What are domain names and web hosting?


Running a business in the age of the Internet means that you need to establish your online presence. Whether it’s a personal portfolio, a landing page for your business, or a blog about your travels, your audience or potential clients need to know where to find you—and the best way to do that is with a website.

But first, you’re going to need a domain name and a hosting service.

So what’s a domain name?

Think of your website as a house. That makes your domain name its address.

A domain name is a unique address for your website that visitors would type in to their browser URL bar to visit your website.

The internet is a giant network of computers connected through a global network of cables which allow each computer on this network to communicate with each other.

Each computer is assigned a unique IP address. This is how they are identified. An IP address is a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the Internet. A typical IP address would look like this: 66.249.66.1

Now, imagine remembering a series of numbers for every website you wanted to visit. Challenging, right?

That’s what domain names are for. They make it easier for people to visit websites with names that are easier to remember (e.g. www.google.com) instead of having to memorize a long string of numbers.

Now, aside from a domain name, you will also need a hosting service before getting your website live on the internet.

What is a ‘hosting service’ and why do I need a ‘host’ for my website?

Just like a house, a website also needs to have a physical location on the Internet.

All websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. These servers hold all the information, media (images & video) and other important content that make up your website.

A web hosting service allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet by maintaining the server where all data associated with your website is stored and making sure that your website (and many others) are continuously connected to other computers on the internet, always live and available to access via domain names.

When an internet user wants to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address (domain name) into their browser URL bar. Their computer will connect to the server where your website is hosted and deliver your webpages to them in their browser.

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