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Web Hosting vs. Domain Registration Explained

When you’re a newcomer to the world of web hosting and website building, it’s not uncommon to become overwhelmed and confused by certain terminology. That can be the case when it comes to figuring out the difference between web hosting and domain registration. If that’s the position you currently find yourself in, worry no longer – this article will not only explain what website hosting and domain registration entail, but also the differences between the two.

Web hosting

Web hosting, to put it simply, is the facility that stores your website and makes it accessible on the Internet. As the name points out, it “hosts” your website files. Think of it as arranging dinner at a restaurant. You pay for the food and service. They accommodate you and serve a meal. Although keep in mind: the quality of the meal and setting depends on the restaurant’s reputation.

With that said, you don’t have to ‘dine out’ to begin web hosting. It is possible to configure your own server at home to do the job. However, many decide to choose a hosting company to do the heavy lifting. It’s less of a headache, they’re experts in the field, and they are on-hand to offer customer support when needed – assuming you choose a reputable web host, of course.

Web hosts can also offer specific services. Want to use WordPress to create your website? Well if you pick a host that specializes with the platform, you can setup a WordPress hosting account, and begin designing a website within minutes. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be facilitated by a high-quality web host.

When selecting a domain name, you cannot outright purchase it. Domains are only available for lease. And they can only be leased from the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN). Approved registrars are where domains are supplied by the ICANN.

An important note about domains is that, on their own, they do nothing. Registering a domain only allows you the right to ‘point’ it at wherever you want to go. This can be done to redirect to a different website. However, the general use for a domain is to be pointed at your website – aka the website which is found on your web hosting account.