Domain Names and Web Hosting

domain namesEvery website has a domain name and web hosting. Anyone who has a dedicated website will incur the cost of both for as long as the website is published. By “dedicated” I mean a website that is yours, that you own, not a free website, blog page, or web pages located on someone else’s website.

DOMAIN NAMES

A domain name is the website address of your site. So, for instance, for http://www.google.com, the domain name is google.com. For box.net, the domain name is box.net. The .com or .net portion of the domain name is called the extension or the suffix. The most popular (and sought after) extension is .com. After .com, the most popular extensions are .net, .org (which is mostly used by non-profit organizations), .biz, and .info (used mostly for information sites rather than businesses). There are many more extensions, mostly by country, but these five are the most popular.

Domain names are registered with a domain name “registrar”. The registrar often handles web hosting as well, so it’s usually best to use the same company for your domain name and web hosting. You can go with a company like godaddy.com or register.com. But if your web designer also handles domain names and web hosting, your best bet is to go through your web designer as they can set up your accounts for you.

A domain name costs an average of $10 to $30 per year depending on the company you use and how long you register the domain name for. A longer registration period often means a lower price per year. You can register and pre-pay for a domain name on a yearly basis, for one year, or up to ten years. It’s best to go with a longer period; if you register for a shorter period and you forget to renew, you could lose the domain name and someone else can buy it.

One of the most important things to remember about registering a domain name is to make sure you are the registrant (the person who legally owns the domain name). Find out why and how in our blog titled “Domain Name Theft”.

WEB HOSTING

Your website’s files must reside somewhere in order to appear online, so they reside on servers. Servers are basically big, fast computers with lots of memory and space, much more than most people have available in their home or office computers. Web hosting is basically the renting of space on these servers, and the servers “host” your web files.

Web hosting is usually done through a web hosting company, which is often the same company that hosts your domain name. Hosting is usually prepaid for a year or more, up to five years, and can cost around $5 to $10 per month. As with domain names, you often pay less per year if you prepay for a longer period of time. If you forget to renew, the web hosting company will remove your files from their server and your website will no longer appear online. However, if you have copies of your website files, once you re-purchase web hosting you can upload the files to those servers and your website will be live again.

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