Web hosting vs domain hosting

What is the difference between Web hosting and Domain hosting?

I once read a brilliant analogy which helped me not only remember the difference but also explain it to others.

House outlineLet’s compare your website to your home. And let’s say you are having a party and you’ve invited several people to your place. You’ve given them your address – which is the location that they will find your house at.

Your website is also located at an address, and that address that you’ve given people to help find your website is your domain name. When you type in that address, it takes you to a place where you can view your website.

In this analogy, your domain name IS your street address.

Going back to your house – an address in itself doesn’t mean anything – you could give someone an address that takes them to an empty plot, or some wasteland. In a similar vein, you can give someone a domain address to visit, but unless you have hosting they won’t see anything.

In this analogy, web hosting IS the house.

You need a house to be able to see the furniture and decoration inside, just like you need hosting to be able to see the content of a website.

Let’s break this down a bit more so we can understand how web hosting works. When you buy a domain name, you’ll notice that when you type in the address in your browser that it takes you to either a blank screen or a site that might say something like ‘this domain is parked’.

If you then buy web hosting separately and upload your website to the hosts server, you can’t view your website online – until you POINT your domain name to your web host.

It took me awhile to understand the difference, and even longer to work out how to explain it to others without their eyes glazing over. Hopefully this will help you!

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