Domain Name vs. Web Hosting – What’s the Difference
Getting a website for your business is a big step that doesn’t come without a certain amount of friction and doubt. However, having a website is vital for your credibility and a strong online presence.
Let’s face it; every business needs a website in this day and age. Without one would indicate you are not serious or a professional business. Even when I am given a referral, the first thing I do is to look them up online. Who are they, where are they located, what services do they offer & what is their team like?
One of the first questions that our customers have when it comes to creating a website is related to the domain name and web hosting difference. People also want to find out what is a domain in website and how to choose the right web hosting service. In this post we will be breaking down each of the two concepts and also explaining both the difference and the relationship between the two. Let’s begin!
What is a domain name?
The domain name is the URL that appears in the address field when users are viewing your website. Those characters are usually letters, but may also include numbers. You can also type the domain name in to be able to access the website.
Without the domain name, your website could be identified using a numerical label also known as IP address, which is less practical and useful for business.
Domain names are comprised of two parts: the second-level domain (SLD) and the top-level domain (TLD). SLDs are the words or phrases that make up the name of the website, while TLD is the predetermined extension that follows. For our website, https://www.visualmarketing.com.au/, the SLD is visualmarketing, while the TLD is .com.au. The combination of SLD and TLD needs to be unique, so before creating a new website, you need to check if your domain name is available using a domain name checker.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that enables you to publish your website online and benefit from secure online content storage. The images, videos, and text that comprise your website have to be stored somewhere, a place from where other Internet users can access them. Web hosting is one of the most critical parts of developing an online presence, regardless of the size of your business, and you should choose your web hosting provider wisely.
Hosts store your data on web servers that need to have a large enough host capacity and be properly maintained. Using a dedicated facility and provider is easier and cheaper than creating your own web server using PC software. Self-hosting only makes sense for large enterprises, which afford to invest in equipment and staff to maintain it, and obtain value from this investment.
Types of web hosting
From the previous section you have probably already guessed there are different types of web hosting available:
- Shared hosting
Shared hosting consists of multiple websites utilising the same server. Users have no idea who they are sharing the server with and will have access to a limit amount of server resources, as defined by the hosting package. This type of hosting is the most affordable and comes with several limitations, which have a different impact on each business.
- Virtual private servers
In virtual private servers, one piece of physical server functions like several separate servers due to virtualisation technology. VPS simulates the experience of a dedicated server, separating the server into individual compartments with virtual walls, even if you share it with other users.
- Dedicated hosting
Dedicated hosting is providing a dedicated server with all its resources to single client. This solution is recommended to websites with a very large number of visitors.
- Managed hosting
Managed hosting is a service where the web host takes care of technical and maintenance tasks for the user. The server’s dedicated team of engineers take care of everything from security issues to hardware replacement.
- Cloud hosting
The difference between traditional web hosting and cloud hosting is that the latter makes websites accessible using cloud resources. Instead of deploying resources on a single server, cloud hosting uses a network of connected server hosts for increased flexibility and scalability.
What is the difference between domain name and web hosting?
The domain name and web hosting difference is now obvious. The domain name is a label that identifies your website and makes it easy to find and access, while web hosting is the space where your website content is stored.
What is the relationship between domain name and web hosting?
Domain name and web hosting are interrelated and both are necessary to ensure a stable and functional website. The two work together to run websites. The domain name is like an entry in a massive address book that is being constantly updated, while web hosting is the address where you find those entries, the place where the website ‘lives’.
You cannot have a website without either of the two – they are the name, respectively the physical location of the website.
Do I need a domain name if I have web hosting?
If you have already looked up some web hosting providers online, you have probably noticed that some services also offer a domain name. That domain name is actually a subdomain name that you are offered free of charge, but this is not a good idea.
Subdomains don’t make your website look professional (the name of the web hosting provider will be included in your domain name), cannot be customised, and it will be difficult to migrate to a different web hosting service if necessary.
Can I change my web hosting service?
If the domain name is impossible to change after registration (changing it would mean having to create a new website), the web hosting provider can definitely be changed. Anyone can switch the web hosting provider due to various reasons, such as different web hosting needs unless you have a Shopify, Wix or Weebly style website builder. The later cannot be changed so this may cause issues later and would require a website rebuild should you need to change for whatever reason.
Choosing the right provider is not simple, because each host comes with pros and cons and differences in terms of pricing, uptime, customer support, loading speeds, server type and location, and others. The important thing is to have your own domain name and not use a free subdomain. When you are using a free subdomain, migration can be affected by terms and conditions imposed by the web hosting service or may be more difficult to achieve.
Why managed hosting is the best option for your website
Unmanaged hosting means that you are responsible for technical aspects of your website, such as installing updates or managing security. Unmanaged hosting can help you save money, but without the technical knowledge required to manage your website alone, you will have more to lose on the long term.
Managed hosting is a service where the web host handles the technical tasks for their clients. This means that the team of engineers hired by your web host will take on responsibilities such as eliminating bugs, installing security updates, monitoring security patches, maintaining server hardware and infrastructure, handling hardware failures, and others.
Managed web hosting gives you access to the latest tools and software that ensure your website’s functionality and safety. At Visual Marketing Australia we offer several website hosting packages that come with benefits such as 24/7 server support, fast speed, improved SEO rank due to servers being located in Australia, lack of time zone differences, and eliminating the risk of service failures.
If you’re not happy within the first 30 days of hosting your site on our servers we will give you a full refund.
Our services also include domain name registration, managed WordPress hosting Australia, and comparison of the best web hosting plans in Australia. Contact us today – our professional staff will explain everything from domain name and web hosting difference to how each hosting plan feature suits your specific business needs.
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