What Is the Difference Between Web Hosting and Domain Hosting?

If you are new to website hosting, the terminology can be a bit overwhelming. What are websites, domain hosting, or web hosting? How do they work? Websites are a collection of data files which are translated by a browser into what you see on your browser while surfing the internet. Web pages can be written in a number of programming codes, but most often are in HTML, CSS, or Javascript.

The data files are normally held on a server owned by a web host. A server is just a computer which may have more space than an ordinary desktop computer. Owners of the websites pay a web host for the rental space on their server. Some companies prefer to host their own websites, but they can require a high level of technical knowledge and maintenance to operate at an optimal level. Most website hosting companies offer several levels of hosting based on the size, features, and traffic of the website. Bandwidth can indicate how much traffic the site can handle without overloading. Some features, like e-commerce or discussion boards, may require extra databases to store their information.

A domain name is an address at a domain hosting company where a website can be reached. The server that hosts your website will have an IP address based on a numerical code. Though the IP address technically can be used, it can be very hard to remember and may not be recommended for websites where the owner wants others to visit. The domain name can translate the IP address into words or numbers. Hyphens can also be used in domain names. The domain name also has a suffix, such as .com or .org, which sometimes can indicate what kind of website accessed, but that has become less common. Most domain name suffixes can be chosen by anyone, but some, such as .edu or .gov, are reserved for those specific entities.

When you register a domain name, you choose what address you would like if it’s not already taken. Just like web hosting, domains have their own domain hosting and browsers can find that information almost instantly. When someone types a domain name into the address bar of their browser, the browser sends out a call to resolve the domain name to the IP address. Then the browser finds that server on the internet and pulls up the files hosted on that website. Many businesses consider the exact wording of the website domain address an important part of their branding and marketing strategies.

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