Domain Registration vs. Web Hosting: Differences and FAQ

Updated Nov 9, 2022.
Domain Registration vs. Web Hosting

Did you know there is a notable difference between a domain name and web hosting? These two elements perform different functions but also work together to enable a website owner to run their website effectively.

A website domain name and web hosting work together to ensure that a website is accessible, but they are independent entities. 

Since both elements work together to create a website, it is vital to understand their unique difference and how to maximize their potential.

This article contains everything you need to know about web hosting, domain name, domain transfer, and how a website works with these entities.

What is a Domain Name? 

A domain name acts as your website’s address on the internet, giving people access to your website. 

Most times, the domain name is typed in the address bar of the browser to gain access to the website. Examples include Google.com, Yahoo.com, Facebook.com, and Founderjar.com.

Domain names have two distinct sections: brand name and domain extension.

The brand name comprises various numbers and letters, such as Founderjar, while the second part is the domain extension or top-level domains (TLDs). It is the last part of the domain name, such as .com, .org, .net, .com, and .uk.

Most Popular top-level domains worldwide as of June 2022
Source: Statista

Domain names are unique and specific to one web address, which means there can only be one Founderjar.com around the globe. 

You cannot have your domain name without registering it. Domain registration involves reserving a specific name on the internet for a particular period. Bluehost offers users a free domain name.

Organizations that sell domains and manage domain name registration are called domain registrars. If you are struggling to find a good domain name for your website, you can use the best domain name generators to generate good domain name ideas.

Types of Domain Name

There are four main types of domain extensions which are based on location and purpose.

gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains)

This domain name is the most commonly used among other domain extensions because it is designed to suit any website's purpose. For example, .com, .net, .org, etc and other unique extensions such as .biz, .tech, and .xyz.

sTLDs (Sponsored Top-Level Domains)

Unlike gTLDs, these domain extensions are restricted to specific groups and organizations and cannot fit any website purpose.

Governmental sites like .gov, Educational institutions sites like .edu, and Postal services like .post, are examples of Sponsored Top-Level Domains.

ccTLDs (Country Code Top-Level Domains)

This extension notes a particular part of the location or territory under the IOS code, such as .es for Spain, .us for the USA, .in for India, .id for Indonesia, and .co.uk for the United Kingdom.

Infrastructure Top-Level Domain

This domain name extension differs from others because it contains only one extension, which is .arpa, which represents ARPA (Address and Routing Parameter Area). This domain name is designed for solving internet-infrastructure issues.

TLDs are designed to properly represent or display your website's primary purpose, making it easy for people to recognize it when they see your domain name. For example, An educational website would have domain extensions that portray the website type, like .edu.

Before registering your domain name, you must carry out your findings diligently and know all the available options before deciding which is suitable for your website.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a specific storage location where all the relevant content files of your website are stored. In other words, web hosting is where all of your site’s relevant files live. It is like a house for your website files. 

You can describe the domain name as the address for your website (house address), and web hosting is the house. 

Web hosting and domain names are necessary for all websites on the internet. A user or visitor must enter your website’s domain name on a browser, and your web hosting provider will direct the visitor to all your website files stored on your web server.

To use a web hosting service, you have to buy hosting or a portion on the server where you can store all your files and applications from a web hosting provider. Apart from storing files on the server, a web host safeguards your own server and your website from attacks.

Some web hosting companies help with the registration process of a domain name and the creation of your own website. 

Many hosting service providers are available to you. Choosing the best web hosting services, such as Bluehost, WP Engine, SiteGround, HostGator, and 10Web is vital.

Types of Web Hosting

Depending on your website needs, not all web hosting plans are suitable. There are different web hosting types, each catering to the needs of different users. 

1. VPS Hosting

With VPS hosting, a physical server is used and virtually separated into multiple web servers, enabling internet users to access a private environment with their dedicated resources.

This hosting service is perfect for medium-to-high-traffic websites. VPS hosting plans begin from $3.49 to $77.99/month.

2. Shared Hosting

As the name implies, shared hosting is a web hosting service where multiple websites share a physical server and have a specific amount of storage space and resources allotted to each website.

The most cost-effective web hosting service is shared web hosting, perfect for personal websites or small businesses. 

The Pros and Cons Of Shared Hosting
Source: WPMU DEV

The best-shared web hosting services include Bluehost, Hostinger, DreamHost, A2 Hosting, and InMotion.

3. Cloud Hosting 

Cloud hosting involves using different virtual servers to host a website. 

With cloud hosting services, the website is independent of downtimes because whenever a particular server is experiencing downtime, another server is on standby to take over and ensure that the website keeps running. 

Cloud hosting is the ideal option for websites that have high traffic and require high availability, such as an eCommerce store. A cloud hosting plan range from $9.99 to $29.99/month.

Comparison of Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Cloud Hosting
Source: Liquid Web

Some of the best cloud web hosting services include SiteGround, A2 Hosting, Cloudways, Kamatera, and Hostwinds. 

4. WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting offers security, performance, and an optimized environment, for hosting WordPress sites. 

This hosting plan provides relevant WordPress features and customizable options to enable you to manage and grow your websites effectively. WordPress hosting plans begin at $1.99 to $11.59/month.

62.4% of all websites built with a CMS use WordPress
Source: WebsiteSetup

Some of the best WordPress web hosting services include Bluehost, SiteGround, WP Engine, 10Web, and Kinsta.

5. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the highest or most advanced traditional web hosting type offered by web hosting companies. This hosting plan assigns a server to a single user and gives the user full control over the server space.

The pricing for dedicated hosting plans ranges from $45 to $900/month, depending on the user's specifications and preferences.

The best-dedicated web hosting services include Bluehost, Liquid Web, InMotion Hosting, HostGator, and DreamHost.

6. Email Hosting 

Email hosting allows you to create custom email addresses related to your domain name (e.g.,joshavin@youdomain.com). Email hosting pricing plans start from $0.99 to $2.49/month.

Top Email Hosts by Market Share
Source: 99Firms

Some of the best email hosting services include Namecheap, Office 365, Google Workspace, Zoho Workplace, and Rackspace.

Which Web Hosting Type is Best for You?

  • Shared Hosting for Beginners: If you are a beginner and lack the technical know-how to operate a web hosting service. In that case, a shared hosting service will be perfect for you because it is affordable, cost-effective, fully managed, and user-friendly.
  • VPS and Cloud Hosting for Advanced Users: However, if you have the technical knowledge required to handle your service and want total control over it, you can subscribe to VPS or cloud hosting. 

Choosing which internet hosting service is perfect for you is based on your budget and the type of website you intend to operate.

You need a domain name and web hosting for a website to function normally. These two services are different, but they work hand-in-hand to ensure that a website functions optimally. 

A domain name system can be described as a large address book that is constantly updated, while a domain name is the address of the web hosting service that stores the website’s files.

These two services are interrelated; one cannot function effectively without the other. Without domain names, people would not be able to locate websites. 

In the same way, without web hosting services, you can not host your websites and store important files that visitors can access.

Difference Between Domain and Hosting

The domain name and web hosting are different but closely connected. You require a domain name and a hosting web account to create a website. Website owners can not build a functional website without these two entities.

A domain name differs from web hosting, but for web hosting to work, a domain name is required and vice-versa. 

The primary difference between domain and hosting is their functions.

A domain name acts as your website’s address on the internet, giving people access to your website, while web hosting is a specific storage location where all the relevant content files of your website are stored. 

To create a website, you have to begin by choosing a unique domain name and registering the name with a domain registrar company.

Website owners can register their domain names for a minimum of one year with a domain company. Your registration will require continuous renewal to ensure continuous usage before it expires.

After choosing a domain company to register your domain name, the next step is for you to purchase a hosting plan and link it to your custom domain name.

After linking your domain name with your web hosting server, you can proceed to install content management software (CMS) such as WordPress and use it to install tools, plugins, and other relevant content to your website. 

Can I Buy Domain and Hosting from the Same Company?

You can purchase a hosting account and a domain from the same company or different companies.

A major advantage of purchasing a hosting account and a domain from the same company is the ease that comes with the setup process. The stress of changing the domain name settings is eliminated.

As a result of the solution that comes with buying both domains and hosting from the same company, many companies have started offering both services together to maximize profits from each purchase.

Many website owners have also identified this option as beneficial to them and their websites and have been prompted to buy both services from the same company. 

An example of an organization that offers both services at a reasonable cost is Bluehost.

Typically, a web hosting plan costs around $7.99 per month, while getting a domain name costs $14.99.

With the Bluehost WordPress hosting deal, you can purchase hosting for as low as $2.75. With the Bluehost plan, you get 60% off the regular price, a free domain name, domain registration, and a free SSL certificate.

When you buy a domain and hosting from a company like Bluehost, you inevitably save money and eliminate the stress associated with the website setup process.

The top domain registrars you can consider if you want to register your domain name include:

  • NameCheap
  • DreamHost
  • Domain.com
  • GoDaddy

Some relevant hosting providers that can serve as alternatives to Bluehost for web hosting include:

  • SiteGround
  • InMotion Hosting
  • HostGator

Where to Get a Domain Name and/or Hosting 

Acquiring your domain name and hosting is not a difficult task. You can purchase these services from the same provider or buy them individually.

1. Buy from the Same Web Hosting Company

Buying from the same service provider is the easiest option, especially when you are still a beginner. This option makes managing your domain and hosting easier because the same service provider does it. 

If your domain and hosting are handled by the same service provider, connecting your domain name to your web host server is done seamlessly.

On the other hand, certain people may decide to keep their domain name registration and web hosting separate for two main reasons.

They may have a domain name and only require web hosting, or they may not want to create a website, but they just like the idea of having a domain name in reserve.

2. Where to Purchase a Domain Name Alone 

You can buy a domain name from a domain name registrar for as low as $12 and link it with a web host server you purchased from another hosting company.

After purchasing and registering a domain name, it belongs to you for that period before it eventually expires. You can renew your subscription after the domain name expires and buy a domain independent of web hosting.

Here are the top domain name registrars you can check out to purchase your domain name.

  • GoDaddy: With this registrar, you can buy domains in bulk and existing domains depending on your purpose. You can buy a ‘.com’ domain for a price as low as ‪£1.99‬ for the first year.
  • Namecheap: If you want to purchase your domain from Namecheap, your budget should start from around $9. This registrar offers other side deals like adding Whols protection for free.
  • Hover: Hover is the new player in the block, with its undivided focus on selling domain names alone; its rates start at $4.99. Each domain name sold comes with an email address.
  • Google Domains: Google Domains offer fair prices on their domain names with free add-ons such as automatic Whois privacy. 

3. Where to Buy Web Hosting Alone 

Many web hosting services rent out server space to website users at affordable rates. Here are some popular web hosts your can buy hosting space.

  • Bluehost: This web hosting provider's prices start from $2.99. A free domain name comes with your subscription. 
  • A2 Hosting: A2 Hosting rates start at $3 per month, guaranteeing 100 GB storage, free site migration, and unlimited bandwidth.
  • Hostinger: Hosting plans begin from $2.99 per month, guaranteeing two subdomains and 100GB bandwidth. You enjoy added features like a free domain, unlimited websites, email, and unlimited bandwidth. 

FAQ 

Do I Need Web Hosting if I Have a Domain Name?

A domain name without web hosting is insufficient to run a website effectively. You can compare a domain name to the address of a house, while web hosting represents the actual house; having a house address with a house is useless.

Web hosting is the storage location of all your website files and applications. Without it, your website visitors will not be able to access your files. In essence, you need both a domain name and web hosting.

Do I Need a Domain if I Have Web Hosting?

In most cases, you would require a domain if you have web hosting. Certain web hosting providers offer a subdomain name that you can use for free.

The downside is that these subdomain names may not effectively represent the purpose of your website. Moreover, it is not customizable and will not make your website look professional.

Custom domains give your website a professional look with strong branding and a voice, making it easy for visitors to remember your website’s name.

Do I Have to Buy Web Hosting and a Domain Name Together?

You do not need to purchase a web hosting account and a domain name together or from the same service provider. 

If you buy them together, you would be required to change the DNS setting and direct your domain to the web hosting company to grant your visitors access to your site’s files and relevant information.

However, purchasing your domain and web hosting from the same web hosting service provider will save you the stress of changing the domain name settings. You can manage and upgrade both services simultaneously on the administrative dashboard. 

What Is Domain Hosting?

Domain hosting services are responsible for hosting domain names for your website. These domain hosts sell domains and register them for a subscription fee to a specific owner. 

Web hosting and domain hosting are not the same. With web hosting, you can buy a web hosting account and a domain at the same place. When you purchase a domain from a domain name registrar, the registrar becomes your domain host.

Any company that sells or manages domain name registration is called a domain registrar and is listed under ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

The domain registrar is responsible for all domain-related requirements like DNS settings and managing IP addresses in the DNS records.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.