Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your web pages will be delivered to them through the browser.
Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the hosting companies will help you purchase one.
As mentioned earlier, most hosting providers require users to have their own domain name. With a domain name (e.g. www.yourwebsite.com) and email account features provided by your hosting company, you can create domain email accounts (e.g. email@example.com).
The use of FTP lets you upload files from your local computer to your web server. If you build your website using your own HTML files, you can transfer the files from your computer to the web server through FTP, allowing your website to be accessed through the internet.
WordPress is an online website creation tool. It is a powerful blogging and website content management system, which is a convenient way to create and manage website. WordPress powers over 25% of websites on the internet. Most hosting providers will tell you right away if their plans are WordPress-compatible or not. The simple requirements for hosting your WordPress websites include: PHP version 7 or greater; MySQL version 5.6 or greater.
If you decide to create and host your website with Website.com, in addition to access to the drag and drop site builder, you can get a custom domain, email addresses, and web hosting all bundled into one subscription.
If you would rather build your website through coding or a CMS tool like WordPress, we’ve handpicked a few hosting providers based on their features and price:
In order to publish your website online, your business website requires a web hosting service. However, a web host gives business owners more than just web hosting services! For example, web hosting firms typically employ in-house technicians to make sure their clients’ websites are up and running 24/7. Plus, when website owners are in need of help or troubleshooting (e.g. script debutting, email not able to send/receive, domain name renewal, and more), the web host’s in-house support are the go-to people. A professional web hosting service ensures a hassle-free experience for business owners, so they can efficiently focus their time and effort on their businesses.
We are often asked by our readers to explain what is the difference between a domain name and web hosting? Many beginners don’t know that these are two separate things. In this beginner’s guide, we will explain the difference between a domain name and web hosting.
What is a Domain Name?
Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser’s URL bar to visit your website.
In other words, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.
Now let’s get into the detailed explanation.
Internet is basically a giant network of computers connected to each other through cables. To easily identify them, each computer is assigned a series of numbers called IP Address.
This IP address is a combination of numbers separated with dots. Typically, IP addresses look like this:
Computers have no problem identifying and remembering these numbers. However, it is impossible for humans to remember and use these numbers to connect to websites on the internet.
To solve this problem, domain names were invented.
A domain name can have words which makes it easy to remember website addresses.
Now if you wanted to visit a website on the internet, you don’t need to type a string of numbers. Instead, you can type in an easy to remember domain name, for example, philzytech.co.za
Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live. It is like the home of your website where it actually lives.
A good way to think about this is if the domain name was the address of your house, then web hosting is the actual house that address points to. All websites on the internet, need web hosting.
When someone enters your domain name in a browser, the domain name is translated into the IP address of your web hosting company’s computer. This computer contains your website’s files, and it sends those files back to the users’ browsers.
Web hosting companies specialize in storing and serving websites. They offer different types of hosting plans to their customers. See our article on WordPress hosting to learn more about choosing the right hosting for your website.
How Domain Names and Web Hosting are Related?
Domain names and web hosting are two different services. However, they work together to make websites possible.
Basically a domain name system is like a massive address book that is constantly updated. Behind each domain name, there is an address of the web hosting service storing the website’s files.
Without domain names, it will not be possible for people to find your website and without web hosting you cannot build a website.
What do I need to Build a Website? Domain Name or Web Hosting?
To build a website you will need both a domain name and web hosting account.
Buying a domain name alone only gives you right to use that particular domain name for a specific period (usually 1 year).
You need web hosting to store your website’s files. After you get hosting, you need to update your domain name settings and point it to your web hosting service provider.
You can also buy both the domain and hosting from the same company. Typically a domain name costs R120 / year, and web hosting normally costs R50/ month.
If you are starting your first website, then this may sound like a lot.
Thankfully, Philzy Webhosting Technology is an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.
Once you have purchased hosting and registered your domain name, you can start building your website. For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to make a website.
Do I have to buy them together? Or can I buy them separately?
You can buy domain name and web hosting from two different companies. However, in that case you will have to point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.
On the other hand, if you purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same company, then you will not have to change domain name settings.
It is also much easier to manage and renew both services under the same dashboard.
If you want to buy domain names separately, then you can do so from top providers like us and Hetzner
Can I Move My Domain Name to a Different Company?
Yes, you can. Normally when you register the domain name, you own the right to use it and transfer it anywhere you want.
For example, let’s say you purchased your domain name from Godaddy and bought your hosting from Hetzner. Now you want to move your domain name to Bluehost, so that it is easier to manage and renew.
You can easily do that. Both companies have detailed step by step instructions that you can follow to transfer your domain name.
Note: We recommend you to wait at least 45 days after the registration or renewal to initiate the transfer. ICANN, the international organization that oversees domain names, requires one year renewal whenever a transfer is initiated. By transferring your domain name before that period you could lose that year’s renewal fee.
Yes, you can do that as well. You own the domain name and can change its settings to point it to any web hosting company.
For example, you purchased your domain name and hosting from Godaddy, and now you want to move your web hosting to Bluehost. You can move your site from one host to another by simply transferring files and data. After that you need to edit your domain name settings and point them to your new web hosting provider.
First, you will need to sign up for a WordPress hosting account. After that you can move your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Lastly, you will just edit your domain name settings on WordPress.com and point them to your new WordPress hosting provider.
We hope this article helped you learn the difference between a domain name and web hosting. You may also want to see our comparison of popular website builders for beginners with pros and cons.