Time and time again we run into too many people getting web hosting and domain registration confused. Though the two are related they are two different things so it’s probably best to clearly explain what you get with each.
To register a domain name is to have the rights to control and use that specific domain name for a website. It’s not related to any of the content, products sold, or services rendered with that domain, but rather is a claim on the URL for that site. Without a domain name you would have to keep your files in temporary URL making your site seem impractical and unprofessional.
You may already know that several people own domain names without having any content on the site, this is practiced that has been extremely popular way of investing. Domain name owners will register a domain for an extended period of time and hope someone comes along before that to legally purchase the URL from them and make some profit.
It’s also possible, but extremely rare, that someone owns a URL but really has nothing to do with what goes on in the site. They may negotiate to receive a small compensation to rent the URL but they remain the owners.
Web hosting is really a set of several services. Web hosting service providers provide web servers to house the content of a website and handle e-mail for a domain name. Even though it sounds simple, it’s actually quite complex since web pages can be quite complex and require a lot of memory to transfer information and images onto the web user who has visited a specific page.
Web hosting is usually a lot more inexpensive than hosting in-house and whenever there are technical problems it is the service providers’ responsibility to fix the tech issue as soon as possible. It’s always simple to think of this as an apartment building. You pay rent to have a space in the apartment. Costs are low because they are spread over all of the apartments tenants and whenever something breaks or needs to be fixed like a plumbing or central heating it is responsibility of the landlord to fix it as soon as possible.
With several web hosting providers out there, clients have a lot of options and can build a website as small or as large as they’d like. However, the cost of hosting large sites goes up with added space and technical assistance that it may require such as what could occur in hosting large video files or audio files, or offering e-commerce functionality. Still with so many service providers out there, clients are finding that prices are going down and that more and more features are being offered as part of service packages. In essence, for someone just starting a website it’s becoming far more convenient to have your material hosted on the web by one of these service providers.