Website hosting and domain names – the basics

When I first started in the field of digital marketing it took me a while to understand the difference between website hosting and website domains, weren’t they the same thing? Apparently not. Why was it that sometimes a website domain name was registered with one company and then the website hosting was with another company? And how do you purchase a domain name and hosting? I am here to clear up all confusion (hopefully).

Website Domain Name

Your domain name, according to Wikipedia is ‘an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet’. In simple terms, it’s your online address for your website or email and there are many different types of domain names available in different formats, here are some examples below;

  • metachick.co.uk
  • metachick.com
  • metachick.org
  • metachick.uk.com

How to choose your domain name

Choosing a suitable domain name for your business is very important, ideally your domain name will want to be the same name as your business that’s if it’s available. If it’s not available and you have already chosen and registered your business name you will need to think carefully about what domain name to choose.Domain names and hosting

For example, your business name is Mr Handy Man but unfortunately mrhandyman.co.uk has already been taken have a look at some alternatives such as mrhandyman.uk.com or mrhandyman.uk. You could also change the name slightly if all these have been taken such as mrhandymanservices.co.uk. Try if you can to choose a domain name that is memorable as well as easy to remember (I think that makes sense).

Where to search for available domain names and where to purchase them from

There are quite a few online companies that you can purchase a domain name from and they are all pretty much the same in terms of service and price, you should expect to pay around £10.00 for 2 years. Purchasing a domain name is very easy, just like shopping on Amazon, ebay etc. just choose your domain name and search for it using their search facilities, if it’s available add it to your basket and then pay for it, simple! Your website agency may offer to purchase this for you but my advice would be to purchase the domain name yourself as you will have full control over it. If you do get stuck and need some assistance, call your web agency and I am sure they would be happy to help you.

*Important bit* please remember to save all emails that you are sent regarding your domain name as your website agency will need these to set your website up online. They will need to point your domain name to the server where your website will be stored.

Please see below a list of companies that we have purchased domain names from, but you don’t need to take our advice, there are plenty of other online companies out there.

www.123reg.co.uk
www.heartinternet.co.uk
www.godaddy.co.uk
www.lcn.com

Website Hosting

Ok so forget what I have told you about website domain names (for now) let us discuss website hosting. Website hosting is where you pay for a server or part of a server (depending on the size of your website) for your website to be stored on. There are many different servers available to choose from and they all offer different functionalities/add-ons etc. This can get pretty confusing and not all servers work with all websites.

How to choose suitable web hosting for your website

The best bit of advice we can give to you is to speak to your website agency and discuss with them what type of server will be compatible with your website. The type of questions you will need to ask is;

  • Will I need a dedicated server or a shared server?
  • How much storage or memory will I need?
  • Will I need daily back-ups of my website?

Ask your website agency to recommend a good hosting provider that will offer you a server suitable for your website.

*Important bit* we do recommend that daily back-ups are taken of your website, especially if you update your website on a daily basis. If for whatever reason your website gets hacked back-ups can be restored from the day before so that your website can get back up and running as soon as possible. Your hosting company will be able to do this for you (at an additional charge) or you could ask your web agency if it’s possible for them to take back-ups for you.

How to purchase website hosting

It is possible to purchase your domain name and hosting with the same company as long as the server is compatible with your website, although this is not a necessity. You can have your domain name with one company and hosting with another, just please remember to make a record of who your domain name and hosting is with.

Once you have discussed with your website agency what type of hosting you need, you can then purchase this. Prices of hosting vary quite a bit as it all depends on the type of server you need. For a very basic server you can pay as little as £4.00 a month and for a faster more substantial server you could pay around £400.00 a month. This is a big difference so that is why you will need to get as much advice as you can on your hosting/server.

If you need email addresses as well you will also need to look into whether this also comes as part of your hosting package.

If you need help or have any questions about domain names or hosting please do not hesitate to contact me on justine@metachick.co.uk