Domain names and web hosting services are essential elements of a website and have certain differences. In short, a domain name serves as a site’s address, while a hosting service provides space and a server to get the website up and running. Since both elements work hand-in-hand, it’s crucial to understand the differences between domain name and web hosting before creating a website.
This article will cover everything you need to know about domain and hosting – how they work and how they differ from each other.
What Is Domain Name?
A domain name is the address of your website, like Google.com or IsItWP.com. It’s what your visitors type into their browsers to access your website.
To be able to create a website, the first thing you need to do is purchase a domain name along with web hosting. Once you register a domain name, you get the right to use that name for your website for a year.
On the other hand, A domain name registrar manages domain name reservations and IP address assignments for them. You will come across businesses with some really alluring offers because of the competitiveness in the domain registration industry. These offers could seem appealing, but there might be drawbacks that you don’t immediately see. To know more, check out our guide on how to choose best domain registrar for your website.
However, you are required to renew your domain registration as long as you want to keep the name of your site. And, if you ever lose interest in a domain name, then you can let it expire so that someone else can purchase it.
A domain name typically costs around $14.99 per year.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a space where people store the content and files of their websites.
When a visitor tries to access your website by typing in your web address (domain name), then they’ll be directed to the website files stored on your web hosting server.
Oftentimes, the term web hosting refers to the company that rents out their computer/servers to host your website and provides internet connectivity to ensure your website is available online around the clock.
A web hosting account typically costs around $7.99 per month.
There are a few different types of web hosting, the most common are shared, managed, and dedicated. Depending on what type of web hosting you buy, you will have different tools at your disposal. Some web hosting offers services that help keep your website running without you needing much technical knowledge.
Other web hosting services give the owner partial or full control of the servers, therefore needing a skilled tech team. Also, there’s managed hosting, which can make any type of web hosting easier to handle with the help of the hosting provider’s own developers and techs.
If you already chose a web hosting service and want to change the host, check out our guide on how to transfer web hosting of your WordPress.
How to Choose Optimal Hosting Service?
It is essential to do thorough research before choosing a hosting company. However, our team does that for you. Check out our exclusive guide on how to choose best WordPress hosting. Moreover, there are a few factors you need to consider, including:
- User-friendliness: Every web host provides a control panel to manage your web hosting account. Make sure the dashboard offered is easy-to-use and has extensive functionality.
- Server Speed & Uptime: Choose a web hosting company that ensures fast loading speeds and offers an excellent uptime guarantee so that your site experiences minimum downtime.
- Pricing: Before purchasing a hosting plan, it helps to consider the add-ons and renewal fees that would fit your budget in the long-term.
- Customer Service: Pick a hosting company with a reliable support team to give you immediate assistance when running into a technical issue.
Shared Web Hosting
In shared web hosting, a number of websites are hosted on the same server. This is the best choice for small websites, bloggers who are starting out, and new business owners.
In a shared server, all the websites use the same RAM and CPU, meaning that if all websites stay small, there shouldn’t ever be a problem. On the other hand, if one of the websites in a shared server gets a surge of visits and crashes the server, all the other websites hosted there will be affected too.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Different to shared web hosting, dedicated web hosting hosts each website on its own server. Since websites aren’t sharing a server, they can have a much larger bandwidth for high traffic. Dedicated servers also offer a large amount of file storage for websites with lots of information.
With a dedicated server, the client has direct access to root and admin access. This is a good choice if the company has a skilled tech team. Nevertheless, dedicated web hosting can also be dedicated managed hosting for large websites without tech teams.
Managed Web Hosting
Just as there can be confusion between domain hosting and web hosting, there also tends to be confusion between shared /dedicated hosting and managed hosting. The reason it gets confusing is that all types of web hosting, be it shared, dedicated, or cloud can also be managed.
That’s because what managed hosting does is add a full suite of tools to install and run WordPress, manage files, manage email. All that plus a team of developers always at your disposal who are keeping things running smoothly under the hood.
Having managed hosting saves a lot of time and eventual headaches when things go wrong. Shared managed hosting is the most common type of web hosting for many types of small businesses and blogs. Dedicated and cloud-managed hosting is the best for big companies with websites that get a lot of traffic.
Note: Your domain can be used with any type of web hosting.
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How Domain Name And Web Hosting Work?
Domain and hosting work hand-in-hand – imagine that both your IP address and the domain name act as your website’s address, and web hosting is the actual house. Without web hosting, your site can’t exist on the internet.
Therefore, you need to sync and point your domain name to your web hosting provider after you buy it.
To avoid too much hassle, we highly recommended purchasing a domain name and web hosting from the same place. This way, you don’t need to worry about linking them manually, and you can start creating your website right away.
Let’s briefly go over the steps of how to build a website and host it:
- Pick your domain name and check its availability. Choose the option that best suits your needs, finalize the order, and complete the domain registration.
- Sign up on any hosting platform of your choice and pick a suitable hosting plan for the website.
- Choose a platform to start building your site – a website builder, an eCommerce script, or a CMS (content management system).
- Customize your website, upload files, and add content. Finally, when you’re ready – publish it.
Top Web Hosting Providers
At the very top of the web hosting provider scoreboard is Bluehost. Arguably one of the largest website hosting providers in the world, Bluehost powers over two million websites globally.
From WordPress hosting to managed hosting and WooCommerce, Bluehost has its hypothetical hands in plenty of hosting pots, all while delivering services at a top-quality standard.
HostGator has been around since 2002 and has, over the years, grown to now cater to thousands of customers in the hosting department.
The web hosting provider is the best when it comes to shared hosting services because it is reliable, the price is affordable and the company boasts 99.9% uptime.
HostGator offers three specific shared hosting plans, starting with the Hatchling subscription, which comes with unmetered bandwidth, free WordPress/cPanel website transfer, and a free SSL certificate. The allocations are generous and should easily accommodate the requirements of a single domain.
Hostinger has the top spot when it comes to cloud and premium shared hosting. It’s fast and is affordable with strong servers.
For its cloud offering, there are three plans available, Cloud Startup, Cloud Professional, and Cloud Enterprise, all of which offer 300 websites and unlimited bandwidth for your account.
GoDaddy is one of the most well-recognized names in the web hosting industry, servicing millions of customers worldwide.
They offer a variety of services ranging from website builders and professional email to domain registration and web hosting.
SiteGround hosts data centers on four different continents, making it one of the industry’s most widespread web hosting service providers. SiteGround provides web hosting, WP hosting, WooCommerce hosting, cloud hosting, and reseller hosting.
Along with its web hosting services, SiteGround also provides website builder tools. These tools help you get your website running from the ground up. SiteGround works with both Weebly and WordPress, giving you the site-building tools and features you need to build a website without any web design experience.
To know more about the best web hosting providers, check out our researched and curated listicle on the top 10 WordPress hosting providers.
Despite being completely different, many people still don’t know the difference between a domain name and web hosting. Both are essential elements of website building and serve distinct functions.
Here’s a summary of the two elements:
- A domain name is a string of characters that identifies a website. It is what users type in their browser to visit your site.
- Web hosting provides space on a server for your website files, allowing it to be available on the internet. When visitors access your domain name, the hosting provider will transfer those files to their web browsers.
We hope this article helped you learn the differences between domain names and web hosting. Now you know how they go hand in hand when powering a website.