If you own a business or are in the process of starting one, there is a good chance that you need a website. Regardless of the scope of your business and the size of your company, building a page to represent you online is beneficial to any company.
Today, almost anyone can create their own website, regardless of whether they have the necessary technical skills. There are many different platforms and tools that can help you build a website from scratch. And if you are looking for a more personalized design and additional features, developing a business site according to your specific needs remains an advantage.
But when it comes to creating a website, many people fail to understand the difference between a domain and hosting. Do we need a domain? Or hosting? Do you need both to build a successful site?
In this article, we will explain the purpose of having a domain name for your website and hosting, as well as how they differ from each other.
What is a domain?
A domain (or domain name) is the address that users type into a browser to visit a particular website. Think of it as your digital address that is easily discoverable by other computers with Internet access. In short, a domain is the name of your website.
A website’s domain consists of two main elements. To explain them more easily, let’s look at Google.com, where the first element is the name of the website – Google, and the second is its extension – .com. There are many different domain extensions, but some of the most commonly used are:
- .com (commercial)
- .org (organization)
- .net (network)
- .eu (European Union)
To be able to use a domain name, it must be registered. Each domain name must be unique, as no two websites can exist with the same name and extension.
When you buy a new domain, you decide which server it points to. And this is where hosting comes in.
What is hosting?
Hosting is the process of renting or buying space for your website on the Internet (World Wide Web). If the domain is your digital address, then the hosting is your digital home that this address points to.
Web hosting is a service offered by many companies that are licensed to publish websites online. When a hosting provider allocates web space to store files on a web page, it is hosting a website. This makes the content of the given website available for viewing by other users on the web. That is, if a user wants to visit your page, the only thing he has to do is to enter the domain of your website in one of the Internet browsers. After that, their computer will connect to the server where your site is uploaded and get the required web pages through the browser.
If you plan to establish and build an online presence for your business, having reliable hosting is essential. Choosing the right hosting for your site depends mainly on how you plan to use your web page. There are various web hosting services, but here are four of the most purchased among site owners:
- Shared Hosting – this plan means you share both a physical server and some software applications with other website owners
- Dedicated Hosting – this type of hosting is a private plan where you get the full server and do not have to share with other users, but the costs of this type of service are higher
- Cloud Hosting – this plan allows you to automatically increase or decrease server resources based on your website traffic without having to think about the infrastructure
- VPS Hosting – also called virtual private server is perfect for people who need more than a shared plan but still don’t require a dedicated server
These are just some of the hosting services that you can find on the market. When choosing a hosting service, the number one priority remains the fast loading of your site, especially if you want to attract organic traffic and plan to optimize your page for search engines (SEO).
Most hosting companies require you to own a domain to host with them. If you don’t have a domain or don’t know how to choose the right hosting for your needs, we’ll help you get your site up and running.
What is the difference between a domain and hosting?
Domain and hosting may sound like confusing concepts to those who are not familiar with the technical part of creating a website. This is because they are closely related to each other. For this reason, it is important to understand the difference between them before launching your first website.
The key difference is that a domain is a unique Internet address that helps people reach a particular site while hosting is where that site is stored and published to be accessible to users from anywhere in the world. So, if your site was a real store, to find its location/address, your customers would use your domain. But in order to enter your store, look at what you have to offer, and buy your products, they will need access to the content provided by your web hosting.
Do you need both to have a website?
If you understand how a domain and hosting work, you probably already know the answer to this question.
Although domain and hosting perform different functions, they work together to make your website part of the Internet. Every successful website needs both. This is because without having an existing domain, online users will not be able to find your website, and without web hosting, your website will not be shown to them. Therefore, behind every domain name, there is hosting that gives access to the content of the site associated with this address.
What if the domain name we want is already taken?
If you’ve found the perfect name but it’s already in use by another company, you have a few alternatives:
Find the domain owner and discuss with him to buy the name
Like any other property, domain names are bought, sold, and auctioned. Therefore, before registering your domain name, you can try to contact the owner and make a deal to buy the ideal domain you desire. The chances of this happening are slim, as most people are not interested in selling the domain names they own. And even if that happens, the owner may sell you the name at a price that might be too high.
Choose another domain extension
If you can’t buy the perfect name for your website, the easiest way is to use a different top-level extension. Users trust .com the most, but there are other alternatives such as .net, .eu, and .org.
Make small changes to the name
If your ideal domain is just out of reach, you can experiment with different combinations until you find an acceptable name that you like. If all the obvious domains are already taken, you might try using a shortened variation of your business name, or adding some of your main keywords within the domain name. However, make sure your name is not too long and it is easy to remember.
Registering a good domain name and purchasing a reliable web hosting service are absolutely necessary to make your site visible and accessible on the web. Although they perform different functions, both are vital to any site.
If you don’t know which solution is perfect for you, don’t hesitate and ask for help! Our team will be happy to assist you.