You’re probably here because you’ve seen the term web hosting and domain name. You need both to create a website, but they’re responsible for different sides of that. After all, it’s the most common question that beginners have when starting on their website.
In this article, I will explain the difference between web hosting and domain names and give an overview of what they are.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is an address people use to reach a website, like google.com.
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When you type in a domain, your browser makes a request to a domain name server, which then points your browser to the associated IP address. The IP address is the location of the server that hosts the files of the site you’re trying to access.
If not for domain names, instead we’d need to use an IP address to reach a website, which would be incredibly hard. Why? IP addresses are made up of strings of numbers like 188.8.131.52 for Facebook.
A domain name is unique. As soon as one specific name is registered for a website, other websites cannot use it.
To get one, use a domain checker to ensure the desired name is available. Then, you can purchase directly from the page, as most domain checkers are associated with a registrar.
All domains have at least two parts. Let’s break down facebook.com:
- TLD – a top-level domain is located at the end of a domain, in this case, it is .com. They are used to identify the purpose of the website. In this case – commercial.
- The second-level domain – in this case, is Facebook. Otherwise known as a domain label, this is the identifying part of the domain.
Domains can have additional parts like a third-level domain or a subdomain.
Meanwhile, TLDs come in different types:
- Generic TLDs – like .net, .org, .com, and others are the most common domains.
- Country code TLDs – .co.uk, .us, and .in are top level domains tied to specific countries, like .co.uk for the United Kingdom.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service. Web hosting providers offer server space for rent. When you create a website, its files are stored on these servers. This includes posts, databases, media, and code. With the help of web hosting, your website’s files are available 24/7, making it accessible online.
Hosting providers maintain these servers, ensuring they’re secure and operating well. They also provide tools that let you upload and manage data. This is done with the help of a control panel.
Usually, web hosting services provide more than just server space for websites. Below are several added features that may come with a web hosting package:
- Domain registration – most hosting providers also function as registrars, allowing you to register a domain under the same company.
- Website builder – this is a tool that helps build a website. Most hosting providers offer it as an easy-to-use alternative for creating a website without a CMS or coding.
- Email hosting – this feature lets you create and use a custom domain email.
Web Hosting and Domain Name: How Are They Related?
Web hosting and a domain name are usually purchased together, but they are two completely different things. However, you do need both to create a website.
Web hosting is the service that keeps website data and places them online. Without one, it is impossible to put your website online, hence making it inaccessible.
While you technically can have a website without a domain name, using the server’s IP address to access it, it’s not recommended. Without a domain, it will be hard to reach, and you’ll be missing out on SEO benefits and branding opportunities.
In conclusion, a domain name and a web hosting plan are necessary when creating a website. They are entirely different and function differently, but without one of the two, your website will not be able to go online.
I hope this article helps. Good luck with building your website. If there are any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments section below.
“Juliet is an Editor at PRable.org, all in one content marketing agency. She loves creating articles about technology, innovative product reviews, and technical writing to help scale up digital growth. She is a writer by day and a frustrated singer by night.”
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