In order to have your website live and running so your visitors can see it all around the world, you need a domain name and a web host server. These two main components are different things that can be easily confused.
Domain Hosting/ Registration: A domain registrar is where you buy your domain from and that means the domain will be hosted by them. The domain is basically your web address i.e. www.yourdomain.com or some domains are country level i.e. www.yourdomain.ug for the case of Uganda. There is a bunch of domain registrars and I will not be specific as each person has their own choices.
Every domain has a matching IP address that sets its location on the internet but we wont be talking about IPs here since a domain name as it is better off to remember than a bunch of numbers.
When you buy a domain name, you will own it for the time you pay for it but you won’t have a website unless you have a web hosting service.
Web Hosting: A web hosting service provides space on its server, so that other computers around the world can access your website by means of a network or modem. This is basically where your website and related services like emails, subdomains, etc. are stored. Web hosting service is only accessible if you have a domain name already but if you don’t have one already, the hosting provider will offer to sell you one.
There is a bunch of web hosting providers out there and I wouldn’t like to mention a specific one. Some offer limited while others offer a full control to the server and you can choose this depending on your technical level.
Web hosting as it is has a range of categories, you might be familiar or have actually used some of them. There is shared, dedicated, VPS, managed web hosting options that you can choose from. I guess we can talk about the different types of web hosting another time since I do not want to congest you with a bunch of stuff right now.
The confusion: most times when people buy a domain, they are offered to purchase a hosting service at the same time hence it is hard to differentiate the two services but I hope reading through this article has helped you see the difference between the two
Lastly: I wouldn’t recommend you have both the domain and web hosting from the same provider for some security purposes that I will do an article about that sometime too. But basically, lets separate them so that a person doesn’t intercept the two from the same provider.
Piece of Advice: It is a good practice to have all web services subscribed to in your credentials (email, name, phone numbers, etc). I have witnessed it a lot that some people find it hard to recover their domains and hosting services just because they do not own the credentials for using these services and that causes a lot of loss to everyone. Your friend could register for you these services, but I’d recommend they do it for you in your credentials, NOT THEIRS
Feel free to ask me anything concerning this and I will endeavor to get back to you ASAP!