Domains vs Hosting – What’s the difference?

Domain and Hosting are two terms that often appear side by side, but they're not the same thing. It's time to brush up on some website basics.

If you aren’t really a computer person, or you’re new to the world of websites, you might find some of the technical jargon quite confusing.

One thing a lot of people struggle to understand is the difference between domain name and hosting.

So, let’s start with domains:

What is a Domain Name?

In the simplest terms your Domain Name is your website address (technically speaking it’s called a URLUniform Resource Locator – but you’ll rarely hear anyone call it by its full name).

Every website you visit has its own unique domain or ‘address’, for example:,,,, etc. etc.

What makes a domain name?

A domain name consist of two parts:

1 – the name itself (usually the business or organisation name, .e.g Amazon)
2 – the extension (e.g. com)

The most common extension is .com, but other examples include, .org, .net, .gov.

Extensions are used to indicate what type of organisation it is, for example a business (.com for commercial) or where it is located ( for UK, .fr for France, etc.).

It is sometimes said that your domain name is like the address of your home.

The ‘home address’ idea is a good start, but it’s not quite accurate.

What a domain really is

In reality a domain is like a PO Box (or mail box). It is really a forwarding address, because nothing is actually located there.

Your actual website – meaning the text, images and so forth – has nothing to do with the domain.

That’s what web hosting is for.

What is Web Hosting?

A server room representing a web hosting company

The files that actually make your website are stored on a server, which is like a large hard drive, or memory card, which is connected to the internet and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

When someone visits your domain or web address, a command is sent to a server to send back – to serve – your website files.

So, the server is where the actual website is located. The domain name is simply a label that requests your website files from the server.

Domain Name (address) —> Hosting (server)

We say the server is ‘hosting’ the website, hence the term Web Hosting.

And that’s about it!

We understand that the terminology surrounding websites can be confusing, but hopefully this brief article has helped clarify the difference between domains and hosting. Can we help clear anything else up? Let us know in the comments section below!

Wish you had a great website but don’t know where to start, or find yourself put off by complicated computer speak? Let us take care of it for you. Get the ultimate website for your business with The Works website design in Glasgow.