I find many people confused about the difference between the purchase of a domain name and a hosting account.
TrekVisual’s domain name is trekvisual.com, and our website host is LunarPages. I use the following analogy to explain the difference between a domain name and website hosting plan: Your domain name is your web address, like the mailing address to your house. Your hosting plan is the physical location of your website, like the physical house you live in. You can’t have one without the other.
Usually, the first step in creating a new website is purchasing a domain name. That’s the .com address you want your website to have. Domains are purchased from what’s called a ‘registrar’. They’re called a registrar because you are actually registering the right to use that address through them. The domain name is the URL address that will be typed into a browser to access your website.
Your site files (the html, styles, scripts, images, etc. that make up the visual rendering of your website) need to be hosted – that’s what a hosting account is for. You purchase a hosting plan separately from your domain name to use as a storage space for the files that will make your website display in a browser when the domain name, or URL, is typed into the browser address bar.
If you’re having a custom website built by TrekVisual, and will be taking advantage of our website monthly plan that includes hosting, you only need to purchase the domain name, if you want a custom domain name like MyNeatWebsite.com. I recommend GoDaddy for domain name purchases. Namecheap is another site I use occasionally to buy domain names.
If we’re taking care of your hosting, we’ll map the domain for you with your registrar. Otherwise, here’s an article that looks at how to connect you domain name to your hosting account.