Blog > Basics of web hosting
What is a domain?
Put simply a web domain forms the main part of your websites address or URL. For example Bluelinemedia's domain name is bluelinemedia.co.uk. You can register many different types of domain names such as .com, .co.uk, .org, .net etc but the structure always remains the same, an alphanumeric string that can also be separated with a hyphen, if the registrant so wishes.
A domain name is registered via a domain registrar and can only be purchased if the domain is not currently in use.
What is web hosting?
Website hosting is where you website resides online. Websites are hosted on servers/computers that have a high speed connection to the internet. You can host a website on nearly any computer but the advantages of using a professional web hosting company such as Clook is you can take advantage of having your website hosted in a data centre.
A data centre is a facility used to house servers. This means your website has the high speed connection it needs to make it fast to browse and also nearly completely eliminates down time. For example if there was a power cut at the data centre the servers would instantaneously and automatically switch over to a battery powered system and when the batteries run dry generators will be fired up to keep the system running.
This gives you the peace of mind to know your website will be accessible 24/7/365.
What is DNS?
DNS is an acronym for domain name system. All computers connected to the internet have an IP address, this is similar to your address at home or work, it's a specific location where someone can find you. If you type an IP address of a computer that has a website hosted on it into your browser, it would return the website. However IP addresses can be up to 12 numbers long and are therefore very difficult to remember, so instead we use domain names like bluelinemedia.co.uk.
So how does my browser turn bluelinemedia.co.uk into the IP address of a computer? Well, this is where DNS comes in, your ISP (internet service provider) has a massive list of domain names and the IP addresses they relate to. When you type in a domain name your ISP looks through the list and finds the related IP address. This means all you have to do is remember the websites domain name rather than the IP address.
Of course the only problem with this is ISPs only update their list every 24/48 hours or so, meaning if you change hosting provider, it can take some time to propagate through all ISPs.