Website Basics: Domain Names and Web Hosting

Welcome to the second tutorial in my WordPress series.  On Tuesday, I covered the differences between vs and briefly touched on domain names and web hosting.  I am sure some of you kind of stared at your screen blankly and were a little confused, and that’s okay!  It is quite common to get confused between a domain name with web hosting when you are first starting out. However, it is very important to know the differences between the two before you create your website.

Today I want to go over what a domain name and web hosting are, and clear a few things up so that you can walk away confident when you set up your own domain and hosting account.

Website Basics:  Domain Names and Web Hosting

To quickly simplify: think of your domain name like your home address and web hosting as the space of your house where you place your furniture.  Instead of street name, a set of words or numbers are used for the website’s name. The same goes for hosting – computer servers are used instead of wood and other materials for storing and processing data files.

Domain Name

So what is a domain name? Your domain name is whatever comes after the “www.” when you type your website into the URL bar.  Generally speaking, your domain name will be the same, or close to what your business or blog name is. By doing so, it will help people remember what your website is, as opposed to if you were to have something totally random.  So for example, my domain name is Writefully Simple and it appears as

Should I use .com, .net, or .org, .co, or .biz?

When you’re not 100% sure on the domain name for a particular website, what’s the first ending you try?  I’m willing to bet that you type in .com, correct?  When creating a domain name for your website .com is definitely the best choice for most people, because it’s the one that is most used.

What should you do when you go to purchase your domain name and .com is not available?  Well, there are a few things for you to consider:

  1. You can purchase a domain name with a different ending.
  2. You can re-think your brand name to something else, so you can have a domain name that matches your brand name.
  3. You can re-think your domain name so that it still makes sense with your brand and it’s easy for your readers to remember and identify that it’s still you.

How to Buy Your Domain Name

There are a ton of websites that sell domain names, and usually costs about $10-15/year.  A few companies that you can go through include Hostgator, Namecheap, and GoDaddy.  However, before you go running off to check if the domain name you want is available, you need to know that there is another way to purchase a domain name.

Purchasing a Domain + Hosting Package

You can actually purchase your domain name and web hosting together in one package, which is a great alternative for beginners.  If you purchase the two separately, there are a few things you will need to do in order to point your hosting to your new domain name when setting up your website.  This process can be quite confusing for some, and not a lot of fun if you are not very tech-savvy.

Web Hosting

Web hosting companies are what provide the storage space needed to keep your website up and running.  Like a domain name, it is usually purchased and will need to be renewed yearly in order to keep your website running. Besides being a place that holds your website, many web hosting companies also offer additional services that you can purchase, such as:

  1. Search-engine Boosting
  2. Security Management
  3. Emails
  4. Backups
  5. Domain Privacty

How to Buy Web Hosting?

There are literally hundreds of web hosting companies that you can choose from, including Digital OceanBluehost, Siteground.  By far, my favorite is Digital Ocean and it’s who I recommend for all my clients if they have not already their hosting set up.  Before you choose a company,  you are going to want to do your homework.  Be sure to compare costs and what is included in each package, be sure to read reviews, and ask around!  And by all means, do not just go with the cheapest option that you can find!  You know the old saying “you get what you pay for”, and this is so true when it comes to web hosting!

However, the one thing that I do recommend when you choose your hosting company is to go with a dedicated server over a shared server.  Most of the basic packages have several hundred websites on a single server.  This will result in your pages to load slower.  By placing your website on a dedicated hosting company your website will be the only website on a particular server.  This is incredibly beneficial, especially if you have a lot of content and have a lot of regular traffic to your website.

So, What’s Next?

Once a domain name and hosting have been purchased it is time to install the WordPress platform onto your new domain.  Based on what hosting company you decided to use, the process will be a little different when it comes to installing WordPress.  Be sure to check out their website for instructions and resource articles in order to help you through the process, and reach out to their customer service for help if you need it.

Once you have WordPress installed you are ready to start building a beautiful website!  So what’s next?  Finding the perfect WordPress theme so that you can start designing the website that you love!  Want some help with this?  Be sure to stick around for the next post!  Themes will be the next thing I will be covering in this WordPress tutorial series!  In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding domain names and hosting be sure to comment below so I can help you however I can!

Lindsay McNierney


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