Sunday, August 13, 2017

Having an independent domain name and hosting the website: are they the same thing?

New bloggers and those not fully conversant with domain naming and web hosting often confuse between the two. But these are distinct areas. It is like having a house (hosting) and having its address (domain name or web address).

Web hosting


When you visit any website or a page on the web, what you see is some data stored on a huge computer (server) somewhere in the internet. The web browser (e.g. Chrome/ Firefox/ Safari/ Internet Explorer) on your computer or smartphone arranges the data the way the website owner has configured it. So you see that website.

It should be clear that unless a website is there on some computer somewhere that is connected with internet, you cannot visit it and see it on your computer. Placing of website on the internet system (its website storage part is called 'the web') is called web hosting.

Like having a house in a city costs you, web hosting too has a cost. For that purpose, there are web hosting companies who charge you depending upon how big your website is and so on.

When you open a free blog, the blogging platform (Wordpress/ Blogger/ Tumblr/ etc) creates the blog for you and hosts it on their computers so that anybody can visit it through their browsers. They give this service free. But because they store millions of blogs, they put certain limitations on how big your blog can be or whether you can give commercial facilities on the blog.

When your blog grows, you need more space. You might think of selling your products through the blog, or even running e-commerce. Such activities are beyond a free blog, and you need to hire space on servers of hosting companies. Web hosting becomes very important for you when you have (or plan to have) a big blog. Depending upon your needs, web hosts offer plans. In all cases, it is a recurring expense that you have to pay year after year, like you'd pay rent for a shop or house in a city.


Domain name


Domain name is your web address, written in words with which your website (including blog) is identified. Like the address of your house in the city. When you make a new blog on Wordpress, it asks you to give a suitable name to your blog. If you write xyz as your blog's name, Wordpress checks whether this name is available or has already been taken by someone. If available, it gives your blog a name: www.xyz.wordpress.com. It is better to have an independent looking domain name, without a suffix such as .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com. We have discussed that elsewhere.

Wordpress and Blogger (=blogspot) are free blogging platforms and they give you this domain name free. However, if you want an independent domain name, you need to buy it and then renew it year after year.