Web Hosting and Domain Name are terms that you’ve probably seen thrown around on the internet. If you wanted to know what they are, how they differ, you’ve come to the right place.
Web hosting and domain name are two of the basic things that you need to create a website. By working together, they make websites appear on the internet. However, those two are quite different despite working together.
In this article, we will explain the real difference between web hosting vs domain name, along with everything else you need to know. Without further ado, let’s get started by introducing the two.
1. What is Web Hosting? Explained
At it’s simplest, web hosting is basically like renting a space on the internet to place your website. You can purchase that space from web hosting service providers, also known as web hosts. Once you’ve done that, other people will be able to use your site through the internet.
Before you build a website, it is first necessary to have some hosting space on server. A server is basically a computer that is always running and connected to the internet.
By purchasing a web hosting plan, you rent some space on a server to store your website. After that, people can actually access your wesbite using the internet.
However, it’s important to remember that not all hosting services are the same. In fact, you’ll find a number of different types of them out there.
Types of Web Hosting
There are different types of web hosting to choose from depending on your needs. Things like cost, storage space, bandwidth, etc can also change depending on the type of hosting. As a result, it is important to understand what the different types of web hosting are.
i. Shared Hosting:
When it comes to hosting services, shared hosting is considered to be the cheapest and the lowest quality option. In shared hosting, your website is going to share server space with other websites. Since a number of websites are going to share the resources of a single server, it is not suited for sites with many visitors
A budget option like this can be a good choice for small businesses as well as small websites in general.
ii. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
In a VPS, a single server is shared by multiple websites but with one important difference. It uses a special technology known as virtualization, which divides a single server into multiple virtual servers.
As a result, each site has its own separate space within the server. It basically means that you will have more resources when compared to shared hosting.
If you want something better than shared hosting but don’t want to rent out an entire server, then VPS is for you.
iii. Dedicated Hosting
With dedicated hosting, you will be able to have an entire server (or servers) to yourself. If you don’t want to share a server with any other website then this is the way to go.
Since your site won’t have to share any resources with any other site, it means your site can be faster and handle more visitors. On top of that, you will also have complete control over the entire server.
It is best for large sites with many visitors and is generally more expensive that the previous options.
iv. Managed Hosting
In a managed hosting, the hosting company completely handles the management of the server. You will have an entire server to yourself, without having to worry about things like administration, security, updates, etc. As a result, managed hosting provides a much simple and user-friendly experience.
If you are willing to sacrifice control for that sake of convenience, then managed hosting might be for you.
So these are the various types of web hosting you can find on the internet. It’s not exactly a comprehensive list but it should cover the most common ones out there.
2. What is a Domain Name? Explained
A domain name is simply a name used to locate a website on the internet. For example, you can enter ‘themegrill.com’ on your web browser’s address bar to visit our website. Here, ‘themegrill.com’ is our website’s domain name.
Similarly, when you enter ‘www.google.com’ on your web browser’s address bar, your browser will use that domain name to find out where the website is and open Google search engine for you.
It gets slightly more complex if you want to go into the details of how it works. When you enter a domain name on your browser (for example, www.google.com), it sends a request to a database known as Domain Name System (DNS). This database will then provide the browser with a special IP Address.
After that, the browser will use this IP Address to go to the website’s hosting server. From there, it will have access to the various files required to show you the website.
As you might have noticed, not all domain names seem to follow the same structure. For instance, ‘www.google.com’ and ‘www.hse.gov.uk’ are both domain names but you can see that they’re different in structure. To understand it better, various types of Domains are explained below.
Types of Domains
First of all, it’s important to note that there are different levels when it comes to domains. Some domains are ranked higher in the Domain Name System (DNS) while some are ranked low. The various types are shown below.
i. Top Level Domain (TLD)
As the name suggests, these domains occupy the highest levels on the DNS. Every domain name requires a Top Level Domain at the end.
In the domain name ‘www.themegrill.com‘, you can see that ‘com’ is the TLD since it is right at the end. Other examples of TLDs are easy to find, such as biz, edu, gov, etc.
ii. Second Level Domain (SLD)
Second Level Domains come right under TLDs in the hierarchy. In a domain name, you can find the SLDs just to the left of them.
To understand it better, let us take an example of ‘www.themegrill.com‘ once again. Here, the SLD will be ‘themegrill‘ since it is to the left of the TLD. In the case of a domain like ‘www.amazon.co.uk‘, the SLD would be ‘co’.
iii. Third Level and Lower Level Domains
As you can guess, Third Level Domains fall right under SLDs in the hierarchy. These are rarer compared to the previous types of domains. You can find them to the left of the SLDs.
For example, in ‘www.amazon.co.uk‘, the Third Level Domain would be ’amazon’. Also, the TLD and SLD would be ‘uk’ and ‘co’ respectively.
Following this pattern, there can be many other lower-level domains.
3. Web Hosting vs Domain Name
When it comes to the difference between web hosting and domain name, it’s actually quite easy to understand. They’re two entirely different things that have to work together for a website to run properly.
For one, web hosting is the location where your website is located. The domain name, however, is the address of that location.
The web hosting is basically a storage that contains all the files of your website. The domain name, on the other hand, doesn’t actually store anything. All it does is point a browser towards the web hosting server.
When it comes to hosting vs domain, it’s not possible to say that one is more important or better than the other. In fact, both need to work together for a website to run.
How Web Hosting and Domain Names Work Together
The basic idea is that web hosting is a storage for a website whereas the domain name is the address of the storage. If web hosting is a house that contains all the files of a website, then the domain name is the address of the house.
The files are necessary for a website to run as stored in the web hosting server. For someone to actually access that file, they’d need to know where that server is located on the internet.
This is where the domain name comes in. If you have the domain name, you can direct your browser to the exact location of those files. And finally, you will be able to use the website.
4. Where to Buy Web Hosting and Domain Name?
Best Web Hosting Services
Picking the right web hosting is one of the most important things you can do as a site owner. Before making a hosting account, you’ll need to consider important things like the bandwidth, services, as well as the cost. As a result, you’ll have to be careful to choose the best web hosting service.
Among different web hosting providers, we recommend Bluehost as it provides high-quality hosting at an affordable price.
With Bluehost, you can get web hosting as low as $2.75 per month and also a free domain with that. If you want to use WordPress platform, then it’s even better because it includes one-click WordPress installation feature.
If you want to check Bluehost alternatives, then check out the following top hosting companies:
For even more options, you can check out our article on the best Web Hosting Services.
Best Domain Name Registrars
As with the website hosting, there are a number of options for domain names as well. Domain name registration isn’t something to take lightly either.
When it comes to a high quality Domain Name Registrar, you can’t go wrong with NameCheap.
NameCheap provides domain names at highly affordable pricec, with a .com domain available for just $8.88/yr. It is also backed by a bunch of helpful features like personal data privacy and 24/7 dedicated support.
For alternatives to NameCheap, here are some of the standout options.
For more options, you can take a look at our article on the Best Domain Name Registrars.
So this was our article on web hosting, domain names, as well as the difference between them. If you are a website owner, or just planning to be one, you’ll be able to make good use of this information. Web hosting and domain names are pretty distinct from each other and it’s important to know the differences.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. We’ll be happy to help. And while you are here, why not check out a few more of our articles?
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