A Domain Name... what is that?!
The word domain, often sends waves of fear through many clients who don't have any idea what is involved in a website. A domain name is an essential part of the web site. Well, you can't really have a web site, unless you know the domain name or "IP address". It can be thought of as your phone number that connects someone to you on the phone. When someone types in a www.ireallylikethiswebsite.com, they are actually typing in a substitute for an IP address such as 188.8.131.52. This is a number that plots where the location of the server is that is "holding" your web site files. So in simple terms, it just connects you to your web site. A domain name that doesn't connect anywhere is useless.
I already have hosting... it is called www...
Many businesses who do not have a website are often taken advantage of by web development companies. Domain Name registration and hosting can range from $120 - $250 PER YEAR. (And FREE hosting sites are really...really not the way to go).
Hosting is the "cyber space" where your web site files reside. Basically, it’s a powerful computer hard drive at a company that holds yours, and other businesses', web site files. These servers are specifically made to process high-demand calls of these files to multiple users. These hosting companies can be very specialized and provide certain operating systems to utilize for specific uses. It is best for you to consult your web programmer or advertising agency on the best hosting package to suit your needs.
Connecting the two
Some web hosting companies offer free domain names with their web hosting packages. I would not recommend this option, because you are not the one managing the domain name, they are. If you want to switch hosting companies at any time, there are almost always complications transferring the domain name. Also, if you own multiple domain names, it’s easiest to manage them under one domain registrar. Since web hosting and domain names are two separate entities, it just makes sense to keep them separate.
Now what happens once you purchase a domain name and you find a hosting company that has all the necessary features you need? Well, a programmer will have to tell the domain name where to find the files. This is done will by giving the domain a nameserver address to go to. And voila...your site is on-line and ready to be visited by the rest of the world... after the 12-24 hour propagation period of course. We can talk about that more later.