What Are Domains and Hosting?
I’ll explain what domains and hosting are with a bit of an extended metaphor. Obviously, it’s quite oversimplified.
Let’s just say your computer is a house and the internet is the road network. The website you want to view is a parcel you want to pick up and bring home. It’s sitting in a warehouse waiting to be accessed, the warehouse being the hosting server. The domain is the equivalent of an address for the warehouse.
With me so far? Here’s a diagram:
Hosting just refers to the server on which the files that make up a website are held. You can host your own website by buying and setting up your own server, but most smaller websites, including this one, are hosted by a third-party company. I use Blue Sky Creative – in the interest of transparency, I get a small commission if you buy using this link, but there are tons of alternatives if you prefer.
All servers (and, indeed, all internet-enabled devices) have a unique IP address (a bit like a postcode) and the way domains work, in a nutshell, is by converting a “postcode” to an “address”, making it easier for humans to understand and remember. So my IP address is 22.214.171.124 but my domain is chamberlaindesign.co.uk – much easier, right?
It’s important to get a good relevant domain name, as this helps a lot with your search engine ranking. The .com, .co.uk etc. part is called a top-level domain and often refers to a country, although there are other uses too. If you are based in a certain country, getting the relevant top-level domain ranks you correctly in searches restricted by country but .com is universal. What type of organisation you are is also important, for example a non-profit should be .org.uk or .org ideally.
A relatively short post this week, folks. Have a good Bank Holiday, English chaps. See you soon!
21st January 2015