Web hosting and domain names for dummies

January 9, 2014 | Website Tips

Domain names = internet street signsIf you’re just about to build a website, your web designer might have spoken to you about hosting and domain names. If you’ve got absolutely no idea what these are, I’m here to break it down for you in really simple terms.


Web hosting – your little bit of internet real estate

When you buy hosting, it’s like buying a block of land. Somewhere in the world there is a really big computer that has enough space for lots and lots of files and folders. This is called a server. When you buy hosting, you are buying a certain amount of storage in that server, which is connected to the internet. It is on this little internet block of land that you can build your internet house – your very own website!


Domain names – your internet street signs

So, you’ve bought your block of land (your hosting), you’re building your house (your website), and you want to tell people how to get there. You need an address. This is where domain names come in. When you buy a domain name, you are giving your website an address. There are a bunch of different options like .com, and .net, but they all do the same thing. They help people find your website.


Your web hosting provider – your internet landlord

So where do you buy hosting from? There are a bunch of web hosting providers out there, and they act as a landlord, giving you access to the storage space on servers and handing out domain names. Most providers ‘rent’ this space to you on a yearly basis. Not all providers are created equal, and there are a range of pricing options from budget to deluxe, so it pays to do your research. Personally, I’m yet to find the provider that I’m 100% happy with, so it may take a bit of trial and error.


Price vs Quality

I see no problem with going for the absolute cheapest option when it comes to domain names (Crazy Domains is an option that springs to mind), however for hosting, it definitely pays to go up a level to save a ton of hassle in the future. I’ve heard good things about VentraIP Australia, Net Virtue and Net Origin as Australian-based providers, but I’ve yet to try them myself, so I’d definitely recommend asking around.


Hopefully you now have a better understanding of web hosting and domain names, and are ready to get started with setting up your very own website! Gidget Media offers a number of affordable website packages, so if you’re not quite ready to do it yourself, why not get Kate to do it for you!


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