The world of the Internet can be confusing. There are a lot of words we throw around, without explanation. Many of you have probably heard of Hosting, and Domain, but do you know the difference? Do you know what it means? You may not now, but after reading this article, you will!
What Is a Domain Name
A Domain (or domain name) is the URL you use for your website. It usually starts with www. and ends with .com.
I say usually, because you can buy special endings such as .co.uk, .co, .net and .org instead of .com. .com is still the most popular for the United States.
While most domains start with www., you can opt to remove this and have your domain just have http:// (which all domains must have). You should make sure that if you choose to not have www. (or to have it), that the one that you are not using redirects to the proper domain.
What that means is, if somebody types in http://endlessrangemarketing.com, it automatically goes to http://www.endlessrangemarketing.com (or vise versa).
Cost of Domains
Domains are priced per year, and the price varies by the ending. For example, .coms go for about $10 a year. If you are paying much more than this, consider purchasing or renewing your domain elsewhere.
Where is my Domain located?
A domain is located at a registrar. Most hosting companies are a domain registrar as well. So you could have your hosting and your domain at the same company, but you don’t necessarily have to.
Who owns my domain?
You do! Or you should. If you have somebody purchase a domain for you, make sure they put your contact information. If you lose touch with this person, and the domain is in their name and not yours, consider your domain lost. You wouldn’t put your house title in your realtors name, and you shouldn’t put your domain information in somebody else’s name!
If you have trouble checking emails, request that whoever is registering your domain use an email that you have access to. This way when it is time to renew, you get email notifications about it.
What is Hosting?
Hosting is the name of the service for servers that connect to the Internet where your website files are located. Every website has files. When you type in a URL (domain), you are telling your web browser you want to see the files located at that URL.
Since we are not connected to the Internet 24/7 (for example, I’m writing this blog post on an airplane, where I can’t be online!), we need to make sure our website files are online 24/7 so people can access them anytime.
Cost of Hosting
Cost of hosting varies, depending on what type of hosting you have. You may have a Shared Server, which is most common for small websites. This is usually around $100 a year.
If you have a larger website that needs more dedicated hosting, you may have a VPS, or a Virtual Private Server. This will cost more than a Shared Server. If you have a gigantic website like Facebook, you will most likely have your very own server just for your website.
Where is my Hosting?
This will be at your hosting company. It could be GoDaddy, HostGator, BlutHost, etc. You could also host with the company that built your website. For example, at Endless Range Marketing we offer free hosting for 1 year when we build your website. We don’t actually have our own servers, but use a reseller program through HostGator. This is common for small to medium size website development companies that do not specialize in hosting.
Who owns my Hosting?
A better question is, who owns my files? Because that is where the value is. Most common is for you to own your website files and copy write after you pay your website developer to build the website for you. However, it is imperative that you check the terms and conditions, as this is not always the case. Usually cheaper website developers keep the copy write and ownership of your website in order to make sure you stay with them (because once you cancel your contract, poof, your website is gone).
Make sure to keep a back up of your files in case something happens to your hosting. Yes, even big companies like GoDaddy can lose your files. It is your responsibility to have a back up of your website in case anything goes wrong.
This is the gist of what Hosting and Domains are. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave comment here!