If you are establishing a new business, one of your priority areas has to be on developing a website. However, for a website to work best and be indexed by Google fast, it must bring together a number of elements.
In your attempt to understand how to create and launch a website, you must have encountered the concepts of domain and web hosting.
You must be wondering if you need both or you can just go with one. Besides, you could be asking yourself whether you should source both from one company.
A domain name and server for web hosting are mandatory when building a website.
As a rule of thumb, you will find out that there are three mandatory requirements for every website;
- Domain name.
- Web hosting server.
- Site files.
Domain and webhosting are each important to your website because of the unique and distinct roles each offer.
What are Domains?
A domain name is simply the address of your website. It is what appears on the tool bar of the browser when your site is up. It is popularly known as a website URL. It comes in the form of www.yourwebsite.com. A domain’s main function is to help a computer locate your website on a server. Domains are very much similar to a personal mailing address or a mobile number. When you miss out on a letter or number, it becomes impossible to contact the person.
Without domains, there would be a long sequence of numbers appearing in the browser instead of one well-formatted URL. This happens because computer language is in form of numbers. The numbers within the URL that do not have a domain form the IP address of the website. To allow us understand computers, domain servers are instrumental in converting or interpreting the lengthy and numeral IP address into words that can be read, understood and recalled by individuals. Your website must have a registered domain name. Once you register the domain name, no one else can gain access to it as long as your registration and use are still valid.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting, on the other hand, involves leasing space from the hard drive of your web hosting service provider. You will be required to pay an annual renewal fee to keep the website running and storing your files on the server. A server stores your websites and connects you to the internet. This website storage space allows other websites globally to find and explore your website.
Popular hosting providers such as BlueHost paint website hosting as supplying a powerful server that offers constant internet connection using a number of high-speed connections. The hosting company manages, upgrades, and takes care of configuration of the server.
As a customer, all you need to do is to set up and manage your own website. Some providers go ahead to oversee storage of your website files in numerous locations to ensure extra security and back-up in the event of an attack or destruction of the main server.
However, it is important to mention that web hosting is just meant to serve as a storage space for your website files. As a website owner, you design, build and save the outline, content, and illustrations on the files, then put it up to the web hosting server.
WordPress and a couple of other content management systems allow you to navigate your files without needing technical knowledge to access back end of your account. WordPress allows you access some services that enable you gain access to your files using one-click installations.
Website hosting and domain work together to enable a web connection that makes the website visible to users. Indeed, it is your web host which enables users find your website, something that would otherwise have been impossible through a domain name alone.
Types of web hosting services
This web hosting enables multiple users operate on one server and where they share resources provided by the single server. There is a space allocated for your files although other users also have their own space allocation within the same server.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
With this package, there are often multiple sites hosted on one server. However, resources in the server are allocated and not shared. In VPS web hosting, a certain level of resources is allocated to you exclusively thereby allowing your site to run faster than it would do on a shared hosting.
You are the single user of the server under dedicated hosting. As such, you are in possession and control of all the resources within the server. Dedicated hosting gives rise to incredibly fast websites.
What are Site Files?
This is what makes your website. A proper example to explain this would be house furniture or fittings. Site files are what visitors see when they visit your website. Normally, they come in form of .php or .html and sometimes with a combination of .jpg (images) and .mp3 (music). Web hosting servers have the ability to read and display the webpage properly.
Must you rely on the same company for both?
Many companies offer a combination of domain and web hosting services. Perhaps this is what creates confusion between the two terms. You can use the same provider for both services but it is not necessarily a requirement. Some website owners do it for convenience of having a single location for management and hosting of the website.
Other website users prefer to have different providers so that they are not limited in case they want to change the web hosting or domain name in the future. This freedom is only possible when working with different companies.
Most companies offering web hosting and domain services have facilitated easy transfer from one host to another in case you need to change. It is also possible to have more than one domain name pointing to one website. The choice on whether to rely on one provider or multiple companies is entirely upon you.
A domain name and web hosting are different, but you must have both to make it possible for people to locate your website and allow it to run and display correctly.
For this reason, it’s important that you make a good decision from the beginning when choosing the server type that you will be using for hosting your site files.