The difference between a domain name and the web hosting for dummies

If you’re launching your very first website and you’re a novice, you’ve probably heard about domain names and hosting. But what distinguishes those two? What is the difference? We offer you to make a quick point about the difference between the two so that you don’t make the mistake again.

When you visit a website, your computer, tablet or phone will take the necessary steps to view the site in question. This is done by entering the domain name in the browser address bar, which can also be done by clicking on a link. Then the domain is transcribed to the IP address of the site server. This server then sends the various elements so that you can view the website. A website is composed of:

  • A domain name
  • A web hosting server
  • The website files

To better understand what a website is, let’s use the metaphor of the house: your domain name is the home address, the hosting is the home and the website files are the furniture. Is this picture clearer?

What is a domain name?

Your domain name is the address of your website, as for example This address is like a home address It indicates to computers (and other devices) where to find the website on the servers so that they can send and receive information. Without a domain name, it would be like calling someone on a phone, but without a phone number. He might have a phone, just as he might have a website, but you would have no way of reaching it.

What is the web hosting?

A server is a device that is connected to the internet and stores site files. When you pay for a web hosting service, you lease space on their hard drive so that users around the world can access your site’s files to view it. Many hosts have multiple server locations so they can back up your website files, very handy in case of breakdown.

The web hosting is a storage space for your website. On this space, you store your site files, corresponding to the layout, content, images, etc. Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress allow you to work easily with these files without having to put your hands in the sludge on your hosting server.

There are several types of web hosting. The most common are:

  • Shared hosting: has multiple users on the same server, and all share the same resources. It’s sort of like renting an apartment. You all share the building and common areas, but you have your own private space to make your life.
  • VPS: Virtual Private Server also called VDS, Virtual Dedicated Server. Multiple sites are on the same server, but resources are distributed rather than shared at the same time. It’s like owning a condominium. You share the building with everyone, but you own the part that is yours. This means you have a specific amount of resources for you and you only. The advantage is that your site will be much faster than with a shared web hosting. And it remains evolutionary.
  • Dedicated hosting: implies that you are alone on the server. It’s like owning a whole house. This means that all the resources are up to you and you can control your sever. This type of hosting is ideal for sites that need instant display speed and more so if the traffic is high and cannot afford to have many interruptions.

Most of good hosts offer these three types of hosting, so that you can easily migrate from one solution to another depending on the evolution of your website traffic.

Should I use the same company to manage domain names and hosting?

One of the reasons why many people often confuse hosting ad domain name is because many companies offer both services. This is not the same job. And nothing prevents you from using one organization to register your domain name and another to manage the hosting of your website. So you are not stuck and can easily modify the DNS of your domain name to point them to another host. You can always choose a different domain name and point it to the same website. You can even point several different domain names to the same site at a time. Very handy if you use expired domain names to exploit their SEO juice!

You can also change web hosting without losing your domain name or files from your site. You may need to contact support for this so that everything is transferred correctly. However, if you find that you need a better web host, you do not have to start over.

Some people choose to register their domain name via their web host as it is more convenient. Others choose not to keep everything in the same place to facilitate transfer to a new host and to improve the security of their site. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons before choosing who you want to work with.

We hope that, thanks to this article, you have understood the difference between domain names and web hosting and that it will facilitate your work to set up your website.