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What’s the difference between a domain and website hosting

You may be planning your new website and have come across the fact that most hosting companies are charging for a domain and hosting separately. So what is the difference between the two? Shouldn’t you just pay one price and have your website on the internet forever? Well, not quite. First, let’s get a breakdown of the basics.

What is a Domain

You can think about a domain like a special address that you own on the internet. The domain is what someone will type into a search engine to go directly to your own website. The following are examples of a domain.

www.neptunedesign.co.za

www.devonthomas.tech

www.mangosforfree.com

Looking for a domain name

All of the above are domains. Once you have paid for a domain upfront you then own that particular domain and have the right to use it or to sell it to anyone you choose. Domains also have a yearly renewal fee. Typically companies prefer to choose domain names that relate to their direct names. Sometimes the domain you are searching for might be taken already. In that case, you can either abbreviate the name or add an adjective to the end of the name or just choose a new name.

For example, when I was looking for our company name domain my first choice was www.neptune.com which unfortunately was taken so I settled on www.neptunedesign.co.za. You typically want to go for a name that is shorter and easier to remember for your clients.

Domain Prices

Domain prices can have large fluctuations in value with the most expensive domain ever reported sold going for $49.7 million. That’s right. But usually, domains are much more affordable and some can even be found for $3. Typically if you would like to have a .com or .org or .co.uk you have to pay a bit more than average.

What is Hosting

Remember the previous analogy of having a special address, now let’s say you have a website, emails and whole bunch of data you want to store that address. You will then need to rent a place to store that information. This is where hosting comes in. Hosting is basically you renting the storage space on a server for your data.

Hosting is typically charged monthly. So let’s say for example you want to launch a website. That website’s data files will be kept in storage and you will be charged a monthly fee to store to your data there. Once your hosting is in place and your domain is purchased anyone will be able to see your website.

Your emails will also be included in your hosting package the more emails you have typically the larger hosting package (store size you need). Luckily most hosting companies are kind enough to notify you when you are out of storage space and you can always upgrade your hosting package to a larger size.

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