It is not just a web newcomer who is being confused when trying to register the domain name, soon to find out that there are differences between domain name registrar, domain name registry and domain name web hosting. In the nutshell the things are quite simple and straightforward however many companies have multiple services offered including domain name registrar and web site hosting thus adding to the confusion.
Domain Name Registry
This is the top level registry service where all the domains belonging to top level extension (COM or NET for example) are being registered. In the today’s Internet we are seeing two major modes of operation of top level domain registry; thick and thin mode. Thick registry is for example ORG registry – thick means that the registry does hold all the domain names of the top level ORG including registrant information and contact data, it is all being held on the same one point access registry. Thin on the other hand are COM and NET – thin means that there are only rudimentary information (like expiration and creation date) being held by the registry and a pointer to the registrar holding rest of the information including registrant information and contact data. In the layman terms – as a domain owner you do not need to concern yourself about top level domain registry at all.
Domain Name Registrar
There are many domain name registrars present in the Internet space. Domain name registrar is a company providing service of domain name registration to its registrants. It actually does lease a domain name to the registrant on the period from one to ten years for a registration fee. Registrars are paying top level domain registry nominal annual fee for each registration (for COM and NET domains top level domain registry is Verisign) and are adding operating costs plus profit on this price thus forming the price of the annual fee to their end users aka registrants. Since the competition is fierce the prices you can as a domain owner get are ranging from US $10 to the astronomical US $20 per year. We at Vastus Domains are using GoDaddy registrar exclusively and once you purchase domain name from us you can enjoy great annual renewal prices of US $12 and less. In the layman terms – as a domain owner you should explore your options and choose the registrar you are most comfortable with, take the price of registration renewal, customer support and ease of setup into account.
Domain Name Hosting
Domain name is registered with domain name registrar who only does point domain name to a specific place (server) where your pages and data do actually reside. This specific place is your hosting provider. Web hosting is a service provided by companies where they have your data, be it a web page or email, stored on their server hardware and served to the visitors. The latest marketing buzz in the hosting world is the cloud services and the most used type of hosting is shared hosting where many small websites reside on one large server sharing its resources. Hosting expenses are normally calculated on a monthly basis and they include different metrics like processor power, bandwidth and data storage space. It is not easy to choose the right hosting for your needs so you need to make your research before you jump in. For hosting provider to be good, it has to be affordable, have good reach from different geographic locations (or not, depending if you are on to the local traffic this is not an issue) have a good up-time or more importantly short down-time (it is better to choose the hosting which can handle problems quickly when happened than to choose hosting with 99% up-time guarantee and have your server down for 12h until they fix that 1% problem). In the layman terms – hosting is much more important service you need for your web site than registrar so choose carefully and explore your options first.
Domain Name Servers
This is the link between where your domain name is registered and where your actual web site data lies. Domain Name Servers are updated by the registrar to point your web site name resolution to the hosting you are using. Every registrar has a panel where you can set domain name servers to the ones you are using.
- Domain name registrar is the place where your domain name is registered
- Domain name registrar points to your web site hosting using domain name servers
- Domain name hosting is the place where your data is being held
- Registrar and web hosting have nothing in common although there are many companies providing both
- You can have your domain name registered with one company and hosting it with another