What is the difference between a domain name and hosting? This is a common question among many individuals who would like to start building a website for their personal brand, business or blog. Most individuals do not know that a domain and hosting serve two separate functions, but they work together. In this beginners guide, I will explain the difference between the two.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website online, people type this address into the URL search bar when searching for your website online. To define this in simpler terms, think of a website as if it were a physical location, the domain name would then be the address to the physical location.
A more detailed explanation of how domain names evolved:
The internet is made up of a huge network of computers which are all linked together. Each computer has a unique identifier called an IP address. An IP address is a series of numbers separated by dots, which look something like this: 145.15.795.23
It is impossible for people to remember these numbers when they want to visit a particular website, this is why domain names were invented. Domain names are much easier for people to use to access websites where they can obtain the information they need.
Domain companies specialize in providing domain names to people who would like to start a website.
What is hosting?
Hosting is where all the content of your website is stored, and it is the ‘home’ of your website. To bring it closer to understanding, think of a domain name as an address, and hosting as the home of your website. All websites need both a domain and hosting to function properly.
When someone searches for a website on the internet, the domain name is redirected to the hosting company’s computer where the websites files are located. It then it sends those files back to the users’ computer and displays the website on the web browser. ( i.e; Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc.)
Web hosting companies specialize in storing websites on their computers. Website hosting companies have various hosting packages to fit websites of all sizes. There are many web hosting companies in the world, my all time favorite is SiteGround, you can read the review on SiteGround if have not already.
What do you need to start a website?
To start building a website you will need a domain name and hosting. A website is not possible without these two components.
When you buy a domain name at a domain registrar, the company will give you the right to use the domain name from one year+.
As I mentioned before, you will need hosting to store your website content and files.
Do I have to purchase my domain and hosting from the same company?
You can purchase a domain name and hosting at the same company or you can purchase them from two separate companies. If you purchase a domain and hosting at two separate companies you will need to connect your domain name to your web hosting provider. Most domain registrars and hosting providers will have instructions on how to edit your domain settings. If you purchase both from one provider, this will not be necessary.
What are the costs involved?
A domain name can cost from about $14.99 a year, and shared hosting can cost from about $7.99 per month.
At SiteGround you can purchase a domain and hosting and start your website as soon as you are ready.
I will be publishing an article with step by step instructions on how you can start your website using SiteGround and WordPress. Make sure that you stay tuned for that!
Can I move my domain name to a new registrar?
Yes, absolutely. When you purchase a domain name, you own the right to transfer it to any other domain registrar. Let’s say you purchased a domain name from NameCheap, and later on, you decide to use Godaddy. Both Godaddy and NameCheap have instructions and guidelines with regards to transferring domains.
Can I move my website to a new hosting company?
Yes, you can move your website to a new host without moving the domain name. Let’s say your website is hosted at Godaddy, and instead, you decide to host with SiteGround. All you need to do is transfer your website’s files and content to SiteGround. After the transfer, you will need to point your domain name which is hosted at Godaddy to SiteGround where your files are.
If you would like us to help you get your website up and running, click on the web design link under the services tab in the menu above.
I hope that this article was helpful and that it helped you understand the difference between a domain name and hosting. If you enjoyed reading this article, then please leave a comment below. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter,