The world of the internet is a confusing place with lots of technical terminology and jargon being used. Domains and hosting are two of the terms you will come across most frequently and because they are so closely intertwined, a lot of confusion often occurs. They are co-dependent but also completely different issues.
To put it in the simplest form, a domain is a local sub network within the World Wide Web. It is part of a Local Area Network (LAN) where users access the internet through a central server they are permitted to use rather than having to repeatedly authenticate to access individual servers and services. But the better known use of the word domain is in reference to Domain Names.
A domain name is the address that is used to access a website. Every website has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address which, when typed into the address bar of a browser, will take the user to that specific website. But the IP address is a long string of numbers that is difficult to remember. To make internet access easier, words are used to replace the long number string and the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the words into the appropriate number string and takes the visitor to where he wants to go.
When you set up a website, you have to register the domain name you want to use – for example “thisismywebsite.com.” The number string behind it is of no concern to you. The registration is done by a registrar who will contact the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) who will ensure that it is not being used by anyone else and assign it to you. This will be your address and the one you give to people so they can visit your website.
For your website to be available on the internet it must be loaded onto a computer that is continually online so that when your domain name is typed, your website is accessible. This computer is called a web server and is where your website is hosted. This is called hosting and the companies that offer this services are called hosting companies. It is the hosting company that keeps your website on line and available to those who want to go to it.
There are various hosting options available and what you choose depends on the nature of your website and the nature of your business:
If you are setting up your first website and are on a limited budget, starting with free hosting is the best option. You can iron out the kinks and refine your site and then move on to either shared or paid hosting.Forix+
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