If you’re new to the Digital World and have just got yourself a new Website, you’re probably getting a little overwhelmed at all the technological jargon being thrown at you. And we don’t blame you! Web Hosting, Domain Name, SSL Certificate – it all sounds like a completely different language! And while you might just want to push it all aside, unfortunately, as a new Website Owner, it’s stuff you kind of need to know about.
As one of the country’s leading Website Developers, we get questions from clients all the time asking us to untangle this nightmare of technical confusion. Perhaps the most common questions we get asked are in regards to Domains, Website and Email Hosting, and how they all work in tandem.
To minimise your headaches and clear up any confusion, we’ve taken the liberty of summarising each of the three below. Keep reading and you’ll get a quick summary of all the ins and outs you need to know as a Small Business Owner.
Domain Name And Domain Host
Your ‘Domain Name’ is your Website’s address, or ‘URL’, and identity on the Internet which will often read like this – www.yoursmallbusiness.com.au. You may also here this referred to as a ‘Domain Name System’ (DNS), which allows Internet users to access your Website directly with an easy-to-remember name, instead of using a numeric IP address which would look something like this – 188.8.131.52.
The ‘Domain Host’ is like your local government body that controls the license and ownership of your Domain Name and where to find the associated Website. Think of it this way: when you have your own Website, you’re essentially renting space on the Internet and the Domain is your home address.
Of course, Domain Hosting is a service that comes with costs or license fees that are separate from any Website or Email service you use. You’ll find that many businesses offer a stand-alone Domain Name registration, like what we do at Sites n Stores. This allows you to secure a Domain Name without purchasing hosting services.
Some Website Hosting companies will consolidate all these services into one, as a way to make it easier to manage both your Domain Name and your Website.
In some cases and depending on what your Small Business preferences are, you can purchase your Domain Name, but also have it hosted by another business.
Registering a Domain Name secures that specific internet address and prevents anyone else from using that particular name on the Internet. It’s like putting a copyright on your Business’s Internet name, just as you would have one for your normal Business name.
Website Hosting is the service that stores all your Website’s files. Simply put, if your Domain Name is your home address, then your Web Host is the house or apartment.
The Web Host not only stores all your Websites files and pages, but makes them available to any computer connected to the Internet. Using the earlier example – www.yoursmallbusiness.com.au – that Domain Name is actually linked to an IP address which points to a specific computer. When a user enters your Domain Name into their search tab, the IP address is located and your Website is then loaded from your Web Host.
To simplify the pathway, if you put your Website’s files on your Web Host’s servers, then your Domain Host will point to those files when someone types in your URL. Think of it as the same way a SIM card functions when it’s placed into a phone. The SIM card will tell the phone to work with a specific phone number.
However, a Domain Name can also be set to work with a different Web Hosting company, much like replacing that first SIM card with another one and your phone will still work, but with a different phone number.
Overall, always remember that your Web Host is responsible for making your Website accessible to Internet users around the world.
An Email Host is a server space where your Emails are stored, much like a giant computer that acts as a directory. When someone sends an Email to [email protected], it’s then transferred directly to an Email Server, where it’s stored and can be accessed whenever you need it.
Similar to the concept of Web Hosting, Email Hosting also requires a service provider to rent out space and manage its servers. Email Hosting providers are usually premium services, which differ from the traditional free webmail sites such as Yahoo and Google. These Email Hosting providers cater to more demanding users like your Small to Medium-sized Business that require their own Domain Name in order to distinguish between them.
As we’ve said before, many Web Hosting companies will offer Businesses the chance to Host their Website and Emails on the same server. But if your Website goes down for some reason, so too do your Emails. For many companies, particularly Small Businesses that rely on constant communication between staff members and customers, having no Emails can have a crippling effect on your bottom line. That’s why it is highly recommended that your Small Business elects to have a dedicated Email Host – it’s just easier to manage and not as costly if something goes awry.
Understanding the dynamic between Domain Name and Hosting, as well as Web and Email Hosting may seem overwhelming, but it’s very simple once you understand the process. If you’re setting up a new Website, then choosing a Hosting Company to purchase both Domain Name and Hosting will make it easier.
If you need more clarification on how each Host can help, then give us a call at Sites n Stores. Our experts are more than happy to explain the process and ensure you don’t get confused and frustrated!