What’s The Difference between Web Hosting and a Domain?

A lot, and  they are intricately related. You probably hear these terms all the time but if you haven’t had a need to truly understand them then your question is understandable.

I find myself explaining this often and have finally come up with a what I believe is a good example for what is a domain and web hosting.

The Cell Phone Analogy

Let’s say you need a cell phone, right?! (It IS 2017) So you do a little research and select one and make a purchase.

That’s your DOMAIN.

Now you have your cell phone but it’s not going to work if you don’t connect it to something. (I know simplistic but we’re keeping this manageable.) Your next step is to find a carrier that gives you data, cell coverage and more.

This is your Hosting.

Pretty simple analogy, but it may help you understand better why you need both of these to create a website and an online presence.


DOMAIN: Merriam Webster definition


A little more …

You can have many domains. It used have an impact on SEO to purchase many domains and point them to your main domain, but Google caught on and is no longer fond of that tactic. You also have choices in domains with extensions such as .org, .com, .ca, .au, .edu — I’m sure you’ve seen many of these. These are like selecting the color of your phone (well sort of), your cover — the thing that tells a little bit more about who you are.

In hosting you have many choices as well, different companies offering different services, packages and solutions. Much like a mobile carrier you have these choices ie. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and more.

 what is web hosting domains vs hosting
Looking for more detail? Really?!

Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.

When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.

Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the hosting companies will help you purchase one.

A few hosting companies you may have heard of: (many also sell domains)

GoDaddyNetwork SolutionsBlue HostHawk HostWP Engine

So now that you understand about the difference between web hosting and a domain…what about that Domain Name?

A domain name is your website name. A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use IP addresses, which are a series of number. However, it is difficult for humans to remember strings of numbers. Because of this, domain names were developed and used to identify entities on the Internet rather than using IP addresses.

A domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers, and it can be used in combination of the various domain name extensions, such as .com, .net and more.

The domain name must be registered before you can use it. Every domain name is unique. No two websites can have the same domain name. If someone types in www.yourdomain.com, it will go to your website and no one else’s.

Shameless plug:

Want help creating a website? Or perhaps you have your business ready to go but no one is finding you online? Let US KNOW and we’ll talk Digital Strategies, get seen and get going.


Ingrid DiPaula short bio on web hosting and domain explainedIngrid DiPaula is the CEO and founder of DesignInk

and soon to be Digital Solutions by DesignInk. (Setting the line for our new look!) As a designer for over 34 years, in 2007 she began to grow her small boutique DesignInk into a graphics focused web development company. She grew the company to offer many more impactful services to help businesses get found on the web with increased SEO, social, email channels and ads. Today Digital Solutions by DesignInk is working with clients around the United States to help build their bottom line.

See Ingrid’s Q&As.

One comment on “What’s The Difference between Web Hosting and a Domain?

  1. Thanks for sharing such a piece of great information with us. It will be very informative for those who don’t know the exact difference between domain and hosting. As I am also a hosting provider so if you like to visit us online. Thank you once again and keep it up.

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