When you are new to the idea of owning a website, then a lot of the terms that marketing experts will throw around can seem foreign to you. Most business owners have a strong independent streak in them that prevents them from asking questions and that only helps to compound the confusion. That is why it is always best to do research on the basics of owning a website before you make the commitment and there are few things more basic in owning a website than a domain and hosting.
Your website domain is the equivalent of the address of your business location. Without a domain, you do not have a website. The domain is the web address for your Internet presence and it is something that you purchase once and then update on an annual basis. Most website owners actually renew their website for several years at a time to help improve its standing in search engine results pages.
The other name for a domain is URL and it is made up of the name and top-level domain designation. For example, greatmarketing.com has a name of great marketing and a top-level domain designation of ".com." There is a variety of top-level domain designations to choose from and most marketers will tell you that buying as many top-level domains as possible will help to protect your website URL from anyone who may want to steal your web traffic by using a name that is similar to yours.
Hosting provides you with a place to put your website files where they can be seen by people who use the Internet. When you purchase a hosting account, you are purchasing space on a server that is connected directly to the Internet and has the proper designations to publish your site so that others can see it.
Hosting companies offer a variety of services such as email, security certificates, website building templates, and an FTP connection which allows you to upload large files quickly. Most hosting companies offer you the option of paying for your service on a monthly basis or annually. In most cases, the annual pricing is lower than the monthly rates.
When your website is hosted on a server with many other websites, you run the risk of Internet traffic shutting down the server and the possibility of losing all of your web data if the server crashes. Shared servers also tend to be limited on how much traffic they can accommodate and how fast the website can upload and download files.
Larger companies like to either lease dedicated servers, or put their own hosting servers online to run their websites. There is a registration process you have to go through to be able to run your own Internet hosting server, but it can be done and many private individuals host their own websites on their own web servers.
A good Internet marketing firm will evaluate your domain and hosting situations to see if any changes need to be made to maximize your website's exposure. It is important to note that every part of a website, from its domain name to the coding used to create each page, affects where the site shows up in the search engine results and how much traffic a website gets.