What Is Domain Hosting and How Does It Work?

Without the convenience of a domain name, finding the desired website becomes a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. Imagine sifting through a sea of numbers, trying to match the right IP address to the website you’re looking for. Luckily, there are solutions that can simplify this process and make your browsing experience much more efficient.

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Domain registrars are companies that offer domain hosting services. These companies allow customers to register a unique name for their website and provide them with web space to store and publish their content.

Many also offer additional services such as email address setup and DNS management. This article explains all about domain hosting and the steps for setting it up.

Check out the best Domain Hosting Providers

Key Highlights

  • Domain hosting refers to the process of storing and managing a website’s domain name on a server to make it accessible on the internet
  • Domain hosting involves domain registration, DNS management, and connecting the domain to a hosting account
  • Domain hosting is essential for establishing an online presence and ensuring that your website is accessible to visitors
  • There are different types of domain hosting, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting, each offering varying levels of resources and control
  • Choosing a reliable and reputable domain hosting provider is crucial for website performance, security, and customer support
  • Consider factors such as pricing, features, reliability, and customer support when selecting a domain hosting provider
  • Proper configuration and management of domain hosting ensure that your website remains accessible and functional to visitors

Key Components of Domain Hosting

The domain hosting process has several key components. They are as follows.

Domain Registration

You’ll need to choose your preferred domain(such as www.yourwebsite.com), and the domain name must be available. You can check the availability of a domain name using the domain name checker tool at domain.com or namecheap.com.

After confirming the availability of your preferred domain, the next step is to purchase it from a domain registrar like Namecheap or GoDaddy. Domain names vary in price (depending on the keyword, length, and industry) but they generally start at $2/month.

DNS (Domain Name System) Management

When you type a domain name into your browser’s address bar and hit enter, the DNS translates the domain name to its corresponding IP address, which it then uses to locate the website you intend to visit.

Most domain hosting providers allow you to manage your site’s DNS settings. This includes configuring name servers, adding DNS records (such as A records and CNAME records), and updating DNS information when necessary.

Name Servers

Name servers are computers that handle DNS requests and maintain DNS records for a domain. They are responsible for translating domain names into the corresponding IP addresses, which enables web browsers to locate and load websites.

Most domain providers include a domain manager where you can set up and manage the appropriate name servers for your domain. Fail to configure it properly, and users will not be able to access your website.

DNS Propagation

When changes are made to DNS settings (such as updating name servers or adding/modifying DNS records), it takes some time for these changes to propagate across the internet.

DNS propagation refers to the time it takes for the updated DNS information to be distributed and recognized by DNS servers worldwide. During this period, some users may see the old DNS information, while others see the updated information.

Domain Redirects and Forwarding

Domain hosting allows you to set up redirects and forwarding for your domain. Both of these are important for maintaining a working domain, but they’re actually very different from one another.

Difference Between Redirects and Forwarding

Redirects automatically send visitors from one URL to another. It’s often used when you change your website’s URL structure or move to a new domain. They ensure that the old links do not break.

Forwarding, on the other hand, forwards visitors from one domain to another without changing the URL in the browser’s address bar. Forwarding works best when you want to link related information.

Domain Privacy

Most hosting providers offer domain privacy features that protect your personal information (such as name, address, and contact details) from being publicly accessible in the WHOIS database.

These domain privacy features help in preventing unwanted solicitations and potential privacy risks. It also helps to prevent spam emails, spam calls, and unwanted traffic.

Final: What is Domain Hosting

Choosing a Domain Hosting Provider

There are thousands of active domain hosting providers. To make the right choice, you need to look for the right things. Below are important factors to consider when choosing a domain hosting provider for your website.

Reliability and Uptime

Website uptime refers to how long a website or web service is available to users in a given period. Uptime is represented as a ratio of the time available divided by the total time. Although 100% uptime is the goal, the industry considers 99.999% uptime as high availability.

Look for a domain hosting provider with a reputation for reliability and high uptime. Your website should be accessible to visitors consistently without frequent downtime. The less downtime your website suffers, the best it ranks on search engine results (uptime is a huge SEO  metric).

Performance and Speed

The faster your website’s load time is, the happier your visitors will be. Fast load time leads to improvements in user experience (UX), conversion rates, and ultimately, sales revenue. But oftentimes, your website’s sluggishness is caused by the web host, and not the content of your website.

When choosing a host, consider the hosting provider’s infrastructure and technologies used to ensure optimal performance and fast loading times for your website. Look for features like SSD storage, caching mechanisms, and content delivery networks (CDNs).

Scalability

Scalability refers to your website’s capacity to allocate resources on demand, which leads to efficient use of resources. During peak traffic, the host allocates more resources and scales back when the traffic drops.

Before committing to any domain hosting provider, you need to assess the scalability options offered by the hosting provider. As your website grows, you may need to upgrade your hosting plan or add resources. Ensure that the hosting provider can accommodate your future needs seamlessly.

Security Measures

In recent times, we have seen an upsurge in cybercrime, and interest in cybercrime has spiked by as much as 87% in 2022. This underscores the need for security features that conform to modern security standards.

When choosing a host, you need to check for robust security features such as SSL certificates, firewalls, malware scanning, and regular backups.  The hosting provider should have measures in place to protect your website and data from threats.

Customer Support

Customer support is how you connect with your hosting provider when you’re in need of assistance. This can be via direct communication or by consuming some of their tutorials or user guide.

Look for a hosting provider that offers reliable and responsive customer support. They should be available through various channels (e.g., live chat, email, phone) and provide prompt assistance in case of any issues or technical difficulties.

Pricing and Plans

Most domain hosting providers offer various plans at different prices. This makes it easy for prospective customers to choose the perfect plan for their budget.

When choosing a host, compare the pricing and plans offered by different hosting providers. Consider the features included in each plan and choose based on your budget. Be cautious of extremely low-cost options that may compromise on performance or support.

Control Panel and User-Friendly Interface

A control panel is a dashboard for managing your website. It allows you to:

  • Manage your hosting package and domain names
  • Install software and applications
  • Install and manage databases as well as email accounts
  • Upload and manage website files
  • Monitor the usage of server resources
  • Create backups, among other things

When choosing a host, you need to assess the control panel provided by the hosting provider. A user-friendly interface and intuitive control panel can make it easier to manage your domain, set up email accounts, and perform other administrative tasks.

Reputation and Reviews

The best way to assess the quality of a hosting provider is by going through their customer’s reviews. Ensure that your chosen domain hosting provider has a solid reputation, or else you could end up stuck with mediocre service.

Devote your time to researching the reputation and reviews of the hosting provider. Look for feedback from current or past customers to gauge their satisfaction level with the services provided.

Additional Features

Make sure you consider any additional features offered by the hosting provider, such as one-click installations for popular platforms, website builders, domain management tools, or email hosting options.

Room for Growth

It’s hard to predict how well your website will do, especially at the start. So, to be on the safe side, you need to consider the domain hosting providers that offer you room for growth.

When choosing a host, consider the hosting provider’s ability to accommodate the growth of your website. Ensure they offer upgrade options or have higher-tier plans that can cater to increased traffic or resource requirements.

Steps to Set Up Domain Hosting

Now that we’ve covered the factors to consider when choosing a domain provider, let’s walk you through the steps for setting up a  domain hosting.

  1. Choose a Domain Hosting Provider

First, you need to research deeply to find the best domain hosting provider for you. A simple Google search will give you a list of the most reliable hosts to pick from. We recommend that you read customer reviews about each domain host you find.

Look out for common complaints and use them to guide your decision. Be sure to select a reliable domain hosting provider that meets your requirements in terms of features, performance, support, and pricing.

  1. Register a Domain Name

Once you’ve settled with a domain provider, the next step would be to register a domain name with them. The process is usually straightforward, but you might run into issues when attempting to make a payment.

To be on the safe side, we recommend getting a Visa or Mastercard because most domain providers support both of them. PayPal is also supported by most providers, though less common than credit cards. Ensure the domain name is unique and aligns with your website’s branding and purpose.

  1. Set Up DNS Configuration

After purchasing your domain name, you need to set up the DNS configuration. You can do this by accessing your domain hosting provider’s control panel or DNS management interface.

Once there, you must update the domain’s DNS settings to point to the appropriate name servers provided by your hosting provider. This step is crucial for connecting your domain with the hosting server. Failure to properly configure your DNS will result in problems.

  1. Create a Hosting Account

A domain name is an identifier for the website. But the website’s content (script, images, files, and so on) must be hosted on a web server so it can be accessed via the internet.

This means you’ll need a hosting account. Most domain registrars also provide hosting services; your chosen provider most likely offers hosting services as well. Sign up for a hosting account and choose the appropriate hosting plan based on your website’s needs and budget.

  1. Configure Domain in Hosting Account

After you have uploaded the website files and scripts to your web host, you need to connect the domain so that users can access your website over the internet.

Within your hosting account, look for options to add or manage domains. Add your registered domain to your hosting account and associate it with the appropriate website directory or folder.

  1. Install and Set Up the Website

Depending on your hosting provider, you may have access to one-click installation options for popular website platforms like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. Use these tools to install and set up your website.

Alternatively, manually upload your website files to the hosting server. Typically, this is the method you’d use if you coded the website by yourself using web development languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  1. Set Up Email Accounts

If you’re running a website that requires interacting with users/customers, then you’ll need one or more email accounts. This allows you to send and receive emails using your custom domain-based email accounts.

If your hosting provider offers email hosting, you can set up custom email accounts using your domain name (e.g., [email protected]). Configure email settings, including mailboxes, forwarders, and spam filters, as needed.

  1. Test Website Accessibility

A large portion of your website’s visitors will have some form of disability, a lot of which might be visual. You need to ensure that your website’s users (and everyone else) are able to easily access your information.

Here are some tips for improving accessibility:

  • Make sure all your images have an alt text
  • Ensure your site’s text are easily readable
  • Design your forms so they can be used by everyone
  • Make sure your site is fully navigable via the keyboard
  • Don’t only use color to portray information
  • Make sure all interactable elements are easy to identify
Explore 10 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Website’s Accessibility
  1. Secure Your Website

Hackers can not only steal customer information from your site but also install viruses on your server to run harmful scripts. This is why you need to take the necessary steps to safeguard your website from hackers.

Implement necessary security measures such as enabling SSL certificates and setting up firewalls. Don’t forget to carry out regular backups so you have access to a working version of your site at all times.

Monitor and Maintain

It doesn’t just all end at implementation. You also have to regularly monitor your website’s performance, security, and updates. This makes it easy for you to identify vulnerabilities, drops in performance, speed issues, and other potential problems.

Keep an eye on website analytics and metrics to identify areas for improvement and take necessary actions to ensure smooth operation. Most hosting providers provide you with these metrics on their dashboards right off the bat.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Final: What is Domain Hosting

It’s common to encounter problems when purchasing your domain, configuring the domain, or connecting it with your web host. Let’s take a look at some of these issues.

DNS Issues

DNS-related problems can cause website inaccessibility or misdirection. In this case, your website either doesn’t load or loads but shows the wrong content.

To solve the problem, you need to verify that your domain’s DNS settings are correctly configured. Check the name servers, DNS records, and ensure proper propagation of changes.

DNS Propagation Delays

DNS propagation can take time, usually up to 48 hours, for DNS changes to propagate worldwide. This is something to keep in mind as you wait for your domain to activate.

If you recently updated your DNS settings or switched hosting providers, be patient and wait for propagation to complete before expecting changes to take effect universally.

Email Delivery Problems

Email delivery problems are quite common among websites. It can happen to you regardless of whether you coded the site from scratch or used an existing framework like WordPress or Wix.

If you are experiencing issues with sending or receiving emails associated with your domain, check your email account settings, including incoming/outgoing server details, authentication settings, and spam filters. Ensure that your hosting provider’s email servers are properly configured.

SSL Certificate Errors

SSL certificates use advanced cryptography to encrypt data sent between client and server, which helps to prevent data breaches. SSL certificate issues can result in security warnings or “not secure” warnings in web browsers.

Make sure your SSL certificate is valid and properly installed. Check for any certificate expiration, certificate chain issues, or incorrect configuration. It helps to purchase your certificates from trusted certificate authorities (CA)

Website Speed and Performance

Slow website loading times can be caused by various factors, such as large file sizes, inefficient coding, server congestion, or lack of caching. This results in poor user experience which negatively affects your website’s SEO ranking.

You can optimize your website’s performance by compressing images, minifying code, implementing caching mechanisms, and upgrading to a higher-tier hosting plan if needed.

Security Breaches

If your website experiences security breaches or hacking attempts, investigate the source of the breach and take immediate action to secure your website.

Here are some helpful tips.

  • Update your website’s software, plugins, and themes regularly
  • Use strong passwords
  • Set up firewalls around your website
  • Consider implementing additional security measures such as malware scanners

Server Downtime

Server issues or maintenance can lead to temporary downtime for your website. Downtime is terrible for user experience, and by extension, the SEO ranking of your website.

Check with your hosting provider for any scheduled maintenance or server-related problems. If the downtime persists, contact their support team for assistance and updates on the issue. Don’t hesitate to migrate to another host if the situation persists.

File and Database Management

Issues with file permissions, database connectivity, or corrupted files can affect your website’s functionality. It’s usually difficult to find the root cause of these kinds of errors, so it’s best to be proactive with the following measures.

Verify that file permissions are set correctly. Make sure your database credentials are accurate. Perform regular backups to prevent data loss. Here’s a post to learn more about database management systems.

Compatibility and Coding Errors

Oftentimes, you’d install plugins and extensions to add certain functionality to your site. But the downside is that this often leads to incompatibility issues. We see this very commonly in WordPress websites.

Ensure your website is compatible with different web browsers, devices, and screen sizes. Test your website thoroughly, validate your code, and fix any coding errors or compatibility issues that may arise.

Support and Assistance

We’ll oftentimes encounter problems that we just can’t get around. This is where finding a solution becomes super important. Blogs, knowledgebase, forums, customer chats, and so on – they all play a key role.

If you encounter any technical issues beyond your expertise, reach out to your hosting provider’s support team for assistance. They can provide guidance, troubleshoot specific problems, and offer solutions to resolve complex issues.

Conclusion

Domains are unique names for a website that correspond to the server’s IP address on the internet. You can purchase these names from domain registrars. Many hosts also offer additional services like web hosting, email accounts, and one-click install for popular apps.

The key components of domain hosting are registration, DNS, name servers, propagation, redirects and forwarding, and domain privacy.

When choosing a provider, you must consider factors like reliability and performance, uptime and speed, customer support, usable control panel, reputation and so on.

Common issues you might encounter when setting up your domain include Email delivery problems, SSL certificate issues, DNS, and compatibility/coding issues.

Now that you know all you need to know, here are the next steps.

Next Steps: What Now?

Further Reading – Useful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How does domain hosting work?

When you purchase domain hosting, you rent server space where your website files and data are stored. When someone enters your domain name in a web browser, the browser connects to the hosting server and fetches the website files, allowing visitors to view your website.

Can I host a domain without a website?

Yes, you can host a domain without a website by using domain parking or domain forwarding. These options display a placeholder page or redirect visitors to another website when they enter your domain name.

Do I need domain hosting if I have a domain Name?

Yes, domain hosting is necessary to make your website accessible online. Without hosting, your domain name will not have a server to store and deliver your website files.

What are the types of domain hosting?

The common types of domain hosting include shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and managed WordPress hosting. Each type offers different levels of performance, resources, and control.

Can I change my hosting provider while keeping my domain Name?

Yes, you can change your hosting provider without affecting your domain name. You need to update the DNS settings of your domain to point to the new hosting provider’s name servers.

How Long does it take for a domain to propagate after changing hosting providers?

DNS propagation can take up to 48 hours, although changes often propagate much faster. During this period, some visitors may see the old website, while others will see the new one.

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