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Domain Names and Hosting Demystified

I come across a lot of people who think that if they have a domain name that they also have hosting. In order to have a website, you must have both a domain name and hosting services and these two things are different. Today, I would like to explain the difference between a domain name and hosting services.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is basically the add ress for your website, like www.yourwebsite.com is an address. Technically speaking, the browsers translate your domain name into an IP address. An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique set of numbers that is given to every computer, network, and server on the Internet.

When someone wants to visit your website, they enter your domain name into a Web browser and the browser then uses the domain name to find the domain's IP address and, as a result, the website. We all use domain names because it's a lot easier to remember a name than it is to remember a string of numbers.

Where to Purchase a Domain Name?

I should probably tell you that you don't actually buy a domain name but rather you rent it. There are a lot of places that you can get a domain name and these places are called "registrars." A registrar is a company that takes your domain name registration information and reserves your domain from the main registry.

In my opinion, it doesn't really matter what registrar you purchase your domain name from as long as you are okay with the price, the registrar provides some way for you to manage your domain name, and they don't put any restrictions on you being able to transfer your domain to another registrar. Now let's go over hosting.

What is Website Hosting?

Web hosting on a puzzle pieceA web hosting service is where all the files that make up your website are stored. It's the hosting service providers job to make sure that the files for your website are available when someone goes to the Internet and types in the domain name of your website. There are different types of hosting accounts you can get and they are:

  • Shared Web Hosting - is one server with a lot of different accounts on it. It's usually the least expensive option.
  • Virtual Private Hosting - gives you more control over your files and more security.
  • Dedicated Hosting - is a service that gives you a dedicated server for your files. This option is typically for large websites and is usually the most expensive option.

So that's it. Now you know the difference between a domain name and hosting. I know it can seem difficult to understand at first but hopefully, I was able to clear a few things up for you.

A great place to purchase both your domain name and hosting is GreenGeeks.com.

If you need any help with choosing the right domain name and hosting service for your business, be sure to shoot us an email or give us a call.

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