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No hosting, no website - it's that simple. You don't necessarily have to pick a self-hosted plan some place, but you will need a host of some sort, even if it is something like WordPress.com or blogger.com in order for you to have a physical presence on the Web.
A web host is the company where your website is physically stored. If the web hosting is "shared", like wordpress.com or blogger.com, it is often free, but has very limited services. If it is "self-hosted", this means that you paid for server space somewhere and have more freedom on the backend regarding what you can do. Think of it as the difference between renting and buying your home.
If you decide to go with shared hosting, at the very least read their fine print. A place like wordpress.com reserves the right to shut you down at any time at their discretion, and you cannot appeal it. If you decide to take the plunge and go with "self-hosted", look for a company which offers a true "cPanel". cPanel gives you a ton of free applications, full control over your email setup and more. Good choices are (in this order): SiteGround, BlueHost, FatCow. Recommendation: shy away from bundled offerings where your domain and hosting come together. Your domain is only free the first year or so. Do the math and then decide.
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