When in the market for a new website, the world of hosting and domains can sound like a foreign language to some. There is a lot of information out there that can confuse and rattle even the savviest business person.
Here, I will spell it all out in plain English without the jargon, so you can be better informed on what domains and hosting are, and the roles they play together with your website.
What is a domain?
A domain name refers to a website’s home on the internet. It is the address (URL) that people type into the browser bar to visit a website. This could be something like xyzcompany.com, charitygroup.org, or businessdirect.net. Every website needs a domain name so it can be found by search engines and customers.
Where do I get a domain name?
It may seem like every man and his dog sells domain names these days – and they do! Google Domains, Go Daddy, and Bluehost are a few of the main companies that provide them.
You may think that it’s just a name and I can buy it from the cheapest provider, but beware, there may be some issues with that. Some cheaper domain providers will charge you to access the settings to point your domain name to your website, so always read the small print.
I recommend Namecheap for all my clients. The customer service is wonderful and the user interface is clean and easy. There are no hidden charges and the pricing is very reasonable.
How do I choose a domain?
Domain names are an asset of your biz so choose wisely. Generally the shorter the better, and try and grab the .com as well as the country extension where possible.
Sometimes you may need to play around with a name in order to get one that is available. Adding words like locations or co (short for company) may help secure a good domain.
Nowadays as so many domain names are already taken, a popular way to choose a domain name would be to look at changing the extension (ending of the domain after the dot). There are hundreds of new extensions available which could perfectly suit your business type such as .design, .cafe or .store.
What is hosting?
If a domain is your website’s address, then hosting is your website’s actual home on the internet.
Your website files need to be stored (hosted) on a server in order for them to be downloaded and viewed. For this, a monthly or annual ongoing cost will be payable to your hosting provider. Prices usually start from around US $10 per month for a small website.
Like domains, there are plenty of hosting providers around but again, buyer beware. They all have different inclusions (just to confuse you!), and cheaper hosting companies may cram up to 1000 websites on one server. This can lead to security breaches (such as hacking), a slow website, and emails not getting through. If the server goes down, you will have to deal with their customer service department to try and get the problem fixed. Who knows how many sales this downtime could cost you?!
For my hosting, I use Cloudways. They are a premium cloud based hosting company with lightning fast customer service. I manage my own servers, so I ensure there are no more than 10 websites on each one, which gives my customers great peace of mind to know their business data is secure.
How do I host my website?
Anyone can purchase and manage their own hosting from providers such as Siteground or Go Daddy, but I highly suggest talking to your developer first. They will be able to guide you on what plan and provider is right for you and your business. (They may even be able to get you a discount!)
There are quite a few technicalities when it comes to connecting your website to your domain and hosting so this one is best left to the experts!
You can choose the set and forget option and have your developer host your website for you (and deal with any problems if and when they occur), or if you are more tech savvy, and don’t mind doing the work and learning the interface, you can host and maintain your website yourself.
So there you have it, the lowdown on hosting and domains. I trust it has left you with a greater insight into the intricacies of how things work when you have your own website.
If you have any more questions regarding hosting, domains, or any other website needs, please feel free to contact me and we can chat!
PS This post contains some affiliate links in which I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support!