What is a Domain Name and Hosting?

No two domain name are the same
Domain names are all unique and can be hosted on different platforms


Do You Wonder What is a Domain Name and Hosting?

When I first though of having a website I knew next to nothing about how it all worked. How to name a website or set one up. I am going  to tell you what I learned about – “What is a domain name and hosting?” Every website on the web has a domain name that is unique to it. There are no duplicates.

Domains on the internet are defined by the IP address, which is made up of a series of numbers and dots. Domain name are used because it is easier for people to remember a name, rather than a series or numbers and dots.

IP addresses fuction like street addresses
An IP address is like a street address. It identifies the location of a website.

An IP address is like a street address and the name of the property at that address would be like a domain name. Just as you can find the Empire State Building without knowing the actual physical address, you can find a domain just by knowing the domain name.




Domain Names Are Made Up of Levels

Example of domain name levels
Domain names are made up of more than one level.


The top level domain is located to the far right in the domain name beyond  the last dot. Examples of top level domains are .com, .org, .net, and .gov. This website, “www.rich-retirement.com“, is in the .com TLD.

When you choose a name for your website you choose a top level domain  and a unique name to go to the left (or in front of) the top level domain,  for example “mywebsite.com”.

Creating a Domain Name For Your New Site

This name can be between 2 and 63 characters long and can consist of numbers, letters and hyphens (the hyphens can’t be at the beginning or the end). Note: although you can use hyphens and numbers in a domain name, some people think this might not be a good idea, as people don’t usually use them in a search phrase and website names with hyphens are sometimes consider to be spam . (I found this out after I had picked my domain name.)

Also the domain name cannot contain any copyrighted or trademark words such as Google, Nike or Microsoft. These two domains make up your domain name, which  identifies your website’s IP address.

Good domain names take some time to come up with
Coming up with a memorable domain name can sometimes be difficult.

In coming up with a domain name it should:

  1. Relate to your website’s theme.
  2. Contain keywords people are searching for
  3. Be as short and as memorable as possible


Make sure you are happy with your domain name before you register it. Domain names cannot be changed.

What Do I Do With My Domain Name?

Once you have come up with a name, you must find out if it is available. Go into a domain name registrar website and see if you domain name is already in use. Remember domain names are unique. There can’t be two the same. If your name is already taken, play around with it until you come up with something else that will work.

Domain Name Registrars

Once you come up with a domain name, you need to register or buy it so no one else will use it. Names are purchased from domain name registrars; Companies whose job it is to sell or “register” domain names. The good news is that they usually cost between $10 and $20  a year; sometimes more, sometimes less.  GoDaddy, NameCheap, Hover, Gandi, Dreamhost and 1&1 Internet are just a few of the many  domain name registrars. Many registrars also offer hosting. More about that later.

A domain name can be registered for a year, three years, five years or ten years.  After the registration period is up, you must  renew it or it will expire and can be purchased by someone else. A domain name doesn’t have to be connected to a website. You can just let it sit. This is called a “parked” domain.

Domain Auction Sites

Another way to obtain a domain is to purchase an aged domain from a domain auction site. Depending on the domain it could already have search engine attributes, which would give your website a jump start. The value of a domain name is influenced by it’s length. Because they are easier to remember and there is less chance for typos, when entering them in the address bar; short names have more value than long names. It is very difficult to come up with a name of six letters or less that has not been used. Some of these short names sell for $10,000 and up.

The other important consideration is the keyword value. Is the name something that lots of people will be searching for? Domains with popular keywords command a higher value. Of course the name would also have to relate to a website.

What Other Aspects to Consider When Registering a Domain?


Domain Privacy

By default, when you register a domain name contact and billing information is stored in a publicly viewable database called WHOIS.  If you want your name, address, phone etc. to remain private you should sign up for private registration (offered by most domain name registrars) It is usually between about $3.00 and $10 extra a year.

Business Certification

If you plan on conduction business on your domain, a business certification will provide you with a printed document proving ownership of the domain. This would be beneficial if you ever had to prove legal ownership. Certification usually costs $2-$5.

What is Hosting

Now that you have registered a domain name for your website, how do you get it out on the internet? This is where hosting comes in.  Hosting services store your website on their server and makes it live on the internet. In addition to hosting services and registrars, some online website builders will host your site on their servers.

Namecheap.comWeb hosting services host your website on their servers

There are thousands of web hosting services to choose from. Here are a few:

  • Bluehost
  • eHost
  • FatCow
  • GoDaddy
  • HostClear
  • HostGator
  • IdeaHost
  • iPage
  • JustHost
  • NameCheap
  • Yahoo

When choosing a host you should consider price, ease of use, bandwidth, disc space, and customer support. The host that most fits you needs is the one to go with. If you are just planning a small site or blog you don’t want to pay for a lot of space you won’t be using. If you don’t know anything about building a website, choose a host that will walk you through it. Look at different web hosting services and compare their features to find the one that suits you.

If you would like to start with a free service I recommend the one I use. It includes a very easy to use WordPress website builder and two free websites. For a look at this free web hosting service click here.

I hope this gave you a little more understanding about domains and hosting. If you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will get back to you.


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