What’s the difference between a hosting and domain?
This particular question comes up quite a bit when working with new customers. “I want to have a web site, but what are these extra charges that come along with it?” For a seasoned web designer, the answer to this might seem very simple, but this can be a wholly different language to your client who is signing the check. To help them understand what they are purchasing, I try to offer the following advice and explain it in a way that everyone can understand.
You are a barber.
One day you decide to go into business for yourself, so you gather your scissors, clippers, and razors together so that you can cut hair.
The first thing you do is rent a place to house all of your supplies. You fill it with your tools of the trade and make it a welcome place for people to come and get their hair cut. When you are happy with the way it looks, you are ready to open for business.
Unfortunately, no one knows that you are a barber or have scissors, clippers, and razors, because your business is in what looks to be just another building. So, you have to come up with a unique name to entice people to come to your barber shop and put up a sign. Now (hopefully) everyone knows that you are a barber and you can start getting customers.
It works the same with the internet.
You own a business and you want to build a web site.
You gather all of the information that you want to put into that web site for the different pages. Think of this as your “tools of the trade” for selling your product or service.
So, you buy a HOSTING PLAN. Just like our barber, above, this is just a place to store all of the tools that you want to use. It doesn’t matter what you put into the building or how you arrange the way it looks, but this is the place where you will keep your stuff. On the World Wide Web, there are millions and millions of these HOSTING PLANS and you will need a simple way to set yourself aside from the building next door.
So you name it with a special name that only you possess and you put a sign on your building (or HOSTING). This is called, a DOMAIN NAME. Your DOMAIN NAME can be anything you want it to be, but usually, it is a good idea to reference what your business is about. For instance, our barber may want to call his business HAIRCUTS.com. As long as no one else has a HOSTING PLAN with that name, that’s the sign he can use. If there is another HAIRCUTS.com in town, he can choose to name it something different or change the letters after the word “Haircuts” to a different EXTENSION. Think of this like adding “Jr.” or “Sr.” to the end of your name. It is done so you can tell a father and son apart.
You can always move your business (Keep the DOMAIN NAME and switch to another HOSTING PLAN) to another address.
You can stay at the same place (HOSTING PLAN) and change the name of your business (Change your DOMAIN NAME).
So what does this all cost you?
Prices can vary, especially in HOSTING. Just remember: “You get what you pay for”. Very cheap HOSTING may not have all the features that you need for your web site or the server where it is hosted (i.e. kept) may be shared with others. The cost can vary between a couple of dollars per month to hundreds of dollars. It just depends on what you need. Typically, most small businesses do not need to spend more than $10-$15 per month.
DOMAIN NAMES are all about the same, depending upon their extension (the .com, .gov, .edu, etc….). These should cost between $10-$20 per year. Look for sales throughout the year on DOMAIN NAMES. You can sometimes buy them as low as $0.99.
Hopefully, this explanation of domains and hosting plans helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at: DUQofURL@gmail.com or through my web site, www.mywebsource1.com.