**Please note: This competition is now closed for new entries and unfortunately any sent through from now on will not be considered for the prize. **

With summer knocking on our door, the season for family get togethers is upon us, be it weddings, christenings, family BBQs, birthdays… and those of us who work in the web hosting industry will be met with the same vacant look after being asked “What do you do for a living?” or “So what exactly do you do?”.

More often than not people ask if it’s the same as broadband to which I usually reply with a resigned “yes” rather than spending another 30 minutes explaining why it’s nothing like broadband.

So, the question is, how do I explain to my Gran this summer where I work and what we do (I’m not even going to bother attempting to explain what SEPPC is)? In one sentence and as simply as possible:

How would you explain to my Gran what web hosting is?

The top 5 answers we like the most will each win a portable notebook BBQ.


  • The competition closes 27th July 2008. Unfortunately, any entries made after this date can not be included.
  • No cash alternative prize is available.
  • The winners will be notified by the email address provided within 14 days of the competition closing. If no email has been provided we will choose an alternative winner.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • If the Portable Notebook BBQ is out of stock we reserve the right to source an alternative of equal value.

Was This Article Useful?

Let Others Know
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Share this post


Leave a Reply

63 Responses

  • John

    “We sell the space online where people can put their websites.”

    Admittedly, in reality it’s a little more involved than that. And I think the follow up question would probably be: “What’s a website?”

    June 16, 2008 at 10:24 am
  • Jeff

    My Gran actually runs her own web hosting company and she had to explain to me what it was. No word of a lie.

    June 16, 2008 at 10:53 am
  • Matt

    Maybe we should introduce her to mine?

    June 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm
  • Matt

    This came in from Kay at Stardesignandprint.com

    How I would have put it to my gran…

    Hi Gran

    Webhosting is like a stem of a rose bush with lots of minor stems coming off it, now on this stem are the individual rose buds/petals.

    Each of these flowers is like a individual website with each petal being the web page, the bees landing on the website are like people looking at the pages stored.

    The better the site the more bees are attracted.

    Now imagine a huge rose bush with lots of branches and flowers! This is the worldwide web.

    June 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm
  • The Fancy Dress Man

    A web site is like a book or newsletter that you can see on the “telly screen” on any computer connected to the Internet (“The Internet is basically just a more modern system of sending telegrams”).

    Each and every web site is on a computer somewhere. When someone wants to put up a new web site and make it available on the Internet they either share a computer somewhere for a few pounds a month (or sometime free) or rent a whole computer with a permanent connection to the Internet and a contract to look after it and make sure it is always working – day and night.

    The person who rents out the computers to put web sites on is called a hosting provider.

    And before you ask – a computer is a machine that can simulate ANY function, machine or thing whose workings you can describe clearly (Program) – currently they are mainly used to simulate the technology existing in Grandmas lifetime – typewriters (Word Processor), telegrams (email/chat), Telephones (Skype), Car boot sales (EBay) calculators, photographic darkrooms (Photoshop), Dictionaries (Wikipedia), Newspapers, Mail Order Catalogues (eCommerce), Record players and Televisions (YouTube).
    Now my question – is a “portable notebook BBQ” just a laptop that runs very hot?

    June 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm
  • Matt

    Now my question – is a “portable notebook BBQ” just a laptop that runs very hot?

    Spot on! And then it catches fire due to faulty wiring allowing you to get those sausages really crsipy.

    June 18, 2008 at 9:49 am
  • Chris Humphrey

    Well Gran…

    If the internet is like the high street – with traffic going up and down… then my website is a shop on the high street… and the web host is my landlord!

    June 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm
  • Lucy

    Like a radio station hosted the different programmes, web hosting is the same sort of thing but for all the different websites.

    June 20, 2008 at 3:45 pm
  • Pete Garrity

    Well Gran, When you go to the shops and buy the newspaper. you take it home and read it,right.

    So , Imagine If you want to read that newspaper in the shop ,without leaving the house!, or read it from anywhere in the world like when your on holiday. You can use a computer to look down the telephone and read that newspaper in that shop. Now, anyone can make there own newspaper and I will look after it so anyone can look at it from anywhere.

    My Job is to make sure any one in the world can look at those newspapers even if it gets moved to another shelf or something bad happens to it.I also act like a security gaurd making sure only certain people and things can enter the shop and change things around.
    All this is down with the computer though.

    June 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm
  • Tim Shaw

    Gran, the host is the same as the vicars noticeboard at the village hall.

    The vicar (or host) keeps the noticeboard tidy, so you can always find out whats going on, when, where and to who !!

    It’s his job to keep all the goings on in one, neat, place, so nobody misses any of the gossip, when they visit the hall.

    June 20, 2008 at 4:03 pm
  • Jon Harvey

    “Granny, web hosting is a bit like that place where you go to get knitting patterns on a Thursday after you’ve collected your pension.”

    Granny: “You mean Susie’s shop? Susie’s lovely, she always has nice ginger biscuits and tea on a Thursday. Did you know Susie has a daughter about your age…”

    Half an hour later…

    “So, Granny, web hosting is a bit like Susie’s shop… You put all your knitting patterns into this one place so that people can go to the shop and see them all in one place without having to come round to your house and queue up while you show each of them a knitting pattern, one at a time”

    Granny: “Oh that’s lovely Matt, just like Susie’s shop. Do you want a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit? You look like you need a good feed. Is she not feeding you?” etc etc

    June 20, 2008 at 4:21 pm
  • Phil

    “Well Gran I work for a company that does web hosting”
    “Does that mean you look after spiders?” says Gran
    “Err……. OK if its easier yes I look after spiders”
    “Wow That’s a relief as I thought you were some kind of computer nerd!!) said Gran

    June 20, 2008 at 4:50 pm
  • Tigger

    Imagine The Internet like a massive ocean which you can surf, Web Hosting is where you can land

    June 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm
  • Jonathan

    Its a like library where you can put all your shopping catelogues, recipes, timetables and gardening tips.

    Finding something though is a lot quicker, just type in one or two words and click find…

    June 20, 2008 at 4:59 pm
  • Paul Halfpenny

    Imagine you want to rent a room or buy a house.
    Imagine yourself grandma as the (website) and the room that you want to rent as (the hosting).

    Then in order for you to find this room, you need to find yourself someone who will rent or sell you this room first, he’s called a (web hosting provider).

    Once you have bought your room Grandma you’ll want people to come and visit you and they will need to know where to look, In order for them to find your room you need to make sure your room (the website) is in a place where it can be easily found, a bit like a good map or good telephone directory this place is called a (web server) and the man that holds all the infomation on everyones room or house (websites) is called a web hosting provider

    June 20, 2008 at 5:21 pm
  • Mike O'Neill

    Well Gran, you know when you go to Argos to pick up that big heavy catalogue. Well I save the planet by not printing all those catalogues which usually go in the bin and offer All these products from All my customers in one Huge Internet shop with lots of smaller shops inside.

    June 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm
  • Thea Lloyd

    It’s like writing yourself an advert and putting it in the window of a Global corner shop, the whole World is able to look in the window and see your advert.

    June 20, 2008 at 5:31 pm
  • alan

    web hosting is like when you take in a lodger. all the lodger’s letters, bills etc get sent to your address because that is where the lodger lives and he sends information from your address but in his name not yours. web hosting is just the same except that people can visit the lodgers room when he is not there and see what a lovely house he’s living in. but they are only able to look and not touch…… if you take in lots of lodgers they are all hosted by you but with different names and different rooms and people can visit their rooms as well.

    June 20, 2008 at 6:23 pm
  • Kurt Farrar

    Web hosting is space to put your web content, or your adverts.

    Kind of like the paper of a newspaper is the space to host news articles and advertisements, the web hosting allows you to publish your web pages.

    Without web hosting, your pages would have no-where to exist and people wouldn’t be able to visit them. If people couldn’t visit them, they couldn’t read them, but the same that if there was no paper for the newspaper then you wouldn’t be able to read the articles or view the adverts.

    - Kurt

    June 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm
  • Neil Cole

    When I throw a party I enjoy being the host so web hosting must be lots of fun. Party on the web having a great time, sounds like my sort of fun but its nothing to do with spiders just a whole load of people getting together and showing off there thing. Ye

    June 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm
  • Damon

    Somewhere you can put your thoughts and visions.

    June 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm
  • David McLean

    Gran, you know when you were asked to keep a secret, and you only told it to people that asked, then, you were hosting that secret, in a WEB of secrecy

    June 20, 2008 at 11:29 pm
  • Arbab Hussain

    If you want a website, then before you do anything else, you’re going to need to get some web hosting.

    You might not be too sure exactly how the web works, but don’t worry – it’s quite complicated, and you don’t really need to know about it until you want to make your own website. Basically, every time you go to a website, you connect to another computer (called a server) that sends you copies of that website’s pages. Servers have to be powerful, as thousands of people could be asking for those pages every second on the web’s biggest sites.

    For a small site, you don’t need your own server. You could set your own computer up to run as a server, but you would have to leave it switched on and connected to the Internet all day long, and if your site got even a little bit popular then your connection probably wouldn’t be able to handle it. Instead, what most people do is rent some space on one of those larger servers, paying a different monthly fee depending on how much data their visitors download and for any extra features they need.

    If you want a website, then, the first thing you should do is find which one of these web hosts is best for you – that is, whose server you should rent space on. Much like looking to rent a home, this is really a matter of personal taste. Paying more is no guarantee of quality, as many hosts prey on their customers’ lack of understanding to charge unjustifiably high prices. In general, the best way to find a good web hosting company is to ask around, read reviews, and ask on forums for people’s experiences. You’ll often find that what seemed like a good deal is actually a disaster, and be steered towards something much better.

    However I recommend 123 Reg as they have a proven track record and also have the best prices.

    June 21, 2008 at 12:22 am
  • Arbab Hussain

    Gran think of it like this. You now have a phone number (domain name), but you don’t have a phone service plan yet (web host). Yes, you can use that domain name with somebody else, but you will have to set up DNS with your domain registar. Most have good tools for that. If you want an alternative, go to http://www.123-reg.co.uk and life will be easier. Inexpensive hosting plans and good tech help.

    Oops you dont speak english….

    June 21, 2008 at 12:30 am
  • Arbab Hussain

    Gran most people think that a domain name is the same thing as web hosting, but it is not and this will hopefully explain to you why.

    The easiest way to explain web hosting is to think of your web site as a traditional store with shelves displaying products or services, with a cash register and even employees.

    Web hosting essentially is like a virtual online building or store front you rent or lease for everyone to stop in and buy something or even inquire about your services. Your domain name is the like the sign you hang on your virtual store front for customers to get an idea of what your business is and how to find you in a sea of competition.

    June 21, 2008 at 12:38 am
  • Arbab Hussain

    Gran I have taken you through this three times already.

    A web site is like a house… It has an Address, Property, Building and Mailbox. Like building a house, you first establish your address (domain name) which tells people
    how to get to you… then buy your property to build on web space (purchase from web-host)… next build your house (web site) … and finally put the occupants names on the mail box so the postmaster knows who receives mail (e-mail).

    June 21, 2008 at 12:44 am
  • Arbab Hussain

    I give up!!!!!!

    June 21, 2008 at 12:44 am
  • Andrew Dommett

    Is a bit like your book shelf holding a few Mills and Boons amongst all the others Books/Novels in the world.

    June 21, 2008 at 6:37 am
  • David Norris

    It’s a gallery, they’ll hang the pages that I write on the wall of the computer screen, had out my business card and take messages for me.

    June 21, 2008 at 9:38 am
  • Babs

    When my website is ready it will have details of my business. I’ll give the details to 123 and they will show it to anyone in the world who wants to contact me from their computer or mobile phone. All this while we can sit and have a cup of tea and a piece of your lovely cake.

    June 21, 2008 at 10:39 am
  • Jimbo


    Its like renting a noticeboard kind of space that anyone with the Internet can search and find information or stuff to buy.

    …. Gran, your teeth are in your G&T!

    June 21, 2008 at 11:05 am
  • Jeanette

    It’s like an enormous kitchen with lots of pantries filled with different types of homemade jams all waiting to be named and sold.

    June 21, 2008 at 1:50 pm
  • James Clark

    Best way of describing “web hosting” to a non-computer literate would be:

    Web hosting allows anyone, anywhere in the world to show their news, information, pictures, videos and/or sell products to anybody else in the world who has a computer on the internet…

    It doesn’t go into any technical detail about what exactly web hosting is; but given the fact that if you started talking about apache, linux or even a hard drive, the most likely response would be “that sounds very nice dear” I think that its the best way of putting it!

    June 21, 2008 at 2:25 pm
  • toni quandt

    Nan think of web hosting as a magazine rack with lots of magazines.

    June 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm
  • Peter Walker

    “Web Hosting is a bit like a publisher who publishes, prints, distributes and sells your book – except they do it electronically for your web site”.

    June 23, 2008 at 12:04 am
  • Fred Walton

    Web hosting is what the spider does when he gets dressed up in his Sunday best and waits for his guests to arrive

    June 23, 2008 at 8:22 am
  • Bry

    Nan – web hosting is like the rack that you place your toast into when we have boiled eggs for breakfast. I own that rack and charge people a small yearly fee to store their toast in the rack. I can store a piece of toast for you too if you’d like Nan…

    June 23, 2008 at 10:24 am
  • Bry

    You know the news agents down the road that has a window full of all kinds of notices and ads, well web hosting is just like that, only everyone in the world can see what we have in our shop window.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:27 am
  • kirstine meredith

    gran its as easy as abc, do re mi and getting on your scooter for a ride! turn on switch on and away you go! even your neighbour can see what your upto behind their curtain windows lol.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:56 am
  • Barrie McCarthy

    “Well Gran, web hosting is where you make your cake and put it in somebody else’s oven so that everybody can know how good you are”

    Gran “Oh, that’s the same as in my day, the only difference being if you put a bun in somebody else’s oven then everybody knew how bad you were”

    June 23, 2008 at 8:18 pm
  • shaaron moon

    Well Gran
    it’s like one great enormous album with all those pictures of your grandchildren it in. Each picture can be gazed at lovingly by the whole world no matter how embarrasing it is!! It will never fade or get worn out by page turning and you can even write notes explaining that ‘of course I’ve put a bit a weight on since then’

    June 24, 2008 at 9:23 am
  • Pauline Bane

    Well Gran – I look after special adverts. They’re like TV advertising but they show on peoples’ computers. Some just have information and some are like mail order catalogues.

    Now where’s that home-made cake you promised me?

    June 24, 2008 at 10:13 am
  • Bruce W

    If you want to display information so any one can see it you put it on a notice board or advertising board. Well web hosting is the computer equivalent of the notice board owner.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm
  • Jay Scales

    It’s the interweb equivalent of running a shopping centre like Bluewater & selling space to the different shops & businesses inside.

    July 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm
  • Phil Maulkin

    Gran — myself and the rest of your grandchildren, all ten of us are going to buy some books and magazines, then we would like to bring them to your house for you to look after them for us, we will pay you of course for you doing it – then any of the family can come see them, but they must come to you to do so, or if any of the rest of the family would like to bring some books to you as well or, even friends if they wish then it is good. You will be paid by each person and by how many books they leave with you – ideally the more family and friends that leave the books with you the bigger you become and the more money you earn.

    Call yourself the book host grammu and you are book-hosting for others.

    July 16, 2008 at 11:18 am
  • Yasar

    Web Hosting is like the Tower of London and its Crown Jewels. The Tower of London is the web host, like 123-reg, and the Jewels are the website.

    People can view the website i.e. the jewels, however the website is securely stored on the web host i.e. the Tower of London!

    July 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm
  • Sovena Quick

    Gran my job is webhosting it is like when you visit the libaray with everything and anything you would like to know under one roof well i have all that information but on the internet the world wide web and share it with everyone world wide.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm
  • lisa backhouse

    Its like when you go to a car boot sale, The people selling are the websites and the person running the boot sale is the web host.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm
  • Don S

    Gran, webhosting is like a giant tesco’s with lots of different aisles full of stuff trying to catch your eye.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:58 pm
  • Lynsey Rogers

    ME: “Gran, web hosting is like hosting a party and networking the room, but getting paid for it”

    GRAN: Oh you mean like one of those parties with all the vibrators dear?

    July 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm
  • Simon Blake

    It’s like the market where you get your veg Gran, lots of different stalls to buy from, but one Market Inspector to coordinate them all.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm
  • Brian Chilton

    Web hosting is like me (the web host) giving you my plate for you to put your lovely specially prepared sunday dinner on! Only one thing though, unlike a website, no one will get the chance to view it for very long!

    July 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm
  • Sam

    Web Hosting is like a telephone operator linking you to information you want to read/found out about.

    July 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm
  • cashcard

    It like a washing line that goes round the world so you can see what sort of tights mrs smith at number 49 has as they are all on the same line

    July 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm
  • Samantha Mackie

    Gran- web hosting is like having a market stall- people pass by and if they like what they see they stick around for a while, I make sure that everything is tidy and that everyone enjoys and behaves themselves. Can I have a jammie dodger please?

    July 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm
  • Ellen Jones

    Web hosting is an online storage service for information, images, video, or any content accessible through the Web.

    July 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm
  • joe booker

    well look gran web hosting is………………..
    ok lets see you suck this egg.

    July 24, 2008 at 7:35 pm
  • Lisa L

    Webhosting is like looking after everyones handbags while they hit the dance floor

    July 24, 2008 at 8:12 pm
  • Danielle Welsh

    It’s like a big brain as it holds the world’s memories Gran

    July 24, 2008 at 9:51 pm
  • Louise Paterson


    Web Hosting is like the Yellow Pages Book

    July 24, 2008 at 9:57 pm
  • Louise

    I would simply say that they are the people that sell ‘space’ on the internet that can be used for a website and they then look after it and nuture it so it stays healthy (working) and people look at it all the time (or so we would hope!)

    Then again my Gran died in 1979 before computers so what would be the point anyway LOL…

    July 24, 2008 at 10:44 pm
  • Caroline Gossage

    web hosting is llike hiring a lock up to do a garage sale and show off your wares.

    July 24, 2008 at 10:54 pm
  • yknivag

    Gran, I’m like a virtual estate agent. I work for a company that sells bits of the internet to companies and people. Then we help them turn that space into billboards, shops, libraries or leisure facilities. Just like a high street estate agent might sell a shop or a house.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:49 am