Our team is often asked this question and also if both are needed when building a website. In this article, we are going to explain the difference between the two. And yes, both are needed when building a website and are equally important but, they are different things.
One of the first things you’ll need to choose when you decide to develop a website is the website address which will be the way users will find your business online.
After the address name is right, it’s time to choose a reliable web hosting provider for your website which will be responsible for making your website live and visible online. And then you will start building the website.
1. Website Hosting
This is how to make your website live on the internet. If we think of the website as a person looking to rent a house and the domain name as a street address, then the web hosting is the actual house where the website lives.
A website hosting business has special computers called servers that store, or host, all the website files. Hence the term website hosting.
When a user types in your website address (domain name) into the browser, the website hosting provider’s server then shows the user the website page.
With a web hosting company you should expect features such as creation of email accounts, cPanel account and free backups.
2. Domain Name
Let’s think of the website as a house, then that makes the domain name the street address for the house. So in other words, the domain name is the website address which people type in the browser’s URL bar to visit your website.
Getting into a technical explanation, the internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through cables. And to make it easier to identify them, each computer has a unique series of numbers called an IP address.
The IP address is a combination of numbers and dots and look like this: 89.456.123
For computers, it is easy to identify and remember this number but for us it is impossible to remember all the numbers when trying to visit a website. To solve this problem the domain name was created and through the Domain Name Setting (DNS) which translate words to machine readable numerical IP address. A string of words is much easier for humans to remember than a string of numbers.
This makes it easy to remember a website name when you want to visit, such as audigital.com.au.
3. Domain Purchase/ Registration
For you to own the website name you will need to register a domain name, which is like leasing the name from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number (ICANN). ICANN provides domains via approved registrars or you can purchase your domain on AU Digital.
Before purchasing a domain name, you need to ensure the suffix and check if the name is available to register and choose the annual fee you want to pay. We’d love to think that once bought, a domain name is ours forever, but this is not the case.
Having a registration gives you the right to “point” (or direct) your domain wherever you want. After 60 days from registration, you can transfer to any Registration provider that you want.
To help on your search, the AU Digital website has a tool where you can search if the domain name is available and annual prices listed for each suffix, click here to check it out.
4. Which Suffix Can I Choose For My Domain?
The domain name is made of two parts: the name of your business name and a suffix which represent a region or organisation type.
For example, the domains ending with .com.au are for commercial business in Australia, .com is business in United States or globally, .org is used by organisations, gov. is for government and so on.
Each country also has a unique domain suffix, referred sometimes as country codes such as: Australian websites might use .au, Americans .com, United Kingdom use .uk and Germans .de.
If you are a business in Australia and your services is only national choosing .au is the best option to target national business. Otherwise, if you have a global business it’s recommended to use .com.
These are the most common suffixes used but there are dozens more approved by ICANN.
5. Domain Name and Website Hosting Needs to be Bought Together?
Domain name and hosting can be purchased with different providers, in this case you will need to work with both companies to edit the DNS to point the domain name to your web hosting.
On the other hand you can purchase both services from the same company, like AU Digital, that offers both services and they will manage the domain name settings. And also, it’s much easier to manage and renew both services with the same company.
6. Can I Move Domain Name or Hosting to Another Provider?
Yes, in both cases you can change the provider. When you register the domain, you purchase the right to use it and also to transfer away if you want, but you must wait 60 days after the initial registration.
And for the web hosting you can move to another hosting company without changing the domain name. You will only need to change domain name settings to point to any hosting company.
AU Digital is a full-service website agency with the expertise and experience to assist with all your website needs. We can guide you through the domain registration, choosing the best web hosting plan to suit your business and website development.
We deliver the best online solution for your business through our support team. Contact us today!