Domains vs. Hosting vs. Website

Easy Analogy for Domains vs. Hosting vs. Website

This blog is written in direct response to the confusion our customers experience in understanding the weird and wonderful lingo of the internet. Hosting and domain names are different, but they work together to manage our websites. For an easy analogy, we’re going to compare domains, hosting, and websites to a physical address.

Let's start with true definitions.

Definition from The Tech Terms Dictionary

A domain name according to Tech Terms is a unique name that identifies a website. For example, our domain name is Each site has a unique name that serves as an address, used to access the website on the internet. Domains are cheap to purchase and usually cost around $15/year.

Definition from The Tech Terms Dictionary

A web host maintains multiple web servers and provides web hosting services for clients.  In order for a website to be accessed on the internet, its files must be hosted on a server space. A web host houses, serves, and maintains these files to show them publicly online. The files consist of code like HTML, JavaScript, CSS and more, as well as content like images and video.

Definition from The Tech Terms Dictionary

A website is a collection of web pages under a specific domain name. Web pages are typically written in HTML (hypertext markup language) and translated by our browsers to show web content created by an individual or company.

You already lost me.

I know, I know, but here’s where it will start to make sense. Let’s just forget all the technical words and think about them in terms of a physical location. Think of your domain name like your address. It’s gotta be unique so that others can find it, but not too crazy that it’s difficult to type in that address. Now, let’s think of hosting as all the belongings parked at that address. Hopefully there’s plenty of room for all your stuff. And now, because we need an object that can move around for this analogy to make sense, let’s think of your website as a mobile home. Right now, it’s parked at a specific address and all of your stuff is neatly held inside.
Wait, my domain is a what?
In other words, your website is a house, your domain name is your address, and your host is the property everything’s contained in. You can change domains (addresses), you can change hosting (the property), and you can even change your website (get a new home). For all of this to be accomplished, we need to be very careful to let search engines know what’s going on. Imagine changing your address but not forwarding your mail! We go through a redirect process in this case, where we tell search engines where your property was vs. where it goes now.

Hopefully this analogy makes a bit more sense of domains, hosting, and websites. If you have any other questions, we’d love to hear them! Please reach out and contact us.


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