All you need to know about web hosting, domain names and the DNS!
Many of our clients are unsure about what we do regarding how we publish the website we create for them on the internet. In this article, you will learn about domain names, web hosting and mail servers, about how all these elements are connected and are required for a website to be accessible for visitors to browse.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the service provided by web hosting companies. They store websites in folders on web servers (essentially, computers) that are connected to the internet. To get to a website, a unique domain name is required. This domain name is entered into either the search bar or the URL bar at the top of a web browser; this could be: Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge. Many mistake the URL bar with the search bar, which is primarily used to make searches but can directly locate a particular website.
But what if you already have a web hosting provider and don’t think they are right for you? Well, you can transfer your website to a different web hosting service. Usually, the new web hosting provider would help support you with this when you register with them.
What are the different types of web hosting?
Web hosting can either be shared or dedicated. But what is the difference? Shared hosting is generally cheaper because the space of the hard disk partition is shared. However, the disadvantage of this is that there is a risk of a slower loading website and performance. On the other hand, dedicated hosting is when the hard disk is partitioned with others but not sharing the space but is more expensive.
Think of dedicated hosting as an apartment building, where you live in the building but have a separate apartment. Whereas shared hosting is like living in a dormitory, in which people share the space of the area. Like an apartment building, there are many rooms.
So what is a Domain Name in simpler terms?
A domain name is a unique phrase found in a URL. There is a need for domain names since we all struggle to remember long, series of numbers – like an IP address of a web hosting server, e.g. 123.45.678.9. So, memorising short, simple and recognisable words like “frameworkdigital.co.uk” is less challenging.
Domains can either be local (within the country) or global (international). As you might have guessed, “frameworkdigital.co.uk” ends with “uk“, which indicates it’s a local domain name to the UK. Whereas, if a website were global, the suffix would be, for instance, “.com” or “.net“.
Here are some more domain name extensions with their appropriate use:
- .org = non-profit organisation
- .com/.co = commercial
- .gov = government
- .biz = business
- .edu / .ac = schools and educational institutions
- .net = network
- .me = personal e.g. blogs
- .uk / .us / .es / .fr / .jp / .in / .ru etc. = representing a country
Subdomains, however, are the prefixes of a web address. The most widely recognised subdomain would be “www.“. But I’m sure you have probably also seen subdomains like “shop.” or “mail.” too. These subdomains are essential to separate different website functions for better navigation and organisation.
What is the DNS?
You might be wondering how the domain name is connected to the website? Websites and domain names are connected through the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS server is practically a translator, translating the domain name into an IP address. The IP address is then checked against the web server and sends the device to the correct website. This all takes place in a matter of seconds.
How are emails managed on a website?
After you have decided on a domain name, created a website, and have a web hosting provider, the next step you need to consider is a mail server. This is an optional step; however, having an email with the name of your business and domain name is considered professional and reliable. Major companies, like Google and Microsoft, provide email hosting services. In which the email is registered with your domain name. For example, the email “email@example.com” could be used throughout your website to send and receive emails from clients when an email address is sent through, for example, the contact form on a website. Another example is an online store; emails would be sent to customers with order confirmations and invoices.
What does this have to do with us at Framework Digital?
Framework Digital offers domain name registration and secure web hosting with a UK based server. Our web hosting service includes daily back-ups, SSL certificates and website maintenance.
We provide additional services such as:
- If you have a domain name in mind but are not sure if it’s already taken, we can find out or research potentially suitable domain names for your website
- We make sure to register the domain name in your business’ name so you have control.
- Transfer an existing website to our web hosting service
- Keep your website up and running, secure and updated
- Provide troubleshooting as a part of our service
If you have no idea where to start, we can help you, or if you already have a domain name in mind, you can register and purchase one with a domain name registrar website. Some examples of those websites are Domain.com, Namecheap, or one you might have even heard of – GoDaddy. Nevertheless, further research is recommended to research the domain names suitable for your budget, which we can support you with. However, keep in mind that domain names generally cost around £10 a year but can vary depending on the length and demand of the words used.
Tips to Find a Domain Name:
- Brainstorm ideas – Think of short words relating to your business that could be used, then make a list of these words.
- Combinations – Find the perfect combination of the words from the list that’s easy to remember.
- Length and Pronunciation – Make it short and easy to recall. The shorter, the better!
- Keywords and Suitability – Make sure it is relevant to your business. For example, if a company is called Buckinghamshire Designers, these keywords should be referenced in their domain name. They could use BucksDesigns.co.uk.
- Which extension? – Is your business a non-profit organisation or commercial? A UK-based charity would have the extension .org.uk, whereas a business in the UK would use .co.uk
- Is it taken? – Search around to see if the domain name you chose is available or already in use. For example, search for “available domain names.”
- Registered trademark? – Is the domain name you chose trademarked? You can check by searching for “search for a trademark”.
If you are ready to learn more about how we can help your business grow, then please do contact us.