For those starting out in affiliate marketing, questions are many. One that I’ve heard more than once is this: Are a domain name and web hosting the same thing?
The answer is no, they are not. The confusion may come in because you can buy domains and hosting packages from the same place.
Here’s a brief explanation of the differences.
Your domain name is your web site’s address, such as myfirstsite.com. You buy it from a domain registrar, which is a company that sells domain names. Some examples are GoDaddy, NameCheap, and 1and1. A domain is unique to you; no two people can register the same one. However, keep in mind that myfirstsite.com is different than myfirstsite.net or myfirstsite.org.
Domain names are also referred to as URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) or as your web site address–several ways to say basically the same thing.
When you register your domain, that’s all you’re buying; you’re not actually purchasing space for it and your web site to “live.”
This is where the hosting company comes in. Some popular hosting companies are Host Gator, Bluehost, and DreamHost. This is where you rent server space, a place to put all your web site’s files.
Think of it in another context: Say you have a boat and a snowmobile but don’t have room in your garage or driveway. So you rent a storage unit at one of those facilities with rows and rows of doors. Your unit is like your hosting package. The address of the storage facility, so you know where to go to get your stuff, is like your domain name.
This is also a good way to understand the difference between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. There are lots of different people renting storage units in that same building, so that’s similar to shared hosting. You share the server with other web sites.
Dedicated server hosting is where you rent the entire server, so it would be like having your own storage building. No one else would be storing their stuff in your building and using up space. Dedicated hosting is more expensive than shared, as you might have guessed.
In any case, you need to set the domain nameservers in order to “attach” your domain name to your server. This ensures that when someone types your domain name into a browser, it will know where to find the web site files that go with that domain.