Website hosting vs. domain name registration: What’s the difference?

For many of our clients, building a website is a learning experience. Website development is a specialized field, and it comes with specialized tools and language.

A common point of confusion is the difference between website hosting and domain name registration.


The digital information that makes up your website has to be stored somewhere. That somewhere is with the host, on their computers.

Finding good hosting can be difficult because the industry is competitive.

GoDaddy is one of the most well-known website hosting services, and one of the biggest players in website hosting is EIG Hosting, which owns about 70 hosting companies under different names.

When looking for hosting, you should consider:

  • Support: Does the company have a good track record for support?
  • Backups: If something goes wrong, your host should have a copy of an older version of your website that they can restore. Some hosts charge more for this.
  • WordPress requirements: WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in the world, so it’s a good sign if your host supports the most recent requirements.  
  • Control: You want to be able to easily move your hosting if your situation changes.
  • Server types: Shared hosting is the cheapest option but it means you share the server space with other websites; if one site gets too much traffic, all the sites suffer performance issues. Cloud servers or virtual private servers are a step up from shared, and dedicated servers are the best option if you can afford it.

Domain name registration

You can host a website on a server without a domain name, but then no one would be able to find it. The domain name is the address people type into the web browser to find your website. For example, our domain name is

There are many domain name registrars. Some popular ones include Google Domains (our recommendation), GoDaddy, and Namecheap.

It usually costs around $15/year to register your domain name, and we always recommend our clients set up recurring payments so you don’t forget to renew!

We also want our clients to register their own domain names so that they own it. It’s an important asset, and one your web developer shouldn’t own.