Even for some seasoned web professionals understanding the different components of web hosting can be confusing, but it is very important to know about the services you are paying for and why you need them.
So what hosting services do you need to get a website online?
There are three main services that every website must have in order to be ‘online’. Without one of these three items your website would not be accessible to your customers.
Domain Name Hosting
A domain name is a unique set of characters/words which is used to identify your website i.e. www.mywebsite.com.au.
When you purchase a domain name it always includes domain name hosting. If you do not pay your domain hosting bill, then your domain will become available for others to purchase. Most domains cost around $10-$40 per year and typically can only be purchased in blocks of two years at a time. One of the cheapest places to get domain names is through Crazy Domain (https://www.crazydomains.com.au/). The only caution is to be careful during checkout as they try to upsell additional services that you won’t normally need.
Websites can be built in a number of different ways, but all websites are just made up of files.
Web hosting is just a computer connected to the internet which allows other users to access the information on it. This information is your website files. The cost to use web hosting varies a lot and is usually based off the type of server, how much space you use, how much traffic your website will receive and the level of service your web hosting company offers. For most websites we don’t see people use much more than 500mb for a site that has fewer than 30 pages. The main reason you might need more space is if your hosting account includes email hosting. In that case you may want to look at packages that include 5GB or more, you can even find hosts that have unlimited email hosting. You can always choose one of the lower packages and as your needs increase you can easily contact your web host and get upgrades
Domain Name System (DNS) Hosting
So now you have two services, a domain name and web hosting. The problem is that your domain name and your web hosting account are not connected in any way; they are two completely separate services at this point.
That is where the DNS Hosting comes in. DNS hosting is used to connect your domain name (e.g. www.mywebsite.com.au) with your web hosting account where your website files are. Now when someone visits www.mywebsite.com.au they see the files that are stored on your webserver.
The key thing to note about DNS hosting is that it’s usually included as part of your web hosting package, although it can be included in your domain name hosting or as a separate service all together.
While you can run a website without email hosting, most people will want to have email accounts for their domain name such as: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To have an email address like this you need to have email hosting. Usually email hosting is included as part of your web hosting, but it can be setup as a separate service for a fee. Once again, your DNS Hosting is used to ‘connect’ your domain name to your email hosting provider.
Putting it all together
Most people will only be paying two bills to keep their websites running, domain name hosting and web hosting but it’s important to note that the DNS hosting is the glue that connects all the different services together.
The diagram below illustrates a typical web server setup where your DNS hosting and email hosting are all part of your web hosting package.
To sum it all up, you’ll need to begin with purchasing a domain name to identify your website so that you own the domain and it is not available to others. You then need web hosting to allow users to access your website files.
DNS hosting is what connects your domain name and your website files. In addition, if you want to have an email address linked to your domain name, then you need to have email hosting, which you can usually have as part of your web hosting. At which point your DNS Hosting is used to ‘connect’ your domain name to your email hosting provider. These three main services are what you need to be online, so if you’re thinking of launching a new site, get in touch with us here at SponsoredLinX today.