Understanding Domain Names, Email and Website Hosting

Web Design

Understanding Domain Names, Email and Website Hosting

by Organik
on June 15, 2015

3 minute read

Domain Names and Emails and Hosting, oh my!

When it comes to hosting your website, you’ve probably heard of ‘GoDaddy’ or ‘SquareSpace’, but what exactly do they do?

Let’s Break Website Hosting Down a Bit…

Here are some basic definitions of website hosting to help bring you up to speed and below is a helpful info-graphic that shows the flow between these elements.

Domain Name & Registrar:

Your domain name is your website’s address and is what people use to navigate to your site. It is simply the name of your website. The domain registrar is a service where you purchase and “register” your domain name(s) and is typically a yearly purchase.

  • To check if the domain name you want to buy is available, click here
  • To buy a domain name, check out NameCheap or GoDaddy. You should expect to pay about $10/year for a domain name

Website Hosting & Servers:

Hosting allows you to upload your website files onto a server. This is like paying rent for space on the internet, hence the word “host” and is typically a monthly payment. Hosting is considered the service, and their server is where your website files are actually stored.

Hosting and domain name registration services are similar to a monthly car payment and a yearly car registration payment.

  • For WordPress Managed Hosting we highly recommend WP Engine
  • If you do not have a WordPress website then check out SiteGround

DNS Settings:

DNS (Domain Name Servers) settings tell the domain name which hosting server to point to so that your domain name shows the correct website files. The DNS settings are configured within your domain registrar.

Email Hosting & MX Records:

Just like your website files, your email files have to be stored/hosted on the internet as well. You can get a professional email account (e.g., sales@yourdomainname.com) and it can be purchased through your domain registrar or email provider depending on what you use. When you host your email outside of your domain registrar, you assign the MX records (just like the DNS settings) in order to make sure the email domain points to the correct email hosting server.

Website Platforms & CMS:

How are you going to build your website? There are many different ways to build a website as there are so many different coding languages (e.g., HTML). The internet will decipher the code used and display the data correctly. If you are building a custom website, your web developer will choose the best way to build the site based on his/her experience. The main factor for you to consider is if the site will have a built-in CMS (content management system) where you can easily add/edit content and images, etc. If you are of the DIY type, there are platforms out there that provide easy-to-use templates so that you do not have to learn how to code. WordPress is one of the best options because it offers these pre-made templates as well as the ability for coders to customize.

Let’s Connect the Dots…

understanding hosting infographic













The above descriptions should hopefully bring new light into the meaning of ‘hosting’. If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “Best Practices When Launching a New Website.” Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today.


2 responses to “Understanding Domain Names, Email and Website Hosting

  1. I like your graphic. I was looking for something like it to explain to customers what happens to their email when their new webdesigner transfers the domain without paying attention to DNS.
    I would suggest you move the arrow from Domain Registrar to Email Host.
    It always goes to DNS Server first. Just move the arrow to go from DNS Settings to Email Host instead. Can I use your graphic to send to my confused customers 🙂 ?

    1. Hello Arnold,

      Thanks for the comment! You can use our image and I have sent you the revised version with the arrow pointing from DNS to email host. I hope this infographic is useful 🙂 – Christina

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