Domain Name vs Hosting. What is the difference?

A laptop with a website search for domain name and hosting.

Not sure how your website displays when someone types in your website name? It can get technical and complicated but we have simplified it and explained what a domain name is, what hosting is and how they work together to display your website.

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    What is a domain name?

    A domain is the unique address that identifies a website on the internet. It is the online address of your website, similar to your unique house address. There are two parts to a domain name, There are two parts to every domain name: the name and the extension. Together, these form the address of your website. For example, our domain name is lcmwebdesign.ca. Our name is lcmwebdesign and the extension is .ca. There are many different domain extensions and the one you choose indicates the type of business that you are. Our .ca extension indicates that we are a business that operates in Canada.

    How does a domain name work?

    A simplified explanation is that when someone wants to go to a website, they enter the domain name in a web browser. The browser uses DNS (Domain Name System) to find the server where the website is stored (hosting account) by translating the domain name into a unique numerical IP address. This IP address helps the browser locate the server and retrieve the website’s content.

    A simplified explanation is that when someone wants to go to a website, they enter the domain name in a web browser. The browser uses DNS (Domain Name System) to find the server where the website is stored (hosting account) by translating the domain name into a unique numerical IP address. This IP address helps the browser locate the server and retrieve the website’s content.

    What domain extension should you get?

    There are three types of domain extensions: generic, sponsored, and country code. 

    • A generic extension is .com, .net, .org.
    • A sponsored domain extension would be a .gov or .edu and representing a specific community served by the domain.
    • Country code domain extensions are represent specific countries and typically have residence rules that restrict who can own a country specific domain.

    Read more about domain name extensions.

    What is Hosting?

    Web hosting is the process of renting or buying space on a server. Website content such as HTML, CSS, and images are stored on a server and once the domain is connected to the hosting account and propagates, your website will be viewable online.

    There are different types of hosts and hosting plans. You have the option of shared, cloud hosting, virtual private server or dedicated hosting. For most small to medium sized businesses, shared, cloud or dedicated hosting will be sufficient for to meet their needs. Read more about different types of hosting types.

    How do the Domain and Hosting work together?

    The domain is the unique address that users enter in their browsers to go to a website, while hosting provides the infrastructure and storage for the website files and displays them to visitors when they enter the domain name.

    This is a simplified overview of how a domain name and hosting work. You need both for your website to work.

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