Last Updated: February 2, 2023
If you own a business, are a blogger, or simply want to define your online presence, you’ll need a website, a hosting platform, and a domain. But, what actually is the distinction between domain vs hosting?
Stick with me while I look into the way domains work, what hosting is, and what types of web hosting there are.
What Is a Domain Name?
Think of your domain name as your street address, except it’s in the digital space. And just as a GPS device requires an address or postal code in order to take you to your chosen destination, the web browser you use requires a domain name to lead you to the website.
What is the meaning of domains and what are their elements? A domain name is composed of two parts – the name of the website and its extension (e.g. .com).
In case you aren’t sure what the differences between the domain name vs URL are, the domain name is a part of the URL, while the URL is a bigger string of information.
Using a text label gives you a simpler way of accessing and memorizing the name, as opposed to the numerical addresses used in the various network protocols. Domain names are used for recognizing internet networks, computers, services, etc.
|Did you know: LasVegas.com was the most expensive domain in history, acquired for $90 million in 2005. If you need something cheaper, you can check some domain name registrars and find the right name for your website.|
How Do Domain Names Work?
If someone wants to visit your website and doesn’t have your domain name, he has to type in your full IP address in the URL bar. But the point is that the IP address is complex, long, and hard to memorize. It’s also impractical if you want to include it in your advertising content.
That’s where domain names come in handy, providing a much simpler way to reach the website’s location, with a user-friendly web address. This is done by converting the string of numbers into an easy-to-read name. Even though they are similar, to differentiate URL vs domain, an URL is a web address that is used to locate a specific resource within the network.
To understand this better, I’ll explain what the Domain Name System (DNS) is:
- DNS is a system regulated by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Ever since 1998, this institution has been managing and maintaining the DNS.
- DNS servers are mandatory for the internet to work, and their role is similar to a telephone address book. Managing and storing a huge quantity of domain names in the form of a database, DNS servers are very important. They transform the names into IP addresses and direct your request to the desired website.
So, without even realizing how do domain names work, just by using the internet, you are actually using the DNS.
Types of Domains
All domains are not the same. Want to know what the difference between TLDs, SLDs, sub-domains, and free domains is? Read on.
Top Level Domains (TLDs)
As the name suggests, this is a domain name that is at the highest level in the international domain name system. There are a lot of TLD names available, but the most frequent are .com, .net, .org, and .edu.
What is domain hosting with second-level domains? This is when the domain is right below the top-level domain hierarchy. It’s best to use country codes, for example, those of the UK. English firms sometimes don’t use .com in their domains, but .co.uk, and governmental institutions use the second-level domain gov.uk.
It is an additional part before your main domain name. They are created to sort and navigate to what is called a web address, as well as different parts of your site.
They work like any other domain name and can be used for your blog or website. Most of the time, they are free because the name itself is not that attractive.
|Did you know: The shortest domain names consist of only one letter! Here is the one that is owned by Google to assist their Chinese users in locating Google with greater ease: http://www.g.cn/|
What Is Domain Hosting?
A domain host is a company that provides domain names, like www.example.com, and allows visitors to find your webpage. The domain host stores the domain names and makes sure that your domain registration goes smoothly.
For example, if you use a provider like Domain.com to register your domain, it will serve as your domain host and will help you choose a website domain.
|A domain name is made of two components – the name of the website and its extension.|
|DNS servers transform the names into IP addresses and direct your request to the searched website.|
|A domain host is a company that provides domain names and allows visitors to find your webpage.|
|Did you know: WordPress blogging stats reveal that 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments pop up on the WordPress pages every month. Every day, an average of 638 new WP sites go online!|
What Is Website Hosting?
So, what is web hosting? It’s an online service that lets any user who has internet access to reach your website.
A web hosting company is a data center with servers that store your website, simultaneously connecting it to the internet.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
Web hosting is by definition a service or company that rents servers and technologies which help you to host your website. First, you choose a domain name, then you subscribe to a hosting plan, and then your site becomes available on the World Wide Web.
These services are responsible for making sure your server is running without interruption and for preventing malicious security breaches. Their job is to store your website’s files and content like images, videos, and text, and to manage your databases.
Types of Web Hosting
Looking at a website vs domain hosting comparison, there are multiple different types of web hosting.
The hosting plans provide a special dedicated server exclusively to one client. These plans are great for websites with large audiences and many visitors. When you use a dedicated hosting plan, you rent a whole server just for you, including all of its resources. Dedicated hosting plans work perfectly for bigger organizations and can process higher traffic rates more easily. You get absolute control of the server, which allows you to utilize it according to your needs.
Dedicated plans have managed and unmanaged configuration. This is considered exclusive hosting, meaning that the operator can help you with the server setup and with its maintenance. Such servers are more expensive most of the time, but the price is affected by the resources needed, e.g. the bandwidth, RAM memory, storing capacity, etc.
The meaning of shared hosting is a service that uses one server, on which it hosts multiple websites. Generally, you have no clue who are the other users or which websites you’re sharing your resources with. Every customer has a limit on the number of resources which their server uses, and this is something that is regulated when you buy your hosting package.
The advantage of shared hosting is the price. This kind of hosting is the cheapest option. But it comes with its own downsides and limitations.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, and this is a type of web hosting that imitates dedicated servers virtually, within a shared server. It’s a great choice since it’s mostly cheaper than dedicated hosting, but provides far better quality, security, and efficiency than shared hosting.
This makes it the best server for VPS Windows hosting. Furthermore, you have root access to the server, which allows you to manage applications as well as modify the server’s environment with no specific permission from the provider, which you need to obtain when using shared hosting.
VPS hosting is an ideal option for almost anybody, gaming companies, developers, or anyone outgrowing the shared hosting platforms.
Cloud hosting means that all the apps and websites are made available by using cloud resources. Different from the standard types of hosting, solutions for cloud hosting are not positioned on a sole server. Alternatively, a grid of physical and virtual connected cloud servers hosts your website or application, ensuring better flexibility and scalability.
Your cloud hosting can be managed using web portals, APIs, and other apps. The best cloud hosting solutions also support SQL, MySQL, or NoSQL databases.
What is managed web hosting and how does it work? If the hosting company manages the administration, setup, and maintenance of a server or application, it’s called managed hosting. This type of hosting usually includes updates of your OS, patching, all-time support, hardware management, and security apps like spam protection.
It’s the company’s work to make sure your website stays up and running 24/7.
With managed hosting, you reduce the risk, and you also get easy access to experts in the field.
What is a hosting server with colocation? This type of hosting is a very secure data space where you can buy equipment, server space, and host your servers under higher security and assured uptime. Because most people and businesses don’t own private data centers, they decide to use colocation spaces for storing their main infrastructure.
Here are some advantages of colocation hosting:
- Low bandwidth costs
- High-quality technical support
- High-security measures in the physical data center
- Fast 24/7 connection
|Did you know: With almost 5,000 active web hosting companies, the majority of the web host providers are situated in the US. Next comes Europe, and Asia is third.|
Host vs Server
There are some differences between a host and a server, so let’s see what it’s all about:
A device that links you to the network is called a host. This can be any kind of device such as a computer, smartphone, laptop, and so on. The hosting device has installed software that allows it to connect through the network. All devices in the network have an IP address, and these addresses serve to identify the device which is connected. When the computer needs to connect and transfer data to another device, that data goes to the correct destination by checking the IP address. On some occasions, a hostname is used instead of an IP address. And when that happens, the DNS transforms the hostname to an IP address.
Another host vs server difference is that a server is software or a hardware device that gives services to third-party programs or devices on the web.
One server has the ability to link various clients, and one client can link to multiple servers. Types of servers include file and database servers, email hosting, and application hosting servers.
Domain vs Hosting
To summarize, a web hosting service is an account on a server that stores and serves your website and its files on the internet. While a domain name is the location of that website, sort of like a street address.
|Did you know: Google is ranked as the most popular website worldwide, with YouTube coming in second and Facebook third.|
If you want to create your own website, using any website builder, you’ll definitely need hosting for it, as well as a domain name. Purchasing a domain name gives you the right to use it, usually for 1 year.
You can host your own domain, as long as you register the domain. The first step is to buy a domain from the registrar and to proceed with coding the website, etc.
A domain hosting is a service that participates in the hosting of your domain name for your website. Hosting services do this by selling the domains and registering them for the people who subscribe to them.
The differentiation between domain vs hosting is simple. Web hosts permit users to generate and store website files and content on their internet servers. Domain hosts, on the other hand, supply domain names that help visitors access your website and content.