communications to the out side world sorted out, what happens if your power goes out? Do you have a backup generator to keep your computer running and the site up?
Now Let's Be Sensible
While self-hosting is possible with the right stuff, it can be pretty expensive to do it that way and is fraught with problems when things go wrong. Who are you going to call out to fix a hard drive crash, or a software problem, or your system gets hacked?
Choosing a commercial webhosting company is the choice of the vast majority of website owners around the globe. It makes a lot of sense since most people haven't the first clue about setting up and running a host server and communications network.
It can also be surprisingly inexpensive these days, with starter shared hosting packages available from some of the better hosts starting at under $10 a month. These are usually sufficient for most peoples needs and will ensure their sites stay up and online for visitors to see what they're selling.
Most hosts can handle moderate traffic spikes without any problems and they will look after the hardware and software so you can spend your time on the important things, such as creating great sales copy and info content for your website so it can tank well in the search engines and attract lost of free, organic traffic that will buy your goods, click your ads or PPC links.
Search Engine Friendly
Having your website hosted at a commercial host is also good for appeasing the search engines when it comes to following their quality guidelines. One are is in page load time and general up time of the site. Visitors like speed and the faster a page loads, the more likely each visitor to your site will stay there, read what's on the page and maybe buy your products or click your ads.
Likewise, the search engines like that same speed. They will rate a website on a variety of factors for quality and page load speed is one of them. The higher quality rating your site gets from the search engines, the higher it will rank in their index (and the more traffic you will attract).
What If I Don't Have a Website?
Naturally, if you don't have your own website(s), you won't need to buy hosting! It is true you can still make money online using free website and blog providers, such as blogger, weebly, tumblr etc. And you can build quality sites on these free platforms and they can rank well in the search engines and get traffic, which means they can make miney too.
The only downside to using free platforms is that you never own your own piece of virtual real estate. And if the provider chooses to delete your stuff, they can do so at any time and you won't have a leg to stand on!
It has happened on numerous occasions where people have devoted all their time and energy to producing some great pages on certain platforms only to have the owners come along, change their rules and decide they don't like those pages and delete them. The recent upheaval at Squidoo is a point in case.
Many lensmasters at Squidoo had hundreds of "lenses" (individual pages built with content and advertisements) and saw entire accounts deleted because they changed their quality guidelines and what was once acceptable suddenly became unacceptable and had to go! So you see there is some merit in owning your own website!
So there are just a few of the reasons why you would need web hosting for your website. There are others, but most importantly you need to be aware that your website is your window to the world wide web and whatever you use it for, it is yours and your responsibility to make it the best you can!