What is the Difference Between a Domain Name and Hosting?

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Imagine that you are looking for a place to live in and you thought it would be nice to rent an apartment unit. So, you start looking and found someone who is renting out their apartment unit. The apartment unit is in a good well-maintained apartment complex that charges a monthly fee for maintenance, security, and the use of any amenities available.

Now, what does apartment living have anything to do with domain names and web hosting? It is a great analogy to what you would do if you get a domain name and a web host.

What is a domain name?

Renting an apartment unit is like buying a domain name. Your domain is your online space where you can put whatever you want. It is where your website will ‘live in’, just like you living in your apartment unit. Domain names indicates the address of your online ‘home’. You can think of your main URL as the address of your apartment unit and the internal pages of your website as the rooms in your apartment unit.

Where do you purchase a domain name?

In the scenario above, you pay rent to the owner of the apartment unit. For domain names, you pay a monthly or yearly fee to a domain registrar to continue to use the domain name you’ve chosen. So it’s not actually ‘buying’ the domain name, but registering it. Because once you stop paying for the registration of your chosen domain name, then anyone is free to register it for their use – pretty much like how the apartment owner can ask you to vacate the unit and rent it out to someone else if you refuse to pay rent. There are lots of domain name registrars out there, such as GoDaddy.com, onlydomains.com, Bluehost.com, and HostGator.com.

Does it matter which registrar you purchase your domain from?

Your registrar is like your apartment landlord, so the answer is yes. Firstly, the fee for domain name registration vary among different registrars. Secondly, you want a registrar that’s accredited by ICANN. Also, you want to know what kind of support they offer. Do they have customer support? What kind of security measures do they provide, if any? What are their transfer policies? What is their interface like?

What is web hosting?

Once you have registered your domain name, the next question is where to have it hosted? A web host is like your apartment complex. The complex ‘houses’ your apartment unit and charges a monthly fee for maintenance, security, and other services. Your web host will do the same for your domain – you can think of hosting as ‘housing’ your domain name. You will also need to pay for the hosting service, most offer monthly and yearly payment terms. Some of the domain registrars like GoDaddy.com and Hostmonster.com also offer hosting.

There are also services like Squarespace that offers domain name registration and hosting, plus a platform for you to create your website.

There you have it! Hopefully, that clears the confusion you may have about domain name and hosting.

Now, once you’ve found the perfect apartment unit for you, it is time to design and furnish it! An interior designer can do wonders by making sure that you are able to utilize the space effectively and that your personality is reflected in every nook and cranny of your apartment.

When it comes to websites, that’s when you will need a designer too – that’s me! Ready to build your website? Let’s talk!


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Web DesignJoanne Whyte