What is the difference between a website and a domain?

Do you know the difference between a website and a domain? Are you ready to take the plunge and get your small business online? If you’ve never had an internet presence before, you might run across some unfamiliar terminology in the process of creating your website. Therefore, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics so that you know what you need and how everything works. 

To launch your business onto the world wide web, you’ll need three things – a domain, a website, and a web host. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

What is a website domain?

A domain is like a street address for your website – it guides other computers to where your site resides on the web. Computers communicate using IP addresses, which are long strings of numbers that look like this: 123.456.78.910. However, these aren’t very user-friendly for people. Imagine asking for directions to McDonald’s main Auckland restaurant and being told to go to 36.8504° S, 174.7649° E. Instead, you’d find it much easier to look for 280 Queen Street. Similarly, domain names provide easily memorable website addresses that computers convert to the IP addresses they need to send the user to the right place.

A domain gives you your website’s URL – it’s the bit that fits between www and .co.nz. You can choose any domain name that hasn’t already been taken and, for an annual fee, buy the right to use it indefinitely. You can choose whether to get the .com version, the .co.nz or .kiwi version, or any other number of other extensions. It’s a good idea to buy all the common extensions for your domain, or at least those relevant to the markets that you might want to expand into in the future (such as .com.au or .co.uk). If someone already has the domain name you want, we have an article explaining how you might be able to obtain it. 

You can have a domain without a website, but you can’t have a website without a domain.

What is a website?

As an end-user, you’ll be very familiar with websites. They’re a collection of files that display as pages in a web browser (such as Google), allowing you to see information, consume multimedia, and perform transactions. What you can’t see is that, behind the scenes, a website is thousands of lines of code and associated media files, such as photos, music, and videos. The code tells the web browser how to interpret the images and text. It also controls how the website functions, such as how it scales to different sized screens, how it displays the media, and how fast the pages load. 

Once you have a domain and a website, you need a web host.

What is a web host?

A web host is where your website lives. The host stores your website’s files on their server and, when someone uses your URL in a browser to view your website, it serves your files to that browser. The quality of your web host can have a big effect on your website’s performance, so it’s important to select a plan with enough storage, data, and monthly page views to meet your needs.

In summary, a domain directs a browser to where your website is hosted, and when your web host receives that request, it shows your website to the user. 

Moreweb can help you with all three of these elements. We can supply you with a domain name, help you create your website, and provide top-quality hosting. Get in touch today to find out more.