Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, and as such, people are spending more and more time online. In fact, the average internet user spends more than six hours a day surfing the web.
As the world becomes more digitized, the importance of having your own website has never been greater. For some people, this is a welcome change, while others feel overwhelmed and confused.
Are you thinking about setting up your very own website? Are you struggling to understand the difference between a website domain and hosting?
When it comes to hosting vs domain, there are some key differences. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
1. What’s a Domain Name?
Think of your domain name as your unique address on the world wide web. This is the URL that people will type into their browser in order to access your website.
Domain names have two parts to them. The first part is usually your business name and can contain numbers, letters, and hyphens.
The second part is followed by the dot and is called the domain extension. For example .com, .org and .net are all different domain extensions.
There are now over 1,000 of these domain extensions, also called ‘top-level domains’ (TLDs).
Different organizations use different TLDs. For example, universities and educational institutions commonly use .edu whereas many tech startups prefer the .io extension.
All domain names are unique. That means you cannot register the same name as somebody else. When people type in your unique domain name, they’ll go to your website and nobody else’s.
Domain names are issued and regulated by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), an international, not-for-profit organization.
2. What Is Web Hosting?
If your domain name is your address, think of web hosting as the home of your website. In other words, web hosting provides you with a storage location for your website’s files.
You need both a domain name and a web hosting account to launch a website. When users type in your domain name into their browser’s URL bar, they will see the files stored on your web hosting server.
While it is possible to host your own server from home, most people pay a professional hosting company for this service. Hosting companies own servers that they lease out for a monthly or yearly fee.
Web hosting companies preconfigure their servers for speed and stability. They also help with installing website builder software and content management systems like WordPress.
Once you’ve signed up for a hosting account, you’ll need to link it to your domain name.
3. Should I Buy a Domain and Hosting From the Same Company?
Many people think that you need to buy both your domain and hosting from the same company. While this often makes the process of setting up a website easier, it isn’t required.
If you buy your domain and hosting from the same company, you won’t need to change any of your domain settings. Your hosting will automatically link to your new domain.
On the other hand, if you buy your domain from a separate company, you’ll need to “point” it to your hosting account. This involves changing some of the DNS settings on your domain.
DNS stands for “Domain Name System” and refers to the system that takes care of routing your domain to the correct address.
There are a few advantages to buying your domain and hosting from different companies. For example, it may be cheaper to do it this way as some companies specialize in one or the other.
However, buying your domain and hosting from the same place is much more convenient and involves less technical work.
4. What Is Domain Privacy?
Every domain name on the internet has a publically accessible record called a ‘WhoIs’ record. This record contains the domain owner’s personal information such as name and contact details.
Anyone can access these records by running a quick WhoIs lookup. Domain privacy refers to a service that masks this information from the public eye.
Domain privacy replaces your personal information with the information of the web host or forwarding service. Domain privacy ensures that spammers or hackers cannot see your personal information.
Web hosting companies usually provide domain privacy either for free or for a small yearly fee.
5. How Do I Choose a Hosting Provider?
There are several companies that provide web hosting services. So, how do you choose the right one?
Start off by figuring out your website needs. What is the main goal of your site? And what tools and software will you need access to?
Different web hosts specialize in different platforms. For example, if you want to host a WordPress website, SiteGround and Bluehost are both excellent options. Find out more by reading: SiteGround vs Bluehost: Who’s Better?
Once you know your website needs, it’s time to do some research into different web hosting options. Check out the features, prices, and user reviews of different companies to help you make your decision.
Other important things to consider when choosing a web host are:
- Are there any hidden fees?
- Do they offer 24/7 support?
- Is their platform easy to use?
- What is their cancellation policy?
- Is it easy to upgrade?
Once you’ve taken all of this into consideration, you’re ready to choose your perfect web hosting provider.
Hosting vs Domain: These Are the Differences
Now you know the difference between hosting vs domain. It’s important to understand these two concepts before launching your own website.
Your domain name is your unique internet address that users type into their browser’s URL bar to find your website. Hosting refers to your “online real estate” where your website files are housed.
Did you find this article helpful? Then it’s time to register for your website hosting and domain and start building your new website. Before you go, don’t forget to check out more content in the Technology section of our blog.