The differences between domains vs. hosting are important and both are needed to run a website. You should use them together, but have to purchase them separately. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at what each one is and how they work, and why choosing a good web hosting service is so important.
Domains are addresses used to access your website and are made up of three different parts. If you own a physical business, the postal address would be the same as your domain name. The first part of the domain is called a second-level domain (SLD). Then the second part is called a top-level domain (TLD). Finally, the third is called a subdomain.
The first part of your domain is the top-level domain, it is the .com, .net, or .org part of your domain name address. The second part is the second-level domain, the words that are to the left of the top-level domain. As an example, the part of the domain that says “google” in www.store.google.com is a top-level domain. A subdomain is an optional addition to your domain address like store.google.com, “store” being the subdomain. It can help organize and navigate your website.
When you purchase your domain, you get a unique link to your website. This link is called a “URL.” Without a domain name, your website can be extremely difficult for people to find. Domains make searching the internet much easier, and are an inexpensive way to create an internet presence.
How Much do Domains Cost?
The cost of a domain name varies depending on the type of site you purchase (.org, .net, .com). Typically, an unused domain costs between $9 and $15 per year. Finding a unique domain name is difficult as there are already roughly two billion websites on the internet. There are some domain companies that offer free web hosting services along with a purchase of a domain. The price of domains vary based on the domain registrar, local fees, renewal length, and extension.
It is highly recommended to buy a .com site as they experience the most traffic, are reliable, and extremely common. However, there are some situations in which a website should use something else, such as .net, .io, etc. The pros and cons of this should be carefully considered prior to purchasing your domain.
A domain registrar publicly acknowledges your domain’s registrations. There is an idea that a domain registrar is the company where you purchase your domain name, but it is really a company that registers your domain name and assigns it its own IP address. Registries that registrars report to are organizations that handle the top-level domains of websites. They do this by taking note of which websites belong to whom.
What are Resellers?
Other organizations that handle domains are called resellers. Resellers are like salesmen—they lease out domain names to companies in exchange for a finder’s fee. Unfortunately, resellers are not always reliable in the customer service department because they are usually side businesses. You can avoid using a reseller by using ICANN’s list of accredited registrars. ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and they maintain several databases that track domain names. They keep track of which domain selling companies are legitimate.
What Does it Mean to Own a Domain?
Owning a domain does not mean the domain is “yours.” Your domain is actually owned by registries. You can have a domain registered for up to ten years, but a lot of the time registrars are lenient and will let you continue to use your domain for longer. Instead of owning a domain, you are really leasing it.
Next, we will look at web hosting and how it differs from domains.
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To put it in simple terms, web hosting is a place to store your website’s content. If your business has a domain (address), then the hosting is the lot of land where your website (building) is placed. It allows you to store your website. Hosting providers rent out portions of their web storage to you for storing your website’s content. Every website needs web hosting in order to be published.
Web hosting companies specialize in content storage and security. Excellent web hosting means excellent customer service, quick server speeds, great accessibility, and pricing. It provides security by following a set of standards, sometimes going above and beyond, to protect the customer. However, some web hosting companies do not adhere to these standards, so it is very important to make sure the company you choose has good security. Below are some standards for a good web hosting service.
- Pricing – Sometimes there is a renewal fee for continuing to use the web hosting service. You will probably pay more to have better service and server speeds. Expect lower quality when paying less.
- Accessibility – Make sure the dashboard you use for managing your content is easy-to-use and user-friendly.
- Customer Service – Does the company offer reliable customer service? Once clue as to the quality is based on how many hours they are available for a phone call and if there are other ways to contact them.
- Server Speed – You should choose a company that offers high server speed so your content is displayed quickly.
Web hosting is usually reasonably priced but will most likely cost more than a domain. Expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $1000 per month, depending on the level and availability of services from the company. Better web hosting companies offer additional security, like network monitoring and reliable customer service. The more sophisticated the service, the more it is likely to cost.
Many experts agree that web hosting companies have an effect on the speed of your internet server. If your website takes too long to load, customers can get impatient and leave. Studies show that 40% of customers will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Choosing a good service means having faster speeds and more effective navigation of your website.
It is also important to note that Google will rank websites higher if they have higher server speeds. Investing in a faster server is a great way to increase traffic to your website. There are multiple popular types of hosting plans and server options to choose from.
Shared hosting is when the bandwidth of the server is used by multiple websites. A dedicated server means that all of the resources provided by the server are specifically dedicated to just your website alone. This type of server costs more but means a faster speed, making it a good investment for your website and company. This type of server can also help avoid issues with malware and Google rankings.
Problems sometimes come up and customer service should be available, helpful, and reliable. Excellent web hosting companies make sure their customer service agents are fully trained and ready to help customers solve their problems.
When problems do come up, contacting a customer service representative should resolve your problem quickly.
The best web hosting companies boast accessibility, or ease-of-use. Web hosting comes with a control panel, which is a web-based interface that lets customers manage their stored content, servers, and hosting related services. The easier the control panel is to use, the easier it should be to manage the website. This is one of the factors to consider that can increase the price of hosting.
Domains are like mailboxes; they are the location of your business and they are how your customers recognize you. Attached to the domain are the files of your web hosting content. The files stored by the web hosting service are like the building stored on the lot/plot of land where the address is located.
You will need both a domain and a web hosting service to run a website. In fact, without a web hosting service, it is impossible to run a website. The same rule applies to domains. If you do not have a domain (URL), there is no way for your customers to easily find you.
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Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More