So... you bought yourself a Domain Name and you thought you had a website... then someone mentioned Web Hosting and it all got a bit confusing!
For those new to websites, it can all be a bit confusing, I mean what is this Website Hosting thing? And I thought my domain name was my website...
Let's take a look at the differences between them all in a way that we can all understand
In this example I am going to use the analogy of a house on a piece of land; The house is your website, the Domain Name is the street address, and the Web Host is the piece of land the house is sitting on.
1. Web Host/Your Plot Of Land
Before you can build a house, or get an address, you have to have a plot of land. In our scenario you rent a piece of land from a landlord that is big enough to build the house you want to build.
Our website plot of land is rented from a Web Host and they supply enough space on their servers to accommodate our website. The Web Host supplies all of the utilities to make our website perform correctly, all we have to do is take not of the location and start building.
2. Domain Name/Actual Address
Now you have your plot of land, you can a fix an address to it. For your website, this will be your Domain Name.
Your Domain Name is an address unique to you, just as a house address would be. And just like a physical address, you can have sub-addresses attached to it (like apartment numbers) or individual rooms in the house (like a Master Bedroom or a Kitchen)
e.g. 127 Gold Street, Apartment 3 or
e.g. 127 Gold Street/Master bedroom
Open plan is not the way to go for our website. We want to have specific locations designated to specific tasks and we want it laid out in a logical way so people don't get lost. That way we can make sure that our visitors are always sent to the place they want to go and are not wandering around a nightmare maze.
3. Your Website/The House Itself
Now we have a plot to build on, and an address for people to find us, we can go about building the house.
Here we physically build out our website, choosing the pages we build to compliment the journey we want our client to take. The house is built to our specifications and with elements that we choose to make the place comfortable for it's purpose.
As tempting as it may be to build your own house, run the electrics, and lay the plumbing, it is usually beyond a novice to do a decent job of it.
In the same vein, unless you are pretty experienced, building your own website can be frustrating, time consuming, and result in a poor customer experience. I would always leave the build up to a professional even though it may be an expense you don't want to incur.