What is Web Hosting and Domains?
Starting a new business?
If you are an ambitious entrepreneur who has big dreams and the ability to turn your dreams into reality, you might be thinking of setting the wheels in motion and starting your own online business. If you have amazing plans in mind and want to achieve great financial independence, an e-commerce website is surely the perfect way to go and tap into the rich resources the internet has to offer.
After you have decided on the niche and prospective market, the next immediate step is building a sustainable and reliable website which will be your ‘store front’ on the internet. And building and hosting your own e-commerce website with a unique domain would enable you to sell your goods and services directly to the customers without any mediators, and earn an identity for your brand.
A web host (or website hosting service provider) is a company which provides the essential services required to enable your website to be viewed on the internet (read the world wide web). All the content of the website – the text, images, videos and other information – are stored in an online storage centre called the server. Servers are special computers, which basically decide the location of your website on the internet. When a user decides to access a website, their computers get connected to your server and the web pages are delivered to their screens through an internet browser (like Google Chrome). Web hosting is an integral part of running your website and making it available to both current as well as potential customers.
Nowadays, there are a plethora of web hosting service provider options available in the market, some of the notable ones being HostGator, Bluehost, GoDaddy and AWS (Amazon Web Services). Although there are service providers which offer their services for free, it is usually not recommended as there may be a limited number of options for customisation and control. Additionally, paid ones are not too costly, and so it does not make much sense to save a few bucks when you are already spending in the thousands to set up your business.
Just as a server represents the location of your website on the internet, the domain (specifically, domain name) is the address to that location. So it is also sometimes commonly referred to as the website address. In layman terms, it is the name of the website which users type in the address bar of a browser (generally the topmost blank space in a browser). Usually, websites are associated with an IP address – such as 89.652.46.7. Yes, I know they are difficult to remember. This is where the domain names come in handy.
Domains basically convert the complex IP addresses into more recognisable and easy-to-remember words. If your website is a house on the server ‘land’, the domain name is like the street and house number which makes access to your house easy.
Custom domain names reflect your company’s identity, inspire trust in your visitors, and are easy on the memory. For eg. Nobody would need any explanation on what a website named drugsupplier.com could be on!
Domain names need to be purchased. This means that you can have your own custom website name in a few bucks. But that would also mean that there is a high probability that the name you just thought of buying has already been purchased. So you need to think of a more creative variation, and quickly!