If I only had a nickel for every time someone asked me...
"What is Web Hosting and Why Am I Being Charged For It?"
I'll try to stick to a basic explanation without getting too technical and getting into a discussion about domain names registration, ip addresses, and so on. I don't like blurting out web development jargon if I don't have to.
According to Wikipedia,
"A web hоsting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. "
I read that definition and it's clear as crystal to me, but it may be as clear as mud to you, so I'll try to offer another explanation.
Let's imagine a scenario.
You hire a web designer to create a website for your small business or organization. The designer might design the look and feel of the website in a graphic program on his personal computer. The images that were created are files that can range from several kilobytes to megabytes.
Then you give him a CD with photographs of your business partners, clients, samples of work for him to add to the website. Those pictures are also files that can range from several kilobytes to megabytes.
You also provide many documents with text and content that you would like to have on the website. You guessed it, these files also can range from several kilobytes to megabytes.
The web designer also has to code and program pages that internet browsers can read in languages such as HTML, PHP, RUBY, Flash, etc.
All of these images, content, and other files take up space on a computer and they have to be stored somewhere.
Now, you could store them on your personal computer. However, if you did that, nobody would be able to see them because they would not be accessible to the World Wide Web. And if you did make it accessible to the World Wide Web from your personal computer you would run the risk of hackers accessing your computer and your website would be inaccessible on the internet any time you turned off your computer.
This is where a Web Host comes in. As mentioned above, a Web Host provides space on their computers, or servers, where you can store your files and make them accessible to the World Wide Web.
So, paying for web hosting is similar to paying rent for your business address. A web host gives your website a specific address on their computer and your website is live as long as you pay for your space.
I hope you now have a better understanding of what web hosting is and why your web developer is charging you for it. It's not scam...it's not just a techies way of pinching a few bucks out of you.