“What is web hosting vs. domain?” is the question many beginner website builders want to know the answer to. In a nutshell, web hosting allows you to have a website anyone on the internet can access, while a domain is your website’s address, which the audience types into the search engine to land on your site.
They work together to keep your website online and accessible, so let's discuss each term in more detail.
Although new website owners often buy web hosting and a domain name together, they are still two different things.
The domain is your unique address on the internet that visitors use to find your site. You can have a domain name without a website, but not vice versa.
Web hosting stores all the website's files, making the site accessible to visitors. Thus, you need to host a domain to create and launch a website.
When you build a website, you need to store its folders, files, and data somewhere. That's where a web hosting provider comes in. A web host is a company that owns servers designed specifically for website storage that store various websites for a certain price.
If we imagine that your website is a living being, for example, the web host’s server would be its home.
There are different types of hosting services, so let's see what the most typical ones are.
Web hosting companies offer various types of web hosting, and below are the most common among them.
This hosting type is most popular among small businesses and owners of small websites. Its main benefit is a low price, as little as a few dollars a month, since the web hosting company hosts various websites on a single server, thus keeping the costs down.
But, when your website grows and receives loads of traffic, consider switching to fully dedicated hosting that caters to your website's needs only.
VPS is a website hosting plan that caters to moderate- and high-traffic website owners. VPSes are separate sections of a server, each hosting solely one website. That makes VPS hosting ideal for websites needing more resources for their website files than shared hosting can offer but whose owners aren't ready to move to fully dedicated hosting just yet.
Besides, website owners may configure their VPS with the help of the most efficient VPS hosting companies to ensure the resources they receive are completely in line with their business needs.
WordPress hosting is a service that caters to the platform powering around 30% of the web. It provides an optimized hosting environment configured to run WordPress fast and smoothly. Choosing the right WordPress hosting provider is essential because not all offer the same web hosting service quality.
You can also choose cloud hosting and keep your domain name and website there. The thing about cloud hosting is that different servers host a single website. That way, if one server has issues, another can take over and keep the website running, which is critical for websites requiring high availability, such as eCommerce websites.
When it comes to pricing, cloud hosting tends to be pricey. Besides, if you are about to start building your first website, this option may not be your best choice since you need experience configuring servers to make them work optimally.
Remember the comparison we mentioned earlier with the website being a resident and the web hosting company its home? By the same analogy, the website's domain name would be the home address. As such, choosing a memorable domain name for your website is essential to helping your audience find your website.
Some well-known domain name examples are google.com and yahoo.com. But there are many domain extension types (or top-level domain domains) website owners can add to their domain names, including:
Besides choosing a web host provider, finding a good domain registrar should be among your priorities, as you’ll also need to register your domain with an official organization.
Hosting a domain name pertains to hosting the address of your existing website or one you intend to build in the future. A domain host manages the DNS records and connects the domain name with your email, for example. Domains hosted by a hosting company will each have a portion of its server.
Before you can host a website, you need to choose a hosting company. As mentioned, you can keep the web host and domain name separate if you wish. Various web hosting providers are available on the market, some of which are free.
Even so, free web hosts may not be ideal for various reasons, so consider choosing the one that offers discounted website hosting for the first year. If you select a free option, remember that you'll need to add the company's subdomain address to your domain name, which might make it come across as less professional.
Now that we’ve answered the "What is web hosting vs. domain hosting?" question and dispelled confusion related to these terms, let's see how you can find these hosts before creating a new website.
You can combine a domain name and a web hosting account or purchase these services from different providers, depending on your needs and objectives. Below is an overview of the available options.
Many people are confused when it comes to buying web hosting and domain names from the same provider. Still, getting them in one place provides various benefits, such as:
If you prefer to purchase a domain name and web hosting separately, you should keep in mind several things.
First and foremost, numerous web hosting companies are available today for you to choose from. The most significant differences between these providers are their web hosting quality, uptime, loading speed, and customer support. They may offer monthly or annual plans.
Some reputable web hosting companies are Bluehost, GoDaddy, Hostinger, HostGator, and A2 Hosting.
You can buy a domain name for as little as several dollars, depending on the domain registrar. The domain will be yours for as long as you renew the registration, which typically lasts a year. Thus, you need to renew your domain name registration before it expires, so remember to keep this in check if your provider doesn't send expiry notifications.
Now that you know where to get a domain name and hosting, let's see if it is possible to transfer your website address to another provider.
Even if you purchase a website domain name from one domain name registrar, you are free to transfer it to another domain company. Once you register the domain, it's yours, and you can do whatever you want with it. All you have to do when transferring the domain is follow both providers' instructions.
Remember to wait at least 45 days after expiry to change the web host because a domain name remains in the register of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization managing and coordinating the domain name system during this period. If you try to transfer your domain name before the 45-day period is up, you could lose your prepaid funds for that year.
You can also move your website from one web hosting provider to another.
Let's assume you bought the domain name and web hosting services from GoDaddy and want to switch to Bluehost. Transferring your site from one host to another is a straightforward process: You simply move your files and data. After that, edit the settings of your website's domain name to indicate that you have a new web hosting provider.
Web hosting and domain names are two different things, but both are essential for building and maintaining a website. A domain is the address of your website, while web hosting is where you store all the files and data related to your site. Even though you can purchase a domain before actually creating a new website, launching it is impossible without web hosting.
You can choose to obtain a domain and hosting from the same provider or purchase them separately. To keep the domain, you must renew it before the expiration date, with the expiration period typically being one year. Additionally, you can transfer a domain name from one provider to another.
Yes, you can't have a website without web hosting. As web hosting keeps all data related to the website, it's impossible to create a site without it.
Web hosting is about storing files and data without which a website cannot exist. It's a service provided by web hosting companies that keep these files on their servers, thus making them accessible to everyone on the internet.
To provide an answer to the question “What is web hosting vs. domain?” we can use an analogy. Specifically, a domain is the address of your website, while web hosting is a service that lets you store all the files and data related to your site. So, we could consider the website a resident, the domain its address, and web hosting the resident’s home.
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