In order to design and develop a website, you need to own a domain name and have website hosting. But, to a beginner or to someone who has never owned a website before, these can be confusing terms. Many people confuse website hosting and domain names with one another, but it is important to note that they are different. 

If you are interested in website hosting in South Africa you need to understand the difference between the two. Now, you might be thinking that these are very technical terms, but in reality, they are simple and should be in your glossary of tech terminology already. However, if you are not sure about what a domain name or website hosting is, keep reading below for an informative explainer. 


What Is A Domain Name?


A domain name is the address of your website that internet browsers will type into the search bar of a search engine. In simple terms, if your website was a house, then the domain name is the street address. It is important that this street address is easy-to-remember and that it has a simple structure – after all, you want people to be able to find your website, right?

And now for the more in-depth description!

Computers communicate by using numbers, better known as IP addresses, in order to contact one another. An IP address is a string of numbers that are separated by dots, for example, 

Now, these numbers are easy for a computer to remember, but humans are a little less adept at remembering long strings of numbers which is why domain names were invented.  Domain names contain words rather than numbers, making it easy for humans to remember them. For example, if you sell hand-roasted coffee beans, you could call your website The Daily Grind. This will tell consumers exactly what your website is about and will make it easier for you to be found online. 


What Is Domain Registration?


Now that you know what a domain name is, it’s time to learn more about what domain registration is. It is important to remember that registering a domain does not automatically create a website. 

What it means is that you have copyrighted the name and have made it so that nobody else can use the name for their business or website. Registering your domain name is a vital part of designing and developing a website as it ensures that you are seen as professional and it prevents the competition from using your name. 


What Is Website Hosting?


The website hosting company or server is the “home” of your website. In more technical terms, it is the company that houses, serves, and maintains the files that make up your website. Think of it in similar terms to the space that you rent for your business – it is simply space itself. Website hosting does not include the website. 

In (even) simpler terms, website hosting companies allow you to pay for space on their servers where you can store your website files and make them accessible to the general public. Many of these companies also offer maintenance for your website, but this will depend on what package you have with your website design company. 

Without a website hosting company, there will be nowhere for your website files to “live”. However, there are certain CMS (content management systems) options that allow you to host your website with them for free. These include platforms such as WordPress and Wix, but the domain names that are offered to you might not be as professional as those you could have with a registered and hosted website. 


How Do They Relate?


Domain names, domain registration, and website hosting are all parts of the same equation: your website. They all work together to make websites possible, and you will find it difficult to have one without the other. 

Purchasing and registering your domain name will provide you with access to that name for a set period of time, usually one year. Once you have decided on a website hosting company, you will need to ensure that your domain name points to the website hosting service provider. These two elements are the backbone of any successful website. 

If you are interested in designing and developing your own website and need help, contact NetMechanic today to find out how we can build your business.