Differences Between Web Hosting and Domain Name

Although associated very closely, domain names & web hosting are entirely different things, learn the differences between them & definitions.

Updated on March 20, 2023
Differences Between Web Hosting and Domain Name

Just like any other industry, those who want to build a website need to familiarise themselves with its own set of terminology. From HTML to Secure Sockets Layer, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, things can be challenging. Today we will look at the differences between two key terms. Learn all the differences between web hosting and domain name, how to buy, and their definitions.

Web hosting and domain name. Although closely associated, domain names and web hosting are entirely different things, so let’s look at each in turn and how they are associated.

What Is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is where you place all the files that make up your website. Every website worldwide needs web hosting, and there are no exceptions. It is usually provided by web hosting companies that specialize in the business.

There are several different kinds of web hosting, but the primary difference is that each offers various features from one. Within the same category, the difference is usually incapacity. The cheapest form of web hosting is shared hosting, which is also the least feature-rich.

For those who are looking to improve website performance or who are looking at higher volumes of traffic, then they would need to consider either VPS hosting or perhaps a dedicated server.

These cater to site owners who need more resources, such as memory and processing power. Some hosts offer many different types of web hosting packages, from shared to Cloud hosting

There are thousands of web hosting companies in existence today, each offering multiple hosting packages. Website owners should look for web hosting comparisons to know the differences between those on offer.

What Is A Domain Name?

While some people may think of a domain name as a website, it is only the means by which a website is located. A domain name is an address that is up to locate a website and is what allows people to get to your site on the Internet.

The Internet is a massive network of computers that are connected. To identify themselves, they use addresses which are a combination of numbers. Domain names are user-friendly ways to associate with those numbers. Learn all the differences between web hosting and domain name, how to buy, and their definitions.

Types Of Domain Names

Because they are meant to be user-friendly ways of identifying addresses, domain names can be anything you choose if it is not already in use. Whatever domain name you choose, needs to work with a domain name identifier to be complete. Let’s look at some of these domain name identifiers;

Top Level Domains or TLDs are the highest levels of domain names identified existing and cover two main areas – generic and country-specific.

Generic TLDs are the most usual and familiar to most people, such as .com, .net, and .org.

Country-level TLDs are similar but help users identify which countries those domain names originate from, such as .au for Australia, .sg for Singapore, or .jp for Japan. Country-level TLDs are usually only for use by businesses who are in those countries.

One step removed from TLDs is second-level domain names. This is when TLDs are together with country-level TLDs to identify the nature of websites within a country. For example, a .com.au for Australia or .net.my for Malaysia extension.

While there are many more forms of domain names, these are the most basic identifying ones and are what most website owners would be looking for.

Where To Buy A Domain Name: Differences Between Hosting

Firstly, you can purchase domain names in many places on the Internet, but they are always through a domain name registrar. These companies manage domain names and are all accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN is not a commercial company. However, a non-profit organization has managed the global Domain Name System. Just take this information as it is since it is not vital to know it to buy a domain name. Some examples of places where you can purchase domain names are GoDaddy and NameCheap.

How web hosting and domain names work together

Through the descriptions above, you can see that domain names and web hosting handle two entirely different things.

Yet, for a website to be accessible to users on the Internet, they must work together. Domain names need to point at a web hosting space for users to be able to access it. Users type the domain name into their browser address bars and go to a web hosting area.

The files you keep on that web hosting space then form your website for the user to make use of.

Without the domain name, it would be impossible for users to reach your website. Without your web hosting space, there would be nowhere for you to place your files to serve your website to users who are looking for it.

Do I have to have a domain name or web hosting to construct my website?

Domain names and web hosting are both necessary to create a website. When you buy a domain name, you are typically granted permission to utilize it for just one year.

After that, you will need a web hosting service that stores website files to host your website. After acquiring the web hosting, modify your domain name settings and direct it to your web hosting service’s address. Learn all the differences between web hosting and domain name, how to buy, and their definitions.

Is it possible to buy web hosting and a domain name separately?

You can purchase web hosting services and domain names from different companies but must direct your domain name to the web hosting company. This is possible by altering the DNS settings.

However, it’s simpler to buy a domain name and web hosting from the same company; in this instance, you won’t have to alter the domain name settings. It’s simple to manage and update both services, utilizing the same interface.

Conclusion About Domain and Hosting Differences

As you can see, there is a very distinct difference between these two things. That is yet so vital for each other in serving websites. Because of this, you will commonly find that many web hosts also allow users to buy domain names from them.

However, this isn’t a necessity. You can buy hosting and a domain name from two separate sources. New site owners not configuring domain names should accept them as a package.

As a result, avoid issues there. However, for those with some experience with domain names, you can sometimes find cheap deals on some registrars.

For example, NameCheap often has domain names on sale for as low as $1. Doing this, however, means that you will need to manually point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.

There are also other things to consider. Such as paying separate bills for a domain name and web hosting. One good reason for shopping elsewhere for a domain name could be if you were looking for a specific phrase. Which might be by someone else looking to resell it, but that’s another story altogether. I hope you did understand all the domain and hosting definitions and differences;