To many people, especially those with non-IT backgrounds or beginners, the terms ‘Domain’ and ‘Hosting’ are similar.
However, these two are separate things. In this simplified article, the differences between a domain name and web hosting are described in detail.
What’s a Domain Name?
In simple words, a domain name is the address of any website that internet users type in the URL bar in the browser. In other words, if your website is a house, then the domain name is its address.
Now, let’s go to its detailed explanation.
The Internet is a gigantic network of computers connected to each other through cable. To easily distinguish them, each computer is assigned a series of numbers, which is known as an IP address.
These numbers are separated by dots. Generally, an IP address looks like the following numbers:
As computers, basically, works with numbers, they have no problem identifying and preserving these numbers.
Computers can identify and remember these numbers. But, the human mind is not suited to remember these numbers.
Rather, they can easily understand the names. So, to solve this problem, domain names were invented. Consisting of words, a domain name is easy to remember in case of remembering the website addresses.
Instead of typing a string of numbers, you can type the easier domain name. For example, www.facebook.com.
What is Web Hosting?
Where all the files of the website live, is known as web hosting. Hosting is said the home of your website, where it actually exists.
A domain name is the address of your website, which can be compared to the address of the house, whereas hosting can aid the house itself, where the address belongs. Web hosting is a must for all websites on the internet.
But, the matter is when someone enters a domain name in the browser, it’s translated into the IP address of the computer of a web hosting company.
This computer contains the files of your website and sends those files back to the browser of users.
The web hosting company is in the duty of storing and serving websites. According to the customer’s needs, they offer different plans to them.
For example, WordPress offers template and theme-providing services along with its hosting service.
Relations between Domain Name and Web Hosting
Though seems similar, a domain name and web hosting are two different things. The important fact, is they work together to make a website successful and active.
A domain name can be said a massive address book that is constantly updated. Each domain name has an address related to the web hosting service that stores the website’s files.
In essence, without a domain name, people won’t find your website and you can’t build a website without hosting.
How Can You Build a Website? How do Domain Name and Website facilitate it?
You’d need both a domain name and a web hosting account in order to build a website. You can get the right of using a particular web address by buying a domain name for a specified period.
A website is a collection of several web pages or files which are stored in the hosting server. After getting the hosting, you’ve to update your domain name settings and direct it to the hosting service provider.
Most of the time, you can buy both the domain and hosting from the same company. In general, a domain name price is $14.99 for a year and a web hosting service normally costs $ 7.99 per month. This price is reasonable even for beginners.
After purchasing hosting and registering the domain name, you can begin to build your website.
Do I have to buy a domain and hosting together? Or buy them separately?
Domain name purchasing and getting hosting services can be taken from two separate companies. But, if you need to do that, you’ve to point your domain name to the web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.
However, if you purchase a domain name and web hosting from the same company, then you need to alter your domain name settings.
If you get the domain name and web hosting service from the same entity, then it’s much easier to manage and renew both services.
In the case of buying domain names separately, you should better do so from top providers like: Domain.com, Godaddy, Network Solutions, or NameCheap.
Is it possible to move the domain name to a different company?
Yes, it’s possible. When you register, i.e., purchase the domain name, you have the right to use and transfer it wherever you want.
For example, you’ve purchased your domain name from Domain.com and brought a hosting service from Hostinger.com.
Now, you want to move your domain name to Hostinger.com for managing and renewing it easily. Following step-by-step instructions set by the company, you can transfer your domain name.
Remember, to incur the transfer, it’s wise to wait at least 45 days after the registration or renewal.
According to the principle of ICANN, the international organization for overseeing domain names, its required a one-year renewal after the introduction of a transfer.
You can have a reduced renewal fee if you transfer the domain name before that period.
Is it possible to move the website to another hosting company without changing the domain?
Yes, it’s possible. You can change the setting of your owned domain name and point it to any web hosting company.
For instance, if you purchase a domain name and hosting from DreamHost, and want to move your hosting to Godaddy, you can move your site from one host to another just by transferring data and files.
Then, you’d need to edit your domain name settings and direct them to your new web hosting provider.
Let’s go through another example. If you purchase your domain name from WrdPress.com and want to move to self-hosted WordPress.org, first, you’ve to sign up for a WordPress hosting account.
Then, you have just to edit your domain name settings from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. And direct it to a new web hosting provider, WordPress.org.
It’s expected that you may have a clear-cut idea about the detailed basic differences between a domain name and web hosting. More about web hosting and domain are coming next.