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Hosting vs. Domains – HUH?

I had an interesting conversation with a student who wanted to start a website – but he was very confused about domains and website and such.

Domains

A Domain in just a name given to a particular computer/IP address. [IP address = a numeric address that every box connected to the internet has to have]. MaconMacGuy.com, for example, actually behind the scenes gets pointed to a particular IP address and a particular areas of that particular machine.

When you “purchase” a domain you are essentially “renting” that domain so you can use it. That’s why you have to re-up your subscription every so often, and why it’s a per-year charge.

Hosting

Hosting, on the other hand, is renting space on a webserver where your website live – i.e. where the files that make up your site are stashed. The computer is accessible via the Web, so anyone looking for your site can see it on the web.

DNS

The DNS system is essentially a big phone directory that ties the domain and the IP addresses together – MaconMacGuy.com and 66.40.34.135, for example. This way you can type in the easily remembered MaconMacGuy.com instead of 66.40.34.135.

The Domain purchase and the Hosting purchase are really two separate transactions – which means you can purchase the domain from one place and the webhosting from another. I have had several clients go ahead and purchase a domain – so they already “own” it – before they know what they will do with it. Later, they’ll purchase hosting from MidGaHosting.com, and we’ll have to do a bit of extra work to get the two tied together.

It’s usually easier – and better – to go ahead and purchase the domain and the hosting at the same time, from the same company. You’ll have ONE company to deal with, ONE account, ONE place to go and renew your website or domain, ONE user interface, etc.

I – for biased reasons, mind you! – recommend my company MidGaHosting.com for both. The prices are competitive, and the Control panel is easy to navigate through. It really doesn’t take long to figure out how to get something done [as opposed to the one in GoDaddy, which I find incredibly arcane and annoying to navigate. I frankly don’t have that kind of time to waste!]

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