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What is the Difference Between a Domain and Hosting?

Published by Michael Burdsall on February 15, 2023

For many business owners, the components of their website are a relative mystery. They know when they type in their URL in a browser, they expect the content of their website to appear. Many business owners are not aware that the two major components of their website are actually separate entities. In fact, they may not be purchased through the same provider. The two major components of a website are the URL, think of this as a physical address where the content of the website can be accessed. The second major component is the hosting of the website. This is where the content files of the website are stored and accessed when a user enters the web address (URL). 

The difference between a domain and hosting is that a domain is the physical address where the files are located. Hosting deals with the content files of the website. It is a service paid for which allows for server storage of files which are then accessed via the internet.

Let’s use the Results Guaranteed website as an example. The domain of our website is When this address is typed into a browser connected to the internet, that user will be directed to the contents of our website. However, it is possible to own a domain without owning hosting. This is referred to as a parked domain. 

In the Simplest Terms Possible

A domain is the website URL ( and hosting is the physical files and content of the website which appears when the URL is typed in (this article and color which is displayed on your screen).

Where Should I Purchase a Domain?

As mentioned above, you do not necessarily have to purchase your domain from the same provider which you purchase hosting. If you are a business owner who is a novice to managing a website, purchasing your domain and hosting from the same provider is a smart decision. This provides an additional level of visibility to support teams should you have issues while the website is active. Some of the most popular providers to purchase a domain from are GoDaddy, Google & NameCheap.

Where Should I Host My Website?

Where you host your website will be dependent upon the type of CMS, or content management system, which your website utilizes. For WordPress websites, such as this one, we recommend WPEngine for established businesses. WPEngine offers outstanding performance, support and back up which provide peace of mind. Other hosting providers include GoDaddy, BlueHost and Digital Ocean. Depending on the level of traffic to your website, the type of information being collected on your website and the CMS being used, all may affect the hosting provider which you should select. If you are unsure which hosting provider may be right for you, speak with a digital marketing agency about your needs and what you are looking to achieve and they should be able to push you in the right direction.

All-in-all it is important for business owners to understand the distinction between their domain and their hosting so they are not left with any surprises that result in website downtime. The domain of the website is the web address where the website files are accessed. Hosting is a service purchased allowing web administrators access to server space for their files to be accessed via the internet. Business owners should understand domains and hosting are separate purchases and ensure both are set to auto renew with subscriptions as long as possible to avoid any possible downtime.

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