Hello readers! Often, we are asked by current or prospective clients, “What is the difference between web hosting and a domain name?”. Many people do not know the difference between the two, so today, we are going to try and explain. Each subheading is a question we are often asked and I hope you find this informative.
What is a Domain Name?
Simply, a domain name is the address of your website. It is the address that is put in the browser’s URL bar, in order to visit a particular website.
Now for a more detailed look. Basically, the internet is a giant network of computers. Each connects to the other via cables, wireless or any other means. In order to identify each and every one of the computers, an IP address, “name”, is assigned to them. To differentiate among them, each address is unique, a series of numbers separated by dots. Typically, IP addresses look like this: 188.8.131.52. For a computer, it is very easy to remember such numbers. However, it is impossible for humans to remember and use these numbers to connect to websites on the internet. So, to solve such a problem, domain names were invented. A domain name has words, which make it simple to remember the site address. For example, markandryse.com.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live. It is like the home of your website where it actually lives. A good way to think about this is if the domain name was the address of your house, then web hosting is the actual house that the address points to. All websites on the internet, need web hosting. When someone enters your domain name in a browser, the domain name is translated into the IP address of your web hosting company’s computer. This computer contains your website’s files, and it sends those files back to the users’ browsers. Web hosting companies specialize in storing and serving websites. They offer different types of hosting plans to their customers.
How Domain Names and Web Hosting are Related?
Domain names and web hosting are two different services. However, they work together to make websites possible. Basically, a domain name system is like a massive address book that is constantly updated. Behind each domain name, there is an address of the web hosting service storing the website’s files. Without domain names, it will not be possible for people to find your website and without web hosting, you cannot build a website.
Do I have to buy them together? Or can I buy them separately?
You can buy a domain name and web hosting from two different companies. However, in that case, you will have to point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings. On the other hand, if you purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same company, then you will not have to change domain name settings. It is also much easier to manage and renew both services under the same dashboard. At Mark and Ryse, we offer such services.
Can I Move My Domain Name to a Different Company?
Yes, you can. Normally when you register the domain name, you own the right to use it and transfer it anywhere you want. For example, let’s say you purchased your domain name from Godaddy and bought your hosting from Bluehost. Now you want to move your domain name to Bluehost so that it is easier to manage and renew. You can easily do that. Both companies have detailed step by step instructions that you can follow to transfer your domain name.
Note: We recommend you to wait at least 45 days after the registration or renewal to initiate the transfer. ICANN, the international organization that oversees domain names, requires one-year renewal whenever a transfer is initiated. By transferring your domain name before that period you could lose that year’s renewal fee.
Can I Move My Website to Another Web Hosting Company Without Changing Domain?
Yes, you can do that as well. You own the domain name and can change its settings to point it to any web hosting company.
We hope this article helped you learn the difference between a domain name and web hosting. Let this post encourage a dialogue down in the Comments section below. All thoughts are welcome.
Until next time, goodbye from the Mark & Ryse team.