What is Domain Name, Hosting and DNS?

Welcome to the bonus lesson of Free e-commerce course, in the last lesson I explained how to register a domain name for your website but seems people are confused about certain things….

If you are trying to understand How a website works and What is the difference between a Website and domain name, what is hosting, then it might be overwhelming at first. Let me break it for you in simple terms.


What is the difference between a domain name, website, URL, and what is a hosting server?

We all know many websites right… My website is RaghuSpeaks.com and here the domain name is raghuspeaks.com, it’s an address to identify the website. A website may have many pages, for example, my 100 day blogging challenge is located at https://raghuspeaks.com/100-day-blogging-challenge/ and my free e-commerce business is located at https://raghuspeaks.com/learn-ecommerce/, these specific pages are called as URL (Unique Resource Locator), because you use these URL’s to locate a specific resource such as 100 Day Blogging Challenge and Free e-commerce course.

If you consider the domain as a house, then URL’s are like to identify specific areas in a house such as the kitchen, living room etc.

A Website is a collection of files and databases built using many web languages and in order to view those files you need a software and your web browser (eg. chrome) is that software but those files are not present on your computer, they are located in a computer connected to the internet with a special setup and that computer is called as the web hosting server and you access the server using domain name.

To sum it up, a Website is a combination of files and databases (sometimes just files) written in web languages located on a web hosting server which can be accessed through a domain name and each specific pages/sections of a website can be accessed via a URL.

DNS (Domain Name Servers)

The Hosting server is identified by an IP address which looks like this and since we can’t remember the IP address of all websites, the concept of domain names came into place, which is easy to remember and also the IP’s may change from time to time. Domain names are like the name of a person and IP is the phone number of the person, the phone number may be changed but the person’s name remains the same.

However, you are not required to update the IP address of websites, whenever it changes. It is done by the Website owners using DNS (Domain Name Servers). Typically, when you input a website on your browser address bar, it sends a request to the nearest Domain Name Server, these servers are located all over the world and they have the mapping of websites to their IP and then your request is directed to the specific server and your website gets displayed.

If the website server is changed, the website owners change the DNS records to reflect the new IP address and the changes will get propagated to DNS Servers all over the world and you still get to visit your favorite website without any work from your end. This DNS Management is done by the website owners from their Domain Registrar or using other DNS Managers such as CloudFlare, Amazon Route 53 etc.

So, Now I hope you are clear about domains, hosting and DNS. In the next lesson, I’ll explain about how to register Hosting (and different types of hosting) for your website and alter your DNS records using CloudFlare to pair the hosting with your website.

Raghu Chinnannan

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