The difference between domain, hosting and website

Index

During the design phase of a website, two of the first basic steps you need to take are to register a domain and subscribe to a hosting plan. Domain and hosting are two indispensable elements for the birth of a site and often these two services are offered together, leading users to create confusion around these two terms, which are complementary but different from each other. In fact, hosting of site files and domain management, which is the most delicate and “dangerous” part to deal with because it also involves the transfer of mailboxes and a blackout of those mailboxes of at least 1 day for the customer, are related to the sale of a website.

Consequently, it is important to know the difference between three basic elements of a site’s architecture: domain, hosting, and the actual website.

Some main notions

Before defining these three elements, let us start with some notions:

  • A complete Internet address, such as https://www.agenziaspada.com is called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator or unique system for locating a computer resource)
  • The domain is the part of the Internet address that is after the https protocol.
Domain URL
  • So agenziaspada.com is one domain (the www, World Wide Web, to date is optional), agenziaspada.it is another domain
  • newsletter.agenziaspada.com is a subdomain of agenziaspada.com, specifically it is a third level domain (the first level is “.com”, the second is “.agenziaspada” the third is “.newsletter”)
  • Email boxes that have the same ending after the @ symbol are generally associated with a domain, and so for example the domain www.agenziaspada.com, will have emails associated with it such as [email protected]
  • Domains are registered in the name of companies or individuals through a procedure managed by a single entity at the national level, the Italian one for all .it domains being the NIC (the Italian Domain Registry). For .com domains, on the other hand, it is an American entity. We have to think that a domain is the equivalent of a house number, and just as we cannot arbitrarily name ourselves a house number but have to ask our municipality to assign it to us, in the same way we have to do with Internet domains, asking the NIC.
  • There are companies, better known than the NIC, called Registrars, who act as intermediaries for the NIC and provide complementary services, such as Aruba or Register.
DNS Sword

Domain, Hosting and Website: what they are

At this point you can define domain, hosting and website:

  1. The domain is the address at which the website is located. Thus, the services related to domain management are: DNS management and the creation and/or modification of e-mail boxes linked to the domain.
  2. Hosting is the service of maintaining a website’s files on a network server. Whoever manages the hosting is responsible for the speed and findability of those files (uptime)
  3. The website is the set of files that make up the pages that we can see by connecting to a domain and that are hosted on a certain network server (hosting). Whoever is responsible for the website (web master) will be able to make changes to the code, pages, plug-ins, and content (text, photos, videos, …) of the website.

These services can also be managed by three different companies, as in the case where the domain is managed directly by the client (by his or her IT department), the hosting by a specialized company, and the website by the web agency that was approached to create the website.

Spada Media Group, as a web agency, is able to offer all these 3 services in a complete and precise manner, while also giving its clients a personalized consulting service to resolve any issues that arose during or after the process.

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