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Chamberlain Design

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:

Domain and Hosting Diagram Based on Above Analogy

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 213.5.177.31 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

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