The Web design industry is growing fast and people are keen to showcase their work and do business online. If you are thinking of launching your own website, you’ll require a domain name and web hosting in order to create one.
While setting up your first website, it’s common for anyone to get confused between a domain name and a web hosting, they would rather not able to differentiate between them. So it’s important that you are apparent on their differences before starting.
This blog is everything you should know about a domain and web hosting. Before introducing the difference between them, let’s get a bit overview with the help of an example:
If a domain name is the address of your website. Then web hosting is the home where your site lives.
Thus, to create your website. You need both domain name as well as web hosting. It is important to remember that they are two separate services. And you can buy them from two different companies for your WordPress Website.
Meanwhile, to say, Domain name and Web hosting both are different services. Whereas, both work together to make sites possible on the internet.
Fast forward – a domain name is like a big address book which is constantly updated. Behind every domain name, there is an address of web hosting service storing the site’s files. It is not possible to find any website without any domain name and you can not create a website without web hosting.
Go through the entire article to get detailed information about their relationship and differences.
Since this is a long article to go through, the contents covered in this article are mentioned here pointwise for your ease to find the relevant piece of information:
- What is a domain name
- Structure of a domain name
- DNS and its origin
- Domain registration
- Redirecting, adding, and parking domains
- How to track domain name
- How to buy a domain name
- Change a domain name
- What is Web hosting
- WordPress hosting requirements
- Migrating a domain name
Simply, millions and millions of people all over the world browse the web every second. They do it by typing in something called a domain name. They type in the address bar of the web browser which they run on their PC.
Furthermore, a domain name is an address of your site which user type in the browser to visit your website. It’s a string of characters that gives your website a unique identity. Or you can say that, if your site is a house then the domain name is the house address.
In other words, domain names are connected to a specific IP (Internet Protocol) address of a server where the web page is being hosted.
However, here is an example:
https://mom.me is the domain name of a website.
Now let’s have a look at the structure of the domain through the image illustrated below.
If you wonder what happens when you enter a domain name in your browser? Let’s have a look at it.
The Internet is a huge network of computers which are connected with each other. These computers use IP (Internet Protocol) address to identify each other on the network. Computers and other network devices use a unique IP address to route your request to the site you’re trying to reach on the internet.
Here, you don’t need an own IP address book, instead of it, your browser sends a request to a global network of servers. That form is the Domain Name System (DNS) for your site. DNS is a set of servers which manages the database that maps domain names to IP address. Have a look below we mentioned some more information about DNS in detail.
Further, these servers then look up for the name servers. Which are associated with a domain? And forward the request to those servers name. Like: if your site is hosted on Bluehost. Then its name server information will be like:
However, these names are managed by your hosting company by computer. After that, your hosting company forwards your request to the computer. Where exactly your WordPress website is stored on your PC.
Here, this computer is called a web server and it has special software installed in it (Apache, Nginx are two popular web server software). Thereafter, the web server fetches the requested website. And sends it back to the browser of your PC from where you are looking for the same query.
Now let’s get the detailed information about DNS:
DNS stands for “Domain Name System”. And they consist of a domain name, and TLDs such as “.ME or.COM.” Now, the problem is, the servers are not actually recognized by domain names. However, they are recognized by IP addresses.
Very often, it is a set of specialized DNS servers. That has only one purpose: they serve as a database or they may serve as a phone book for connecting IP addresses. Thus, we came to the conclusion that these servers are called name servers here.
Now, the question is where do they come from and how to register them?
The DNS is overseen by the Internet Corporation. For Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN. However, this organization was formed in 1998. And has been coordinating the maintenance and management of the DNS ever since.
But ICANN does not do all the work by itself. So, it transfers control over the various top level domains illustrated above like .com, .net, .org. To the various entities known as Registries. However, this infographic from ICANN should help you to better understand the registry process.
First of all, before you can carry out domain management is to register a domain with a domain registrar.
A domain name is a system used by browsers for accessing a specific IP address. Your site will be hosted at an IP address. However by buying a domain name and then pointing it at that IP address anyone typing your domain name into a browser will be taken to that address. It will be done automatically by your provider.
Whatever you keep your domains and hosting together or separate is up to you. In case you are managing one site, I suggest doing both with the one provider as it’ll be cheaper and simpler.
Manage domains with your registrar
After you have bought a domain you’ll have access to DNS using your provider’s website.
Before you buy a domain name just check out that your registrar gives you full DNS access. Every website owner should have full access to all the tools they require to manage their domain hosting and website.
While accessing your provider’s DNS management interface you’ll have a few options. These are the ones you’re most likely to use:
Nameservers – Use Nameservers to point your domain at another provider. As this redirects everything website, email, FTP.
A record – By editing the A record you can direct your domain to an IP address. Just use this if you wish to direct your domain to an IP address other than the one provided by your domain registrar. It affects the site not any email accounts on that domain.
MX record – This specifies the server where you have your email hosted.
CNAME – It usually works in a similar way to the record but instead of typing in an IP address you use a domain name. You would use this for directing your domain to another domain.
All of these can be edited using your registrar’s system and some can also be edited using cPanel. And I suggest using cPanel where possible as it gives you more flexibility.
For many website owners, you’ll keep your domain on the servers provided by your registrar and hosting company and won’t require making any changes. However, if you have multiple domains pointing to the same website you’re using a different hosting provider and registrar or you’re using WordPress Multisite with Domain Mapping. You’ll need to know how to redirect your domain.
Changing the nameservers
You’ll need to set custom nameservers if your website isn’t hosted by your domain registrar. Each domain registrar will have a various interface for doing this. Your hosting provider will give you the information about the nameservers you should use when you create your account with them and there will be at least two.
After you have done this all aspects of your domain will point to the new nameservers, therefore, any domain management will be done with your hosting provider. You won’t require accessing your domain registrar’s interface again.
Some of the times you’ll want to redirect one domain to another domain. Just have a look at the examples:-
- You’ve registered multiple versions of your domain name and require them all point to the same place.
- You are required to temporarily point a domain to a holding Website while developing a new site.
- You have more than one domain name but only one site.
- There are a few options for redirecting the domain.
- Use the A record for redirecting to another IP address.
Creating addon domains
An addon domain is an additional domain that you use within your hosting account for creating an additional site. If you want to run more than one website you don’t need to pay for multiple hosting accounts instead of it create an addon domain and run your second Website using that.
Create addon domains in cPanel with your hosting provider. After creating one a subdirectory will be added to your account corresponding to that domain. Just install WordPress in that subdirectory. It will resolve to the addon domain, not to the domain in your root directory.
Before creating an addon domain make sure it’s pointed to the same server as your main domain. In case you are using your hosting provider for domains, this will automatically be the case.
The other option in cPanel for pointing a domain at your site is to use a parked domain. This is different from an addon domain and it doesn’t create a folder for a new site. It’s also different from a redirect as it gives you access to domain management tools in cPanel for your domain like email.
For parking, a domain goes to Parked Domains in cPanel and add the domain that you wish to park.
You’ll have to park a domain if it isn’t already pointing to your hosting account. If you’re using the same hosting provider and registrar you should be easily able to skip this.
Domains & Email
Domains aren’t just used for websites they apply to email too.
For hosting your email on a different server you’ll need to use MX records. You can do this using your domain registrar’s interface but it’s easier in cPanel.
You can either enter the MX records for Gmail manually or in case your provider gives you the option do it with one click. After doing this you’ll also require to add your domain to your Google apps account.
Some of the times you will see that your domains aren’t doing what you’re expecting them to. This may be because there’s a problem or it may be because the changes you’ve made are taking a while to propagate. This is the process of your changes working their way around the Internet so they’re selected by multiple servers. It can take anything from minutes to a couple of days.
For checking where your domain is resolving use whatsmyDNS. This allows you to track where the different aspects of our domain, including A record, name servers, CNAME and MX are resolving. It’ll display you any difference in different parts of the world which can be interesting for tracking when you’ve just made changes. It will also help you identify any problems.
You’ll need to revisit your settings if your domain still isn’t resolving correctly 48 hours after any changes and the problem is constant in all regions according to WhatsmyDNS.
How to choose a domain name for your website?
Selecting a domain name is not an easy task! Domain names are available in different extensions to you. And the most popular one is .com. We have many other options like: .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and much more.
Similarly, domain names are country specific which ends with country code extension. Like: .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India and much more.
However, we only suggest using .com mainly. Because it is easiest to remember. And works best for business websites in the cooperative world.
You may buy URL (domain names) from many companies, they are called as domain name registrars. However, a website domain typically costs $14.99 per year. Some popular web domain name companies are –
- Namecheap, etc.
Consequently, a domain name registration does not automatically give you a hosting service. Thus, for that, you need a website hosting account.
However, many of the WordPress hosting companies offer domain name registration services as well as the host. Thus, this allows you to manage both services under one account. And you also need not worry about changing name server settings for your domains from your website.
In case your current WordPress domain name is not as per your choice and you wish to change it. Let’s see:
Here we have mentioned some ways through which you will be able to change the domain name of your site. Whenever you make a site using WordPress.com it comes with a free domain name like for xyz.wordpress.com. If you want to get rid of this .wordpress part and want to use your own domain name instead then you can try these following methods:
1. Change the domain name via WordPress dashboard
After logging to your WordPress dashboard, tap on Settings from the menu, and click on General. Here you have to modify two fields :
- WordPress Address(URL)
- Website Address(URL)
Now enter the address (URL) you would like to use.
After modifying these two fields scroll down the page and tap on save changes button. This is how you can change the domain name of your site via the WordPress dashboard.
2. Change the WordPress domain name via phpMyAdmin
You can access phpMyAdmin through the control panel. After accessing the phpMyAdmin:
- Click on the MySQL database for your WordPress site. This opens phpMyAdmin in another program window or tab. Thereafter, click on wp-options.
- Here, you will find an edit option. Click on edit on the line for site URL.
- After that enter the new blog domain name which you want to use and click on the Go button.
3. Change via .htaccess file
- The very first thing, you need to make a backup copy of your .htaccess file. This is a necessary requirement.
- Now open the .htaccess document in a text editor. And duplicate these to another content document for safety’s sake and close the document.
- Now, check to see if your custom rewrites and redirects are still there in your new .htaccess file.
- You can make changes in those custom rewrites and it will redirect to reflect the new site address.
- After doing changes save the .htaccess file.
How to migrate a domain name to a different company?
When you purchase a domain name then you have right to use it and transfer it anywhere. For example, if you purchased your domain name from Godaddy and your web hosting from Bluehost. You can move your domain name in your web hosting company. It is very easy to manage and renew.
You can do that very easily. To do this, both companies have step by step instructions, you can follow these steps to transfer your domain name to a different company.
Now comes to web hosting:
The web hosting is that place where all the files of your site exist. Web hosting refers to the services that store your website data in web servers. It also allows you to manage your data. All the sites on the internet require web hosting.
When users type your website name in a browser, the domain name is translated into the IP address of your web hosting computer company. This computer contains your site’s files and sends these file back to the user’s browser.
Fast forward – Web hosting companies specialize in serving and storing sites. These companies offer several types of hosting plans to their customers. Which are as follows:
Types of web hosting
- Shared web hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Website builder
- Dedicated server
What to look for in a good WordPress host?
Choosing a good WordPress host out of the gate is a great way to avoid getting the headache in the future. However, the last thing you want is to choose the wrong host, run on many issues, and then go through the entire site migration process. With the number of options available for WordPress hosting. There is no excuse for making a poor hosting decision.
While evaluating WordPress hosts, some things you want to keep eye on:
- Host Performance: If you want your website to be successful, then you need a high-performance host. In addition to onsite optimization, your host’s hardware and software setup will be affected how fast your site loads will be.
- Multiple plan options: Many plans offered by the host may be able to complete your website because now it stands. Also, you will be able to grow your site with the same host, while you will save money when you just start.
- Knowledgeable WordPress support team: Being a dedicated support team behind you can help you overcome a lot of stress in running your site. After all, you will go on an issue that requires support and when you feel that you want a team there for help.
- Robust security features: Regardless of the size of the security of your site, you should think of anything from any one day. Thus, a good WordPress host will provide you with solid security features out of the gate.
- WordPress-focus: Some hosts call themselves the WordPress hosts because they install an easy one-click of CMS. However, the high-quality host offers WordPress-specific features that will help you take advantage of more from your site.
- Alignment of value and money: Of course you want a host that will improve your site’s performance and will strengthen its security, but if you are actually spending more than your site. In addition, you want a balance of WordPress-specific features that you can buy.
The above points might seems like many accounts for, but selecting a WordPress web host is something you want to take seriously. However, as you start your search, you will see that many of the highlighted above features are normal.
You will be very surprised to hear that WordPress is a very light-weighted script, and it can be compared with almost all good web hosting companies in all. The simple requirement is that WordPress put its forth which are:
- PHP version 7 or latest.
- MySQL version 5.6 or latest.
- Apache recommended.
- Fantastico installation not recommended.
Due to the popularity of WordPress CMS (Content Management System), all the best web hosting companies come with easy one-click install options for WordPress.
Choosing a WordPress hosting provider! factors to consider
- Simple Setup
Above illustrated key points are the most important factors that you need to keep in mind while choosing your WordPress hosting. Analyze your all needs before purchasing WordPress hosting that can save your hundreds of dollar.
Analyzing your WordPress hosting plan
As we have represented above, there are different kinds of web hosting options available like: Free, Dedicated, VPS, Shared, and Managed. Let us have a look at each of these options which are to analyze and determine which is the best solution for you.
Free WordPress hosting
There are many free web hosting available in the sector you are working on. But almost each of them has some sort of catch out on all the WordPress hosting. However, you can analyze and find out the free WordPress hosting which is being offered in online forums.
In most of the cases, these are managed by an individual. Also, the huge downside, of having a free host aside from the ads is that they are unreliable. They can leave you hanged at any time. If you are a little bit serious about your website or business, then you must avoid Free WordPress hosting at any cost.
Shared WordPress hosting
Shared WordPress Hosting is by far among the most popular type of WordPress Hosting used by the WP global support. Also, it is affordable, reliable and quite franks fully host. And a good starting point for new users. What Shared hosting is, it is where you share a large server with a huge number of sites.
However, by using multiple sites on the same server, shared hosting providers can give the service at a much affordable rate as compared to others. While it says unlimited, you can still have the use of restrictions.
WordPress VPS hosting
Virtual Private Server in short known as VPS. Which refers to a virtual machine. Also, it is the method of partitioning in a physical server of computers into multiple numbers of servers. However, With respects to the individual customer’s need.
Thereafter, you can share the server with a handful of the others.
This gives you the utmost control as a dedicated server do. It also has the privacy of a separate physical computer. And can be configured to run specific server software. Even developers, intermediate users, and medium-sized bloggers can utilize VPS to represent and scale up their websites.
WordPress dedicated server hosting
Dedicated server hosting is a physical server host that you can release from the hosting providers. This might allow you to have complete control over the server including the selection of operating system, hardware etc. You don’t need a dedicated server if you are just starting out in hosting servers. Once your site receives a significant amount of traffic and gets ranked. Then only you should consider upgrading to the dedicated server.
Managed WordPress hosting
In general day to day working, “Managed Hosting” somehow means you pay someone else to take care of server management tasks for you to get secured. So along with Managed WordPress hosting you are paying the hosting provider to take care of the server and make it’s work especially well along with WordPress.
Here are some pros and cons of the managed WordPress hosting:
- WordPress experts: You do not have to think about doing anything. Means in terms of the server optimization yourself. There are many people taking care of it for you.
- Extra WordPress features: This may include caching which is done by cache memory for faster: Site Speed, Regular Backups, Easy Restores, One-Click Staging, Site Cloning, etc.
- Price: Managed WordPress Hosting is a special service that costs more to the provides and its maintain than that of regular hosting.
- Restrictions: Managed WordPress users are thereby restricted. What plugins they can or they have to install. Means How to Install WordPress plugins thereafter you cannot run other software alongside with WordPress. (Managed WordPress hosting plans are only on the WordPress sites.)
As mentioned said before, you have the right to use your domain name. You can change its settings to point any web hosting company. Even refer, how to migrate a WordPress site to a new host.
For example, you purchased both the domain name and web hosting from the same company like Bluehost and you want to change your web hosting to Godaddy. You can move your website by transferring your files and data. After that, you have to edit your domain name settings and point them to your service provider.
Another example, you purchased your domain name from WordPress.com and you want to move to self-hosted website WordPress.org.
To do this, you have to sign up for a WordPress hosting account. Now, you can move your website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. At last, you have to edit your domain name settings on WordPress.com and point them to a new WordPress hosting service provider.
Should you purchase both together or separately?
You can purchase both the domain name and web hosting from the different companies. But, in this, you will have to point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.
If you purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same company then you will have not to change the domain name settings. Also, it is very easy to manage and renew both under the same dashboard.
Specifically, if you want to build a website on the WordPress platform, then we’re recommending you to choose a WordPress web hosting. WordPress offers you both the domain name and web hosting. And you can also purchase your domain name separately from top service providers.
When setting up the WordPress site, you should buy the following hosting providers:-
For the domain name, you can choose a domain name provider from the following:-
Hope this post helped you understand the domain name and web hosting. We have covered the important queries related to the same. Often we concluded what is the difference between domain name and web hosting!
If you still have any problem feel free to tell us in the comment section or dial our number for the expert advice. Our support team is always ready to deliver WordPress Customer service for the same, Just dial our WordPress support phone number +1 844 275 0975 (Toll-Free) to know how our professionals can help you.