Many of us have registered one or more domains, either for a new business start-up or perhaps for non-commercial purposes, such as a mechanism for uploading family photographs so that others can view them.
Whilst registering a domain can be a very simple process, for those who have no prior experience, it can be an area of starting a small business that causes confusion and results in the spending of unnecessary money.
An Explanation of Domains
The difference between a domain and webhosting often causes issues, but this can be easily be dispensed with by providing a simple definition of each of these terms.
Domains are like dormant companies in that they exit, belong to someone but have no physical existence. Buying a domain essentially means that you are staking a claim on a particular name and thus preventing anyone else from registering one with exactly the same name.
It is possible for each domain name to have several extensions or suffixes associated with it, some examples being .com, co,uk and .net. Different extensions attached to the same domain name make each one completely separate and distinct from one another.
Thus one person could own completebusinessstartup.co.uk whilst an unrelated party could own the .com version.
Web Hosting Explained
Web Hosting on the other hand is the physical computer hard drive space which can be associated with one or more domain names. By coupling a domain name with web hosting people typing in the URL will be directed to the section of a hard drive where a web site can be put up.
Both domain names and webhosting are therefore essential components of having a fully functioning business website. The name provides the identity; the hosting provides the website which visitors will see once they arrive at the address.
All but a few any web hosting companies provide both components as they are so intrinsically linked together and whilst it is commonplace to use webhosting from the same source that the domain was registered with, this is by no means essential.
Domains and Hosting with Separate Companies
I certain situations it might advisable to register a domain with one company and have the web hosting sited with another. This could provide the advantage of being able to change companies easily in the event that the performance of the current host proves to be unsatisfactory.
Some domain registrants provide full access and control to the purchaser over where the domain is pointed to, whereas others have a managed service and require the owner to provide written instructions authorising changes before they can be made.
The first kind of registrant is easily preferred as adjustments to the domain can be made quickly and at the purchaser’s convenience.
This type of domain housing is also beneficial where the purchaser wishes to have direct control over several domain names. They can all be registered with the same provider and then pointed to different webhosting locations or parked ready for future use.
A new start-up business may well own several domains only some of which may be in actual use. As well as the .com, .co.uk and .net versions which might be pointed to the company’s website, variations of the name might also be purchased in order to prevent others from registering them and causing confusion among the business’ customers.
This is indeed a wise course of action, particularly since .com domains can be purchased for £7.99 and .co.uk versions for as little as £2.59.
Armed with both a domain name and webhosting, the business start-up can then begin building a website to provide visitors with information about it. Web promotion is an important component is the achieving good exposure and online success.