What are domain names and hosting, and why does my website need them?

Let’s talk about domain names and hosting providers. What are they and why do you need them? As I have done this research myself and encountered questions from clients, I thought it would be a good idea to write about the first steps of creating a website. 

Domain Registrar

Domains are your business’ online addresses. Users can access your website by typing its URL into the search bar. For example, gracejan.com. One of the cool things about the domain address is you get to choose the name! 

 A few valuable tips when choosing a domain name: 

  • Research your domain on Google
  • Try to register a .com (it’s the most recognized)
  • Keep it short; no one likes to type a lot of letters into a search bar. 
  • Keep it simple.
  • Avoid hyphens.
  • Make it easy to pronounce and spell

Once you’ve chosen your company name, head over to Namecheap and enter the domain name into the search bar to find out if it’s available. Namecheap has some incredible sales, and even the regular prices are as low as $7/year CAD, not to mention the incredible customer service. They have a great search feature that will suggest alternate domain names if the one you want is taken. As your domain registrar, Namecheap is a win-win.

Pro Tip: You should always register your domain name in your company's name, along with your contact information.

Pro Tip: You should always register your domain name in your company’s name, along with your contact information. This can be done by a web designer or developer, but make sure that all information is listed under your name. If you allow a web developer to register your domain name under their design business, this presents a problem. In the event that your web developer disappears, what would you do? What if the company goes out of  business? How will you reclaim the domain name from them? It is a long and difficult process to regain your domain name if this happens.

If, for example, your domain name is up for renewal, and your web developer has disappeared, then you are at risk of losing the domain name altogether. Why? Because if you can’t get it sorted out in time, then you’ll miss the chance to renew your domain name and someone could snap it up.

Domain names are valuable assets for businesses. They are your digital stronghold. The online presence of a company has become more and more popular in recent years as customers go there to find you. It’s important to keep that in mind. Don’t lose control of it.

Hosting Provider

Next, you will need a place to host all your website files and images, similar to a SIM card for a cell phone. Without a home for these files and images, they would just sit on your computer, unnoticed. A hosting service is simply a way for your business to rent physical space online, similar to how you might rent a physical store. Canadian Web Hosting is a reliable hosting provider with affordable prices, some as low as $4/month, and has exceptional customer service.

Is it possible to have a domain and hosting company that are different?

Yes, you can buy a domain name and hosting package from different providers and link them so the website appears online. The hosting company and domain name provider will provide you with a control panel to  manage your domain or hosting account. I personally prefer this approach as the best way for a few reasons:

  • Added security in case of a possible hack into your account; it only will affect one account.
  • Register several domains in one place.
  • If you are unhappy with one of your providers, you can always leave and find a new one without the hassle of moving both hosting & domain providers.

Hopefully, I have demystified setting up a domain and hosting account and now all you need is a website to show your talents! 

Don’t forget I’m always here to help you build a website that meets your needs! Contact me to get started or if you have any other questions.



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