For a website to work and be available on the internet, it requires two extra major components. These are the Domain Name, and the Hosting (or server) that the website sits on.
It can be complicated because a lot of companies that build websites might offer packages that include all three parts as one product, but depending on the type of website, it can be incredibly important to make sure that the Domain Name and Hosting are fit for purpose. Sometimes it’s not a great idea to keep all your eggs in one basket by buying all three components from the same supplier.
This is the actual visual, interactive experience that your visitors or customers will see. The website is made up of a whole load of files; code, images, fonts, videos etc… It’s the job of the Web Server (Your hosting) and the Web Browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc…) to assemble all these files into the interactive experience that is seen when the site is being visited.
When you opened this blog post, you actually loaded 65 different files that were all used to piece together the page.
Essentially, a web server is just a computer, with a dedicated task of holding all the files that make up your website. When someone visits your website, their Web Browser requests the files, and you’re Hosting sends those files to the visitor as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Technically it’s possible to host your website from your own computer in your home, but it’s a terrible idea!
You’d need to make sure that the computer was running 24/7 and was powerful enough to do the job. You’d also need to guarantee that your internet connection never dropped out, and you’d be limited by the speeds that your broadband provides.
That’s why it’s a much better idea to use a computer that’s purpose built just to serve websites, and rent it from a company that can guarantee it’ll be online 24/7.
These days Web Hosting can be purchased very cheaply and set up very quickly. You just need to make sure that the Hosting will be powerful enough for your website. It’s always a good idea to get the opinion of professionals (like us) if you’re unsure about it.
The Domain Name
Ok now that we’ve built our website, and put all the files onto our Web Server, it’s all ready to go right?
Sure, if you want your visitors to enter some obscure set of numbers into their Browser.
Without a domain name, the only way to view your website is by entering the IP address of your Web Server, and sometimes even that may not work.
Luckily Domain Names allow you to create a memorable web address that points to your Web Hosting so that no-one has to remember any weird random numbers. Our’s is mjsmedia.co.uk (Which is a little more catchy than 188.8.131.52).
Domain names can do a lot more than just point people to your website though. It can be used for many other areas of your business including your emails.
On another note it's important to make sure that your domain name and hosting can work together to provide a secure HTTPS connection using an SSL Certificate, and you can learn all about that with the included post below.