Here at Nightly, we offer domain name registration and web hosting services. Although these two services are closely connected and required in order to work effectively, they are in fact separate from each other. In this article, we want to walk you though a few questions we frequently get asked about.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a virtual address that you would typically type into a web browser to access a website. If you can picture a website as a home, your domain name is the street address where the home is located. To learn more about what a domain name is, you would need to know about IP addresses.
The internet is a giant network of computers connected through cables which communicate to each other. For identification purposes, ever computer will be assigned a unique phase of numbers. These numbers are called IP Addresses.
An IP address is a combination of numbers separated by dots. For example, a typical IPv4 address would look like 123.456.789.0.
Although these numbers would seem hard to recall, computers will use these numbers with ease. Now imagine remembering not only 1 set of numbers but multiple sets of numbers. The complexity of number combinations would would need to remember would be impossible to access all your favourite websites.
With a domain name, visiting a website on the internet is no longer a problem. Rather than trying to remember a random string of numbers, you would just need to type in the simple domain name such as “nightly.com.au" to access the website.
What is Web Hosting?
To understand the difference between a domain name and web hosting, you will need to understand what web hosting means. Web hosting is where all the files for your website are stored.
If you can picture a website as a home, web hosting is the home itself, whereas the domain name is the street address. All homes need a street address much like all websites require a domain name. Again, although not required, no one will want to remember “123.456.789.0” versus “your brand.com"
When a domain name is entered into a web browser, the domain name will get translated to the IP address of the web hosting company’s server (computer) and the server is the location of your website contents and files which get served back to the browser where the domain name was entered.
The link between a domain name and web hosting
Both a Domain Name and Web Hosting are two separate services working together to operate a website. A domain name is required for your audience to access your website and web hosting is also required for the files which contain in the website are able to be viewed. These two services are both required to run a website successfully.
Do I need a domain name or web hosting to build a website?
Both a domain name and web hosting are required to building a website.
When purchasing a domain name, you get the exclusive right to use it for a period of time. Generally starting from one year, which you can choose to renew annually or pay more additional years in advance. You will also need web hosting to pair to the domain name to serve the website files. To connect a domain name to a web host, you would need to point the domain name (DNS) to your web hosting provider.
Can you buy a domain name and web hosting separately?
You can buy a domain name from one company and web hosting from another. There is no problem in mixing and matching to suit. If you do decide to purchase from two separate companies, remember to point the domain name to the correct web hosting domain name server.
Contact us if you require help in connecting your domain name to our web host.
Our web hosting domain name servers are:
Can I move web hosting companies?
You sure can! Although it may take a little more time to migrate across and suffer from a short down-time, sometimes it is the more feasible option depending on your requirements. The best time would be to check your website off-peak times typically it would be between the hours of 1am-5am on a Monday morning. Be sure to remember if your business operates globally, timezones are different around the world and you would want to migrate web hosting companies after some researching when it would be the best time.