When it comes to building a website, there are two key components: hosting and a domain. The two work together to make your website visible to visitors.
A domain is the name of your website. It’s what your customers type into their browsers to access your website. For example, “brittneyhonkomp.com” is a domain. You can purchase a domain from a domain registrar, like GoDaddy. Domain names are unique, so you must check to make sure the domain you want is available before you purchase it.
Hosting, on the other hand, is where your website is stored. Your website is made up of files (HTML, CSS, etc.) that need to be stored somewhere. That somewhere is a web hosting provider, like SiteGround. Hosting providers provide the storage space and the technology needed to make your website accessible to the public. When you purchase hosting, you pay for a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth, which is the amount of data that can be transferred to and from your website.
Think of it like a mobile home…
The address where you put your mobile home is like your domain. You tell people where to go, they can search for it, and find your house.
The home itself is like the hosting provider. It’s where all your stuff is stored. You can technically pick up all your stuff and move it to another address if you want. Just like you can move all your website data from one domain to another.
And a different house can use your address if you move away.
- I was taught (so long ago that I can’t even remember where) that it’s best to purchase your domain and hosting from two different companies because if something were to happen to either company or your account with either, you won’t lose everything. [Update 5/2023: Just experienced a perfect example of why this is important! A client of mine accidentally let the domain expire because of poor communication from the domain registrar she used (not GoDaddy). I was happy to inform her that her site was not completely lost because all the data is stored somewhere else (on SiteGround). Had it all been stored in the same location, we wouldn’t be able to recover her site!]
- Some site builders offer domains and hosting as well. In most cases, if you want to build your site somewhere else, you have to transfer your domain and set up new hosting. So it may cost a little extra time and money to have it moved later on as your business grows and your needs change. I recommend using a domain registrar instead of purchasing through a site builder. They might have some extras to offer with your domain purchase as well – like privacy protect or an email address.
- I’ve used GoDaddy for domains for years and have never had issues. A few of my clients purchased their domains through Google as well and have had good experiences.
- SiteGround Hosting actually has the best customer service I’ve ever encountered out of any company.. ever! I use them for all my websites and absolutely love them.
Hope that clarified the difference between a domain and hosting for you! I get the question “Do I need both?” a lot so I figured I’d share my analogy. If you have any other questions, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help 🙂
** Because I love SiteGround so much, I am an affiliate and get a small commission if you purchase through the links in this post.
Image by jcomp on Freepik