What is the difference between domain registration and web hosting? This is a common question asked by anyone thinking of launching their own website.
Domain names and web hosting go hand in hand. You will more than likely need both. Below is an explanation of both to help you understand what you are buying:
A domain name is split into two important parts: a web address and an IP address.
The web address is the part of the domain name you and your potential customers can see (www.websitename.ie). This is a recognizable and rememberable address that makes it easy for people to find your little space on the internet.
The IP address is the number based address that is attached to your web address, like (55.66.709.89) that allows computers to communicate with each other in the background. This does all the difficult work in the background for you.
A domain name is a combination of both elements. They are permanently linked.
The IP address is stored with a record that references your website’s name in a service known as Dynamic Name Service or DNS.
Your provider supplies the DNS records with the IP address and the name of your website. That allows your site to be reached from any device that has an internet connection. The web hosting company you use will create that link between your website name and IP address, and then bind it to the location where your website is being hosted.
All of this is done so that people don’t have to remember a long IP address for every website they visit.
If you intend on owning a website on the internet, web hosting is a service you will have to purchase. It allows a website to be accessible and run over the internet.
It sounds complicated but it is actually quite simple.
A web hosting provider will hold your companies website information on managed and secure web servers. When someone types in your domain name into a search engine, it will break down the IP address linked to the domain name, direct it to the web hosting server where the website information is stored and then send it back to the person trying to see your website.
As a paying user, you can connect to the hosting platform and managed your site. You can make changes to your website whenever you like, as well as upgrade it if you need to.
A web hosting company will usually provide the backend tools you need to administer your site, but some hosting companies offer more, including:
- Custom tools that you can use to implement advanced features on the fly,
- Billing that automatically adjusts based on your usage,
- Options for additional storage or websites,
- Webmail, and more.
Purchasing a domain name and web hosting together:
It is good practice to purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same supplier. Most web hosting providers offer a discount on domain names when you purchase their web hosting services. It also makes management much easier. Having your domain and web hosting manageable under one account makes it easy to track and make changes.
- Domain names are how we address websites on the web.
- Web hosting is where we keep those websites.