If you didn’t even know there was a difference between domains and web hosting, this guide is for you. With all the new terms that get thrown at you when you’re creating a website for the first time, it can be hard to keep track of everything. That’s why, in this guide, we’ll explain what is web hosting, what is a domain, and why these things are completely different (but equally important!) aspects of creating your website.
What is web hosting?
If you’re reading this guide, you probably don’t know how websites are stored. And you definitely don’t know what to expect when you’re creating a website.
Ordinarily, we wouldn’t bore you with all the technical details of website storage. However, when you’re creating a website, you need to know that all sites are stored on a web server. Why? Because this has a huge impact on how much you can safely budget for building your website.
Servers are machines that store websites, and they’re huge, bulky things that need to be maintained and kept constantly cool 24/7s. As you might imagine, if you had your own server, you’d have to dedicate a huge portion of your budget just for the electricity it takes to keep your server running. And if you don’t have the time or the technical know-how to maintain your server yourself, you’ll also have to factor in paying the salaries of your technical team.
A web hosting service works to eliminate these massive costs and replaces them with a tiny rental fee. That’s because web hosting companies rent server space to people who are interested in creating their own website. Your web hosting company will maintain the server for you, and all you have to do is pay for the storage. You don’t have to buy your own server, and you don’t have to pay for maintenance staff.
So, what is web hosting? It’s a service in which a company (like ours) rents server space to people (like you) who want to create a website but don’t want to buy or maintain their own servers.
Now that you understand what web hosting is, let’s look at domains.
What is a domain?
A domain (or domain name) is the address of your website that people type into their browser’s URL bar when they want to go straight to your website. (For instance, our domain is yoursite.com.)
And that’s it! Seems simple enough, right? And yet, people still get these terms confused.
Why do people confuse web hosting with domains?
It’s hard to say exactly why people confuse web hosting with domains. It might be because when you’re creating a website, both these terms are thrown at you in quick succession before you can really understand what they mean. It’s kind of like going to a party and being introduced to ten people at the same time. Give it a few nights and you probably won’t be able to tell Billy Bob apart from Freddy Cougar.
Why do I need to buy a domain?
A domain is the address of your website, but your website also has another address called an IP address. Your IP address is the address of your website, written in a way that’s readable to computers. IP addresses are typically written using a series of numbers and dots.
Since people can visit hundreds of websites a year, imagine how impossible it would befor people to remember a series of numbers.
Buying a domain gives people a way to easily find your website, without having to memorise a long string of numbers.
Web hosting and domains are both crucial parts of creating your own website. Without a good web host, you won’t have anywhere to store your website, so your website won’t exist on the Internet. In fact, without a domain name, nobody will be able to find your website. So, your website might as well not exist.
Do I have to buy web hosting and my domain name from the same company?
While it’s recommended that you buy your domain and hosting from the same company, you can totally buy these from different companies. In that case, all you have to do is edit your DNS settings, so you can point your domain name to your web hosting company. Buying your web hosting and your domain from the same company makes things a bit easier, because you’ll get to skip this step. You’ll also have an easier time managing and renewing both your web hosting and your domain name service, from a single dashboard.
The Takeaway: What is web hosting vs a domain name?
Now that you understand what web hosting is and what’s a domain name, it’s plain to see the difference between these essential aspects of creating your website. Remember, web hosting gives you a place to store your website so that it can exist on the Internet. While, a domain name gives your website an address, so people can find it. And that’s why, even though these services are both equally important to creating your website, they’re also completely different.
If you enjoyed this guide, you’ll love our post on how Yoursite works and why it gives you the best web hosting and domain names, in addition to an easy-to-use website builder!