Learn the basics of websites and domains

September 20th, 2022 · by Domains Direct · 2 min read Domain, website, and hosting defined

Even if you’ve been using the internet for as long as you can remember, there’s a lot of new stuff to learn the first time you decide to set up your own website.

In this article we’ll cover basic but essential terms: domains, websites and hosting.

What’s the difference between a Domain (URL) and a Website?

Your domain, also known as your web address or URL (universal resource locator), is the unique address used to access your website. It's how people find you online. For example, "example.com". Your domain can include letters, numbers, and some punctuation marks.
When you register a domain, you are granted control over it for a year or more. Before that time ends, you’ll have the first right to renew your registration. In other words: as long as you want (and pay for) it, the domain will be yours.

Your website itself is what people see when they visit your domain. It’s a collection of linked web pages that can consist of text, images, videos, and forms that people can fill out, among other things. Most basic websites are created using a “content management system” (CMS) like WordPress.

Think of a domain as your home address, and a website as your house. Just like you need an address to find someone's house, you need a domain to find a specific website.

What about Hosting and Domains?

You’ll never see it, but somewhere there’ll be a computer, called a server, with your website (and many others) stored on it. When anyone visits your domain, the internet cleverly directs them to your server which sends them a copy of your website. This is web hosting.

If we can stretch the house analogy, hosting is all the infrastructure that your house needs to actually work like a house should - things like electricity, plumbing, and a rental agreement that lets you live there.

Putting it all together

These three jobs are on your to-do list:

  1. Register a domain
  2. Find a web hosting provider
  3. Start creating your website in a CMS

If you register your .nz domain with us, you’ll pay the lowest standard price in the country. That’s a great start!

There are many hosts to choose from, but we recommend our sister company MyHost, an NZ-based hosting company which is owned and operated by kiwis for kiwis. If you use the code DDWELCOME they’ll make your first 6 months’ hosting absolutely free!
With MyHost you can get WordPress up and running in a few clicks, or even sign up for a drag-and-drop Website Builder. You’ll be putting your new site together in no time.

After you sign up for hosting, you'll need to point your domain to your hosting provider. Once that’s done the Internet will know where to find your website and you’re ready to welcome visitors.

And there you have it - domains, websites and hosting demystified in one quick read. Ready to search for a domain? Scroll up, or head to our home page.

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