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I am very unfamiliar with this concept, and have seen something's around the web that just don't make sense to me.

I am curious as to how you can build your own website. Then host it on your own home server, copy right the domain, or URL, or what ever so no company can try to take it over. If you can host it, build it, and copy right it, what are all these "pay for websites" places for? Why pay to have a website for your business that you could just make for yourself?

If I have not understanding something here please elaborate. I don't understand a lot of these concepts involved in such a process so please forgive my ignorance.

  • "copy right the domain, or url, or what ever so no company can try to take it over." to do that you need a central database listing who owns what (or you wait for blockchains to take over everything), which is called a domain name registry. This registry has people working for it and servers to maintain, hence domain names must be paid. – Patrick Mevzek Oct 21 at 19:20
  • @PatrickMevzek So you register your domain with a DNR and what rights do you have to it? Do you just pay once? If you come up with it and create it why do you have to register it? Can you register it for free with full ownership? – Joeseph Sears Oct 21 at 19:39
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    I suggest to start with en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name#Domain_name_registration and after having read it coming back with more specific questions (but do a search first, there are already lots of other questions). At this stage your question is vastly too broad. In short: rights depend on the TLD, you renew it yearly, like a phone or newspaper subscription, you need to register to ensure uniqueness and global presence, some TLDs are "free", like .TK but this comes with its own set of constraints. Also it is more "registration" than "ownership", it is not exactly like a trademark. – Patrick Mevzek Oct 21 at 20:16
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Most people choose to pay for hosting for multiple reasons.

  • Site availability: A personal computer isn't really built for serving a website to however many visitors you would get. Most people turn their PCs off from time to time, and most people have limited bandwidth for their internet connection. So, if your site suddenly got popular, most people's computers would see an error page as your computer struggles with the high traffic. And many people have limited data, so if they exceed a certain amount of data transfer, they'd be paying their internet provider extra.

  • Security: Web hosts are typically much more experienced in setting up servers and keeping all their software up to date. If you're not a security expert, it's likely that if you set up your own computer to serve a website, someone could hack into it and take over. Then you're down not just your website, but your main means of reaching that website too. This also includes firewalls and other network infrastructure.

Even if you're good with security, you'd want to have one computer set up as a server and a separate one for updating, and a lot of people aren't prepared to keep two personal computers updated (both with current hardware and software).

  • Operating system: Most people use Windows or MacOS for their personal computers. But most web servers run a flavour of Linux. (Windows based servers use Windows Server, which has additional features from the plain consumer Windows you probably run if you have a PC.) Windows and MacOS are geared toward running consumer applications, while many of the server features of Windows Server or Linux require more in-depth knowledge.

Finally, paying for web hosting often gets you a lot of extra tools, such as:

  • Database and file tools - If you want to use a content management system, such as the popular WordPress, a typical PC doesn't come with the database tools needed to get things up and running, i.e. phpMyAdmin.

  • Email accounts - Many hosts also let you set up email addresses @yourdomain.com. Setting up an email server on your PC would be an in-depth endeavor.

  • I think you are missing a very big point: peace of mind. – Carles Alcolea Oct 22 at 19:22
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    I disagree with a number of your points, such as paid hosting gets you database and file tools, which I have on my personal workstation and sync up with my host. Apache and IIS are not operating systems as implied by your post. Most of the things you say are difficult or complicated, like any new thing, can be learned. With interest, one can learn them all and become very good at them as I have even though my background was is as an Electronic Engineer. – Rob Oct 22 at 21:20
  • @Rob I've edited the answer to address most of those concerns – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Oct 24 at 20:51
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There are several reasons to pay for web hosting.

Reliability

Your web host should have 99.9% uptime or better. It is hard to achieve that at home. Does your house ever lose power or have an internet outage? Do you have a backup generator and an uninterruptible power supply? Do you maintain multiple internet connections in case one goes out?

Most web hosting companies have that sort of infrastructure. Web hosting is typically done in data centers that host thousands to millions of websites in one facility.

Home ISP Limits

Your home ISP may contractually prevent you from running a server. They may block port 80 so that you can't run a website from home. You may not be able to get a static IP address at home.

There may be some partial work-arounds. You may be able to use dynamic DNS for a dynamic IP address. You may get be able to choose an ISP with few restrictions.

Speed

Do you have fast home internet? Is it symmetric? Probably not.

Even if your home internet is speedy, you can get much faster internet though a web host at a data center.

Price

I'll bet you pay $50 per month for your home internet. You can pay that much per year for halfway decent web hosting. The incremental costs of web hosting are not much compared to how much you are paying for a home internet connection.

To own a domain name, you need to pay $10 per year whether or not you host at home.

Upgrading your home internet is much more expensive than a similar upgrade at a hosting provider.

Required knowledge

If you buy managed hosting, you can get somebody else to install your software and apply updates to it. If you host at home, it requires that you do all that yourself. The amount you need to know to host yourself can be daunting.

Flexibility

What happens when you need a bigger server? A second server? A separate database server? Multiple servers behind a load balancer? It is easy to upgrade your setup at a hosting facility. Cloud hosting providers allow you to do all that in your web browser with a few clicks.

Start at home if you want

So start out by hosting your own website at home if you want. If you are frugal and technically savvy, you can do it. Just know the limitations. When your website takes off you'll eventually want to get hosting. I bought hosting for my website once my site started earning enough money to pay for its hosting.

  • Hosting at home is not for the faint of heart. I do it because I can and had been a web host for a very long time. However, for the newbie, hosting with a provider is always the way to go. Even for the very experienced, hosting with a provider still makes complete sense. Unless someone really knows what they are doing, I would always tell them to pay the fee and let someone else have the headaches. – closetnoc Oct 23 at 2:33
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I think for a beginner, trying to figure out such intricacies will not be beneficial in your own interest. Why not instead do practical projects related with web development and such concerns will gradually be addressed along the way.

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If you can host it, build it, and copy right it, what are all these "pay for websites" places for?

You can. Precisely what we did in the beginning:

  • pay for a fast dedicated line and IP address (or setup dynamic IP addressing)
  • buy a router
  • build a server hardware
  • setup the server software (OS, database server, webserver, security, automated processes)
  • build the website(s)
  • set it all up and test thoroughly
  • maintain

That's a lot of expense and trouble for the singular benefit that you control it all... which you don't if you use a domain name instead of a direct IP address to reach that server, since your country's domain registry controls that.

Why pay to have a website for your business that you could just make for yourself?

Why pay to have someone build your house for you instead of build it yourself? For precisely the same reasons. Unless you have learnt the trade, and are experienced at using the tools to do so, it will both take you a long time to do so, and the end result will certainly be far less than what a professional can provide.

  • coding/scripting
  • graphic design
  • user interface design
  • search engine optimisation techniques
  • security and maintenance knowledge
  • automation of customer interaction processes and maintenance

Maybe not so easy.

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