What are Domain Registration and Domain Hosting?
If this is the first time you've been involved in creating a website, a lot of the terms involved with website development can be pretty confusing. This is the reason for this page—to take some of the guesswork out and give you a clearer picture of what these terms mean.
There are two main services you need in order to get your website online where users can find it: Domain RegistrationHosting
These are very different services, and you need both. Domain names must be renewed annually (you can purchase longer periods of time up to 10 years), hosting costs are usually paid monthly, quarterly or annually.
URLs and Domain Registration
Since you found your way to this page, chances are good that you know what URLs are. URLs are the text in the Address bar of your browser that look like (for example): http://www.tonerdesign.com
Computer terms like "URL" are most often abbreviations of a technical phrase. In this case, URL stands for Universal Resource Locator
Using the example of the URL above, the "http" means "hypertext transfer protocol", referring to the set of rules for exchanging the files that comprise your website between computers. Sometimes you'll see the "www" and sometimes not, but this part refers to "world wide web" and indicates the particular network. You don't really need to know these in order to use the web—most people don't know them. But in most cases to do with computers, even "words" for items are often an abbreviated name.
Following the "www" and before any additional forward slashes ( a forward slash has its top lean to the right, like this: / ) is the domain name. In our example above, this is "tonerdesign.com." This is the part you must "register" with a domain name registrar, so that the network resources on the World Wide Web (DNS or Domain Name Servers) have a record of it in their databases and can send visitors to your website when they type in your domain name.
Prices for this service vary widely, but they have fallen dramatically as the Web has grown and competition has increased. Nowadays, however, you will run into companies and users who try to sell domain names that they deem to be in demand at a much higher cost. If it makes sense for your business and the cost is not too high, such a domain name may be an advantage to you. Most of the time you can find an alternative, however. Ideally, you will want to have a domain name that reflects your business product or service, as search engines put some additional ranking weight on websites using names that use keyphrases in their domain name.
What you're paying for when you register a domain name
- Verification that your domain name is a unique name not used by anyone else.
- Insertion of your domain name into a huge database of domain names so that web servers (the computers which are responsible for powering the Internet) can find it among the many millions of domain names registered.
- Updates of the information associated with your domain name whenever you require that it be updated, such as when you change hosting services, phone numbers or addresses.
- If you use a private registration, you're also paying for use of a privacy setup that protects your email address and other information from being picked up easily by spammers.
All of the above is usually handled by automated systems, but sometimes requires support staff to take care of a glitch or problem not covered in the automated systems. Your registration fee covers all of these services.
Toner Design can register your domain name for you (no additional cost other than the cost of the domain name) or you can use our interface to register your domain yourself. You can register your domain names using our web interface, or have us do it for you at no additional cost. Toner Design has contracted with an ICANN-accredited registrar for these services. Click here to go to our Domain Registration page.
Before you register a domain name, you will want to consider when you are going to use the domain name--right away or later. You have two options:
- You can HOST it, in which case you will have a place to put the files that will become your website as well as set up emailaddresses that use your domain name. Hosting is set up after checking to make sure the domain name of your choice is available, but before you actually register it. After you set up your hosting account, the hosting service will give you the DNS information you will give the domain registrar during the registration process.
- You can PARK it, meaning that you will not have a place to put your files, but your domain name is reserved for your future use. Some registrars charge for "parking" a domain, usually a minimal yearly fee. (Toner Design parks domains for FREE.) If you use our website interface to register your domain name, you will have the option of parking the name for free during the registration process and will not need to set up a hosting account until you are ready to use your domain.
What is Domain Hosting?
Domain Hosting is required in addition to Domain Registration. When you "host" a website, you are placing your domain name (and any files that will be associated with it, these files are the website) on a computer that is networked into the Internet on a permanent basis, also called a "server". You cannot host a domain on your home computer, which is neither connected to the Internet in a way that would allow it, nor does it have the security features that protect your website from malicious intruders. Servers are run with specifications and security features that the home computer doesn't have, nor would you want the expense and headaches of keeping one running up to par and secure from hackers, every minute of every day.
Click here to learn more about the hosting plans we offer.