Domain and hosting: what are they, and what are the differences
Though they do have similarities in areas that cross over, the main difference between domain and hosting is that a domain is the address, which, just as with a postal address, it allows a visitor to quickly navigate to your website online, whereas hosting is based on where the website files are actually stored. In order to have a website that operates, it is essential to have both a domain and a hosting space or provider.
As mentioned, both parts work simultaneously and are equally important, so it’s crucial to comprehend the variances between these two elements before setting up a website.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is known as your website’s address or location on the Internet where searchers can find your website. This is the item that internet users put in their browser’s URL bar in order to go to your website, e.g., www.relevantaudience.com
As mentioned above, if your website had a physical location, then your domain name would be its postal address.
The Internet is essentially made up of a huge computer network that connects to one another via cables. In order to identify them and to ensure that they are unique, each one of the computers is given a series of numbers which is known as its IP Address.
An IP address consists of a series of numbers separated with dots, which looks something like this: 66.298.34.9
For computers, identifying, memorizing, and using these numbers is straightforward. However, it would not be possible for human brains to keep remembering all these numbers to browse websites on the Internet.
Therefore, domain names were invented to humanize the process, as domain names consist of words that make website addresses much easier to remember.
Domain names are usually formed from two parts separated by a dot. The first element is your brand name which can contain both letters and numbers, like RelevantAudience or 1800flowers, whereas the second part consists of a domain extension like .com, .org, .net, .co.th, and so on.
The idea is that each domain has to be a unique web address, which means that there is only one relevantaudience.com website address in the world.
What is website hosting?
The website hosting is the location where your website content files are stored, including webpage document pages, information, software data, and applications, along with media files such as images, audio and video files, etc., are located. It is essentially your website’s home in terms of the location of where it stays.
When a user tries to get into your website by typing your website address (or domain name) into the browser’s URL bar, this domain name points them to where the files are stored on the website server. This is the computer that contains your website’s content files, and it sends these files back to the browser of the user.
Website hosting companies specialize in both storing and serving websites. They typically provide different types of hosting plan services to their customers.
Even though they have very distinct differences, the domain name and website hosting are often mixed up or used interchangeably. Yet, both are crucial parts of the website development process, and they have their own unique functionality.
You can buy both a domain and website hosting service from the same company or different companies. There are many options to choose from, often depending on your budget, particularly for the website hosting component, ranging from a shared website hosting service, a managed hosting service to dedicated servers, and many options in between.
In order to summarize the two elements, they can be seen in this way:
The domain name consists of a string of characters (usually letters, sometimes words) that identifies a website. This is what users type into their browser in order to visit your website.
On the other hand, website hosting can be viewed as a service that offers server space dedicated (or shared) for your website files, enabling the website to function on the Internet. When visitors type in your domain name and visit the website address, your hosting provider service will transfer the website files to their web browsers in order for the website to display.
These are the key differences between both domain names and web hosting and how they work together for your website to function.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information