Today I want to talk a little about what is a host and what is a domain registrar. I find many of my clients confuse the two.
Hosting vs. Domain Registration
When you start a website you need a host and you need a domain registrar.
Examples of domain names are pitchpublications.com, pitchclipsgraphics.com, target.com, kodaly.org, etc. You can have multiple domain names that go to the same website. One of my favorite customers often refers to me without the s (pitchpublication instead of pitchpublications) whenever she talks about it in Facebook groups. So I bought the name pitchpublication.com and redirected it to my main domain. That way people get to the right place! I own several variations of my domain name: pitch-publications.com, pitchpublication.com, etc. It’s not required, but something to think about.
Domain extensions (also called Top Level Domains or TLDs) are the parts that come after the . Examples:
Different domain extensions were created to show what kind of website it is.
- .com – commercial business
- .net – networks (such as email or internet service providers)
- .org – organizations (non-profits often use this but you don’t have to be non-profit)
- .ca, .uk, etc. – country-specific and are sometimes restricted to the residents of that country
There are no SEO (showing higher in google results) advantages on the technical side to a .com vs. .net (or other) address. The only advantage is that .com is the most popular for businesses so it might be the first one someone would try when typing straight into the browser.
Domain Registration – called a “domain registrar”
When you buy a domain name, you visit a site like Godaddy.com, Namecheap.com, namesilo.com, etc. These are examples of domain registrars. Search your domain name and $10-$20/year later you are the proud owner of a new domain name! It’s not often the world agrees on something, but everyone managed to agree that we should respect there should be ONE pitchpublications.com and that applies worldwide.
How confusing would it be if 10 people could register the same domain name? Luckily a group called the “ICANN organization” exists to make sure everything is running smoothly when obtaining a domain name. Businesses that register domain names (like GoDaddy) have contracts with ICANN to register you as the owner of that domain name world wide. What if the domain name you want is taken? You can reach out to the owner of the name and try to buy it or just keep an eye on it and hope they forget to renew! I have my eye on a few! I use https://dojo.webmaster.ninja/ to keep up with the status of them!
To recap today:
- Your website needs a domain name.
- Your domain can be a .com (most popular), .net, .org or many, many others!
- You may want to have additional domain names that lead to your website in case someone can’t remember your main domain name.
- A domain registrar (like GoDaddy, NameSilo, or Namecheap) is how you claim to the entire world that you own this domain name.