There can be a lot of tiny working parts that make up how the internet and your website work with each other. Spending the time to understand it all seems more trouble than it’s worth. If you aren’t building the website yourself, why bother? But, taking the time to learn just a few things will really help you in the long run. Just by having a grasp of the basics will help you convey any issues you might have through the development process and beyond.
The basic essentials to know are URL, domain, and hosting. We want to cover the most necessary parts of each of these. Between them, there are slight but important differences that we’ve noticed can be a little confusing.
URL and Domain
Often people consider the URL and domains to be the same thing. But this is far from the case. While they are related to one another and both provide SEO potential, they serve different purposes for your website.
A URL (uniform resource locator) is the full web address that you’ll see whenever you visit a website. It does contain the domain but its main purpose is to be a locator to a certain file on the internet. It’s the container for the information that makes up that web address. URLs also play a role in ranking when it comes to SEO. When creating a URL make sure it’s something easy for both people and computers to read to give your SEO a little boost. The URL includes everything that would follow your domain, usually after a backslash: (www.domain.com/url-title-here)
Creating and registering a domain is the first step to making a website. The domain name is the part of the URL that is that website’s IP address. An IP address is really just where a website is located on the internet. Since computers only talk in a series of numbers the domain reformats those numbers into something far more memorable than just a jumble of numbers. Creating a memorable URL has an added benefit of marketing perks and the beginnings of your keywords for SEO.
Web hosting refers to the very large computers known as servers on which people store their website. They act as a storage facility for everything website based that holds all the coding and multimedia files which make up a website. Web hosting also refers to the companies that provide and rent out servers. It’s very common that companies sell both domains and web hosting but they are not to be confused with one another as they are separate services.
Email files, like web files, need to be stored somewhere. But, they can’t be used by the same server as web files, the two work off different protocols. So you’ll need to get an email hosting service if you want an email that’s attached. Often, the same company that provides web hosting services will also provide email hosting. If you find yourself in a pickle, Gmail and Office365 usually have ways of incorporating your domain into their servers for a professional setup. If you need help figuring this out, reach out to us!
The House Analogy
Now that we’ve separated all of that information it’s time to put it back together and see where they all work with each other. A common visualization of this is a house. Your address is your domain name, the house is the web host, all the furniture inside are data files.
So now with your new found knowledge of the internet and how it works with websites, you’re even more prepared to launch and manage your website. If you want to further your knowledge, take a look at some of our other posts! They might answer questions you never knew you had.