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The difference between the domain name, the hosting provider and everything in between

Last Updated on Jul 28, 2022 by Numinix Developer

Are you hoping to learn more about the differences between domain and hosting? While these two concepts must come together for your website to fully function, there’s quite a bit that happens behind the scenes in terms of set up. Continue reading this blog and we will explain the details of domain names and hosting, how they work independently and together, and some frequently asked questions we have had from our clients. 

What’s a domain name?

The address that user’s type into the browser URL bar is the domain name of your website. Put simply, if your website was a house, then your domain name would be its address. Since the internet is a giant network of computers that are connected through global network cables, to communicate with one another, each computer on the network is assigned an IP address for identification purposes. Domain names were invented so that users weren’t forced to remember a long string of numbers, and instead type in the address starting with www. 

What types of domain names can you choose from? 

Now that you’re better acquainted with the term, “domain name”, you may appreciate knowing that they are available in a variety of extensions. While the most popular domain extension is .com, there are other options like .org, .net, .tv, .info, and .io, as well as country-code extensions like .co.uk for the United Kingdom and .de for Germany. However, we do recommend staying with the .com extension because of its widespread recognition. 

How to select the best domain name for your website

There are already millions of registered domain names which means that many of the good, simplistic options are likely already taken. Since there is a lot of pressure for new users to come up with fun, unique, and quirky domain name, we do have a few tips that may help you get started:

  • Make sure it’s short and punch
  • Select something that would be easy to remember
  • It’s also important to choose a name that can be pronounced and spelled without worry. 
  • Try to not use numbers or hyphens. 

What’s web hosting?

The storage location where your website’s content files are placed is referred to as web hosting, aka the home of your website. In other words, if your domain name is the address of your house, then the actual structure of your house would be your hosting server. Businesses need both a domain name and web hosting to create an e-commerce website. So, when a user attempts to access your website, they will enter your web address (the domain name) into the browser’s URL bar where the domain name will take them to the files that are stored on the server. This is how users and shoppers can see your online website. 

Think of web hosting as the housing unit where your website’s files are stored. Since your website is made up of content such as, HTML pages, builder software, images, videos, text, and more, computers called servers are used to house all of your files as part of the web hosting service. 

What are the key differences between the two?

Both domain names and web hosting are two very different things, however, they’re closely connected in the world of professional web development. You need both to create your website, which means that without one, you’re unable to build an intuitive e-commerce storefront to sell your products and/or services. 

When you’re first getting started, you will be faced with choosing a domain name that doesn’t already exist. Once selected, you will have to register it, and continue renewing each year if you hope to use it long-term. Your next step is to buy a hosting plan that will allow you to link back to your domain name. After that, we recommend hiring a professional web development company to install your website’s software, tools, plugins, and layout your web content with an eye-catching design

Even though your domain name and web hosting are closely affiliated, it’s important to remember that they’re two different services that are offered by separate companies. So, if you edit any domain name settings, be sure to enter the server information provided by your hosting company to avoid any errors or issues with your website’s functionality. Also, keep in mind that while these two services are different, there are opportunities to get both your domain name and web hosting from the same company, allowing you to easily manage them both under the same account. 

How does domain host differ from the terms used above?

A domain host is an internet service that manages your domain name by using the Domain Name System (DNS) records and connecting your domain name with email, websites, and any other web services. Popular domain hosts include GoDaddy™, enom®, DreamHost®, and 1&1 IONOS®, to name a few.

How do you find out who your domain host is? 

Since your domain host is typically who you bought your domain name from, you can start by checking your billing records or searching your email archives for any information about the transfer of your domain name. If you’re unable to find it, you can also use the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization that collects domain information. Another option for finding your hosting company is a simple search of your domain name or IP address using a Whois Lookup database. Lastly, if any of the above suggestions bring you no luck, you can sign in with your listed registrar to see if your domain host is a reseller. If no reseller is listed and you still need help to identify your domain host, you can contact our professional web development support team.  

Below is a list of frequently asked questions designed to expand your knowledge

Numinix has helped hundreds of e-commerce businesses develop their first websites and continue to provide maintenance and support. We’ve had a lot of questions about domain names and hosting, so we’ve compiled a list for your reference. 

1. What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is a smaller domain under the main domain. Once you register a domain, you have the permission to create a subdomain.

2. Can I cancel my registration of a domain name?

While some domain registrars allow you to cancel at any time, others make you lock in for a certain time. Keep in mind that if you cancel your registration, it will become available for others to register. In most cases you will not receive a refund if you cancel your registration. 

3. Can I move my website to a different domain name?

Yes, you can. You can point your domain name to your hosting server or keep both domain names and have them pointing to the same website. 

4. Can I sell a domain name?

Yes, you certainly can sell your domain name. There is a huge demand for brandable custom domain names and since they aren’t cheap to purchase, it can be a great investment for you down the road. 

If you have any further pressing questions about domain names, hosting providers, or anything in between, please drop a comment below to have one of our Client Success Managers contact you! 


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