What is the difference between domains and hosting and what are they?
What is a domain name?
A domain is the friendly naming system for giving addresses to web servers and web pages. It hides the technical version of your website address. An example would be google.com. Every domain name must be unique.
The first part of a domain name is the Http:// or https://. Http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and https stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. The difference between the two is that https is served over a secure connection through an installed SSL certificate on the server. Having a secure website is much better than not having a secure website. Https is simply the technical name for the type of information that is served in a browser such as Google Chrome.
Domains rely on a naming convention, much like your first and last name. The second part of the domain name is your unique name eg: google. The third part is the family name eg. .com, .org, .net etc.
Choosing a family name for a domain can be done by first looking at your type of business (.org for an organization, .com for a company, .edu for educational etc) and secondly, you can have third-tier names such as name.com.au or name.com.nz etc. Third-tier domain names represent a country such as .com.au for Australia and .com.nz for New Zealand. So to break a domain name down into parts:
Third Tier Domains are great for your locations and the way Google adds your website to search results. If you choose a domain name with .com.au instead of just .com, this tells Google that you are a company and you are located in Australia and can display your website in Australian based search results. This is great for local Australian companies that only sell within Australia. You would choose just .com if you wanted to sell internationally. Choosing this type of domain name is great for your customers as well.
What is hosting?
Hosting is your “space” you rent out, much like an apartment in an apartment block.
So you could consider your domain to be your postal address and you hosting to be your apartment. One is useless without the other.
Hosting is much like the file system on your computer. You have folders and subfolders which contain your hostings website or information. The difference is is that folders contained on your server or hosting are stored on a remote server or physical server location and are retrieved whenever a user accesses that information such as a person viewing your website or online store in a browser such as Google Chrome.
You must have a domain and hosting together to have a website or for a web application such as a website or online store to function properly. If you do not have a domain, then you cannot access the website through a browser as a browser needs the address of the website, much like a mailman needs an address on an envelope. If you don’t have hosting then you cannot have a website in the first place as there is nowhere to add the website folders for it to be viewed on a browser.
Why do I have to pay for domains and hosting?
Simplified answer: You don’t actually buy the domain name, you rent it from your registrar. The price you pay them is for the service of routing the domain name to an actual server.
Hosting is a paid service as we have a physical server with which we pay costs, and we rent out “apartments” to you, the consumer.
Hosting and domains are stored on a supercomputer and are rented out to users.
Why do I have to add my website to Google and Bing?
Google and Bing are search engines and in order for them to find your site, you have to add them to Google or Bing. You can do this by going directly to Google Web Master or Bing Web Master and adding your website manually.
Please note that unless you do submit your site, your site will not be found on these search engines, and that can mean a lot of lost revenue and potential leads. Search engines account for almost 85% of all visits to a website, hence it is essential that you submit your site.
Is it brand-able or descriptive of your company? Use catchy and short a possible domain name. brands such as Facebook or Instagram, for example, have short, easy to remember domain names.
Is it memorable? Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember. If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors may forget it.
Is it catchy? You want a domain name that rolls off the tongue, describes what you (or your business) does and sticks in the head. Coming up with a cool name can be a bit tough since there are approximately 150 million active domain names in the world right now – but don’t give up.
Choose a family name(as described previously) that suits your type of business or identity, and choose a third-tier name(as described previously) that targets your location, unless you plan to sell or offer your services internationally.
Try to keep your domain name(including the family name and the location name) under 13 letters
Hiring a web designer or developer can take the strain off of trying to buy the best hosting or domain, they have knowledge in this area, so they can find the right type of hosting and the best domain to use.
Timothy Allsworth is an experienced specialist web designer, content marketer, and search engine optimization ( SEO, SEM ) expert here at Custom Web Creations Web Design Brisbane. He has over 7 years of real-world experience in the field and loves helping people and their businesses to succeed in an online world through his tried and proven techniques. He has numerous university-level qualifications in Australia. Advanced web programming, database engineering, SEO and SEM specialisations, Google marketing, business marketing are some of his qualifications. He envisions a web design business that prefers quality over quantity and gives the client the best end digital product their money can buy at affordable prices.