That’s a good question, and it sometimes stumps people.
Both are important and both are closely related. But web hosting and domain hosting are two different services.
Simply put, web hosts store content, like a website, on internet servers.
At a web hosting company, website content is stored on servers for multiple clients, similar to how physical stores rent space in a shopping mall. When you sign up with a web hosting service, you are essentially renting space on a physical server where you can store all the files and data necessary for your website to work properly.
A web host also provides the technology and services that you use to display your site’s content – text, images, and videos.
When a user wants to view your site on the internet, their computer will connect to the server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.
Domain hosts provide domain names, which are the addresses that help visitors access website content – like www.yourdomain.com.
A domain name is like a street address that directs people to your website’s location, but it’s not the content that people see when they visit your site.
Domain hosts store domain names and help with their registration. If you’re using a domain registered through a third-party provider, like GoDaddy, they’re your domain host, and you’ll manage your domain through them.
A little background: Each computer on the internet is assigned a unique address, which is called an IP address. A typical IP address is a combination of numbers separated by periods and looks like this: 184.108.40.206
But who wants to remember all those numbers? Words are a lot easier to use than a long series of numbers. Enter domain names.
A domain name uses words, which makes it easy to remember website addresses.
When you want to visit a website, you don’t need numbers. You can type in an easy-to-remember domain name, like themarketingjunkie.com or farmhousecreative.net.
How web hosting and domain hosting work together
Domain names and web hosting are two different services. But they work together to make websites possible.
Essentially, a domain name system is like a giant address book that’s constantly updated. Behind each domain name, there is an address of the web hosting service storing the website’s files.
Without domain names, people couldn’t find your website and without web hosting, you can’t build a website.
Most web hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you don’t have a domain, the hosting company will help you purchase one.
The perfect partnership
To build a website, you need both a domain name and web hosting account.
Purchasing a domain name alone only gives you the right to use that particular domain name for a specific period (generally 1 year).
You need web hosting to store your website’s files. After you get a host, you need to update your domain name settings and point it to your web hosting service provider.
Fortunately, you can buy both the domain and hosting from the same company.