Domain Name and Web Hosting: What’s the Difference Anyway?
If the idea of running your own website is new to you (let alone the practice), this will be one of your first head-scratchers:
What is the difference between a domain name and web hosting?
Think of it like this:
Your car is a 2028 Lamborghini (we wish).
It has an eight-liter combustion, sixteen-cylinder, sixty-four valves, four camshafts, quad-turbocharged petrol engine. It’s a nice car, and it goes fast. Really fast.
The name is its name, but that engine, well that’s something else entirely.
Now say you had a Toyota Corolla. You can give that Corolla a nickname like “Mr. Lamborghini,” but despite the great name, you’re not going to go 267 miles per hour riding in that.
Your Toyota has a great name (i.e. Mr.Lamborghini), but unfortunately, it lacks an actual Lamborghini’s engine.
Stick with me here.
We all know that even if you’re lucky enough to have a Lamborghini, you’re not the only one in the world with that car. But pretend the car (i.e. its name) is unique; pretend it’s something you’ve invented. A domain name is like that.
Your domain name should cover whatever you want to convey about your brand, if not your brand name itself. Hopefully, the name you want is still available — every web address has to be unique.
Once you’ve picked the perfect name, you have to register with a domain registrar. Most registrar’s charge a yearly fee for a domain name, but it’s around the ten-dollar mark — it’s not going to bankrupt you.
When you’ve got a domain name for your website, it will be the only website in the world with that address. It’s a unique signifier; something more like a number plate, or a home address, than a name of a car.
Hopefully, the name of your website is a little catchier than a number plate or a house address, but it will be totally unique, like them. No one else in the world, either an individual or business, will be able to share the name of your website.
As we’ve seen though, a name alone does not make a functioning car — or a website.
You’re going to need an engine.
The engine, in this case, is a server. It’s a server, a huge computer, that allows your website to function properly.
Some of the biggest companies in the world, like Amazon and Facebook, own their own servers and manage them internally. Unless you’re a big company or a tech-wizard, this option is usually out of reach.
For a small business, it’s best to rent a web server to use from a hosting provider. This option is both cheaper and easier than maintaining and running your own. To find a good web server for your business, look at a web hosting review sites like MangoMatter.
The term ‘web hosting’ usually refers to the company that rents space on the server to you. That space is where you can store all the information that will make your website. More than that, a web hosting provider makes sure your website remains connected to the Internet, so other users can access it.
All the files and HTML, images and videos which you need to create a functioning website, your web server stores. Like an engine, a server keeps your domain name running.
Web hosting businesses sprung up after the dot-com boom, and they are an incredibly useful industry. For most individuals and small businesses, the capacity to run a website is just simply out of their reach. Even if they did have the capacity, they often lack the infrastructure which would allow them to do so successfully.
Web hosting companies specialize in providing the architecture to allow people — who would otherwise not be able to — to power their websites. They’ve invested the time and money, and have the resources, to power a website in a way that would be completely out of reach for most small businesses.
We hope you found the promoted post as entertaining & informative as we did!