Snappy, The HostGator Mascot

Gator Crossing

The Official HostGator Company Blog!

Dragonfly
AirPlane

Domains & Hosting, Metaphorically Speaking

Written by Christopher Wallace

Friday, July 12th, 2013

A topic that seems to generate a fair amount of confusion among those new to building websites is that of domain registration, web hosting, and the difference between the two. One of the best ways to effectively explain the difference is by using analogies.  This is especially true because in today’s society, there seem to be two groups — “techies” and everyone else. If you are a techie, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. My goal is that after reading this page, you’ll feel competent and comfortable enough to discuss these topics with a techie and feel like you’re on the same page.

 

infogram

Domains are Television Shows?

A domain is like the name of a television show. Every show on TV has a different (unique) name. Imagine the confusion that would result if this were not the case [Related Article: Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name]. A website is like the show itself. All the files, text, code, graphics, etc. that make up a website are like the props, sets, actors, lighting, sound, etc. that comprise a TV show. Before a show goes into production, it is just a name, or concept. You can register a domain and choose not to create a website, although you may have grand ideas or a general concept of the kind of website you’d like for your domain to have someday. A hosting provider is like a network that provides studio space (disk space on a server) for the show (website) and also broadcasts it into people’s homes (like when visitors view your site in a browser).

 

Web Hosting is an Art Store?

Another way to look at web hosting is that it is similar to an art store. An art store provides you paint, brushes, canvases, and other tools you need to paint a masterpiece, however the art store does not create the actual painting for you. You purchase the tools you want to use from the art store, and then use those tools to build your website. Or hire a painter to paint a picture for you.

Similarly, a web hosting company like HostGator, provides you with a variety of tools that you can use to build your website, such as a server and web space where you can upload your files, control panels that make it easy to configure your hosting account, and even provides the ability to install scripts like WordPress, or use one of our many site building solutions. However, the web host does not actually create your website. You can choose to build it yourself using the complimentary tools provided, or hire a web designer to develop your site for you.

We specialize in providing the tools you need to build your website. But just like an art store, HostGator does not actually build the site for you. This is your creative space, allowing you to build the site of your dreams, any way you choose with the tools provided (and of course, you can always provide your own).

 

A Word on Domain Registration

Let’s get a little more in-depth now. First we’ll take a closer look at domain registration. You can register a domain name at any domain registrar and then host it with HostGator. This is because domain registration and web hosting are two totally different things (just like a TV show’s name and its network are two entirely different things, although they do work together).  To host a domain that is registered elsewhere with HostGator, all that needs to occur is the updating of what are called nameservers.  Nameservers tell your browser not only which hosting company (TV network) a domain (TV show) is with, but also which server (think of a big broadcasting antenna) it is located on.

When you sign up for web hosting with HostGator, we send you our Welcome Email. This email contains, among other items, the nameservers for your hosting package. You’ll need to log into your account with your domain registrar and update the generic or predefined nameservers already there with the ones that we sent you in the Welcome Email. HostGator has produced video tutorials to assist you with updating nameservers at many of the major registrars. If your particular registrar isn’t listed, I recommend watching two or three of these videos anyway to get the general idea of how the procedure works:

HostGator Video Tutorials – Managing Your Domain With Another Registrar

Now let’s move on to hosting. Assuming you already have a registered domain, you now either 1) wish to build a website (or have one built for you by a designer) or 2) have a functioning website.  You will need hosting 1) for the disk space that the website files will reside on and 2) so that the website can be transmitted to visitor’s browsers or phones.

 

Hosting Packages are Swimming Pools?  Why Not?!

We have various types of hosting packages available.  In sticking with our analogy theme, here they are explained via a swimming pool metaphor:

How Do I Choose Which Hosting Plan Is Right for Me?

No matter which pool is right for you, happy swimming!  Um, happy art-making?  Happy television show production?  Happy hosting!

Posted in

Web and Hosting Tips
Comments

13 Responses to Domains & Hosting, Metaphorically Speaking

  1. jocurirec says:

    I don’t know if this is the proper place to ask but I will ask here: If I want to transfer some of my domains (~30 domains) from another registrar to Hostgator, I need to pay something, for transfer? Thank you.

    • HostGator says:

      There is a fee to transfer the registry of domains, however an additional year is added on to your registration period at the tine of transfer. To get started, please go to the following URL and click on “Transfer Domain” in the upper right-hand corner of the page: https://register.hostgator.com/

    • Seth.D says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s free, although that might have changed since the last time I checked (3~ years ago).

  2. karim says:

    خرید و فروش http://www.azishop.ir

  3. apfwebs says:

    Hosting is the rooms of the house, and its furniture. Domains are the street address.

  4. sleeva says:

    I am quite impressive from this blog I like you contact it is different from all blog I like your blog so much.

  5. ian gomez says:

    hi, can i let somebody pay for me? if so,how? (purchasing domain name, billing). I am planning to have a custom domain in blogger on an existing free blog (blogspot), how do i do it with HostGator?

    • HostGator says:

      In order to avoid fraud and such, this is a delicate question. However,
      it is possible for someone else to pay for you, although we may
      ultimately require additional documentation from you/them prior to
      actually activating your account. You may want to join us in LiveChat
      so that we can further elaborate on this, if necessary.

  6. RadioAirplay Radioairplaynow says:

    Great Hosting page. Thanks from The http://www.radioairplaynow.net/

  7. RadioAirplay Radioairplaynow says:
  8. Love this comparison guys, well done!

  9. Natura Medspa says:

    Great metaphors! This can be difficult to explain to some people.

  10. You made some good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.
    I am a graphics designer and I am working on photoshop Clipping Path & my company is providing Clipping Path Service , Visit My Website Now :)

qwaszxerdfcv3.14 | 1776zxasqw!!