You might be thinking, “what do web hosting and domain names even mean, and why should I care?” Both of these products are necessary when you create a website and publish it on the Internet. You also cannot have one without the other.
This article will explain the difference between web hosting and domain names and why you need both of these services to have a website.
Domain Name Basics
A domain name is the address of your website. Users type this address into the address bar or search bar of their browser. Businesses usually use their name or a version of it as the domain name for their website if it is available. Sometimes the domain name is a word or a phrase, but it usually relates to the business for which you create the website.
A More Detailed Explanation
The Internet is a vast network of computers connected. Computers use Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to communicate with one another. IP addresses follow protocols, where each computer or server has a network identification (ID) and host ID. IP addresses are numeric, and it’s difficult to remember them— 192.168.1.15, for example. Therefore, domain names make it easier for everyone to surf the web.
Web Hosting 101
A web host is a service that holds all of the information for a website on a server. A server is a computer dedicated to keeping the information that you upload to it. The web host stores all the website data on servers, allowing people to access the website once published. There are different types of hosting that we’ll describe below.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like — you share the same server as many other websites. This option is very budget-friendly and is suitable for entry-level hosting. All websites on the server share the same resources of the server, such as processing speed and random access memory (RAM). If any server’s website becomes very busy from people accessing it or a malware attack, users may have difficulty accessing your website.
2. Dedicated Server Hosting
In dedicated server hosting, you are renting your own server from the host. You have full admin access to your website, and this option allows you to control everything from the operating system to the website security. This is the most expensive option.
3. Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting is cloud-based hosting. Many computers all over the world work together to host all the website data from within the cloud. You can use as many resources as you need, and this option is scalable over time, which means your website can grow, and you only pay for what you need.
4. Virtual Private Server Hosting
In virtual private server (VPS) hosting, your website has dedicated space and resources within the server. You’ll have more storage space and customization. However, spikes in usage and high website traffic still pose problems for this type of hosting.
Colocation means that you are renting server space where you provide the server. You have access to higher bandwidth and whatever resources you want to employ. However, the downside is that you own, maintain, and troubleshoot your own equipment. You are totally on your own with this option.
How Domain Names and Hosting Differ, but Work Together
Domain names and hosting are two different things. A website requires a domain to work, as this is the address to it. The website also requires hosting because this is where the website lives on the host server. You need both a domain name and a host for your website to be live on the Internet. When you type your website address into a browser, the server you host it on processes the request and loads your webpage.
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