What is domain hosting?

Domain names cubes on a laptop - office background
(Image credit: Shutterstock/rawf8)

Whether you’re starting a personal blog or setting up an online business, building a strong online presence is critical for keeping up with the competition. This move can let you be the boss of your brand image, increase visibility for your blog or business, gain customer trust and loyalty, improve customer support, and use more cost-effective marketing methods. 

Before you can start with any of this you’ll have to find your domain name host (also known as domain name registrar) and get a perfect domain name for your online project. 

In a nutshell, domain hosting is a service of hosting a domain name for a website and it’s provided by a domain name host. However, there’s more to it than that.     

To clear everything up, we’ll explain what domain hosting is, how it differs from web hosting, and give you some smart tips about picking out a domain name. 

What is domain hosting?

In short, domain hosting is a service that allows you to make your site visible on the Web. It serves as its address and without it, your site has nowhere to live. 

It’s the URL (let’s say “https://www.Google.com”) that visitors type into their browsers to find your site instead of memorizing your site’s IP address (something like “”). Once a visitor enters your domain name into their browser, that domain is immediately translated into your server IP address where the visitor can browse your site. 

The domain hosting service is provided by domain name registrars (such as Domain.com, Namecheap, and IONOS) for a specific fee which depends on two key factors - the type of domain you're purchasing and from which registrar you’re buying a domain from. On average, a standard top-level domain (TLD) such as “.com”, “.net”. and “.org” should cost you somewhere between $10 and $15 per year. 

Domain hosting vs web hosting: What’s the difference?  

If you’re planning to build a professional-looking site and put it on the Web where visitors can find it, you’ll need both domain hosting and web hosting. However, although these two are equally essential, they aren’t exactly the same. While domain hosting will give you an address for your site, it won’t store all its content (like HTML documents, images, and JavaScript files) and make it available for viewing online. 

So, once you pick out and purchase a domain name for your site, you’ll need a place to store all content that makes up your site, and that’s where web hosting comes into play. Web hosting providers have physical storage space in their data centers and they rent that space for a fee. All in all, in addition to domain name registration, a web hosting service is critical for a functional site. 

Fortunately, most of the best web hosting providers offer two-in-one sort of packages that combine domain name registration and web hosting service, and with the most popular ones you can get a free domain for a year with annual web hosting packages.

female hand typing on laptop, internet extensions flying

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Morrowind)

What makes choosing the right domain name important 

In short, a carefully chosen domain name can help visitors find their way to your site and tell search engines what your site is all about. As you suspect, there’s much more to it than that. 

It’ll help you to create an online presence 

Your site's domain name serves as its online identity. Besides their browsers, your visitors will search for your site’s name on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. 

Also, if you’re planning to build a business site, your domain name should reflect your values, goals, products, services, and the industry domain in which your brand operates. Picking out the wrong domain name can negatively affect your online identity and present your site in a negative light to visitors and search engine bots alike. 

Builds your brand identity 

Above everything else, a domain name has the power to enhance brand awareness. If your domain name matches the name of your business, it will strengthen your brand identity, boosting customer recall and retention. Additionally, word-of-mouth marketing becomes more effective as customers can remember your name without much effort and share it with others. 

Ultimately, picking the right domain name plays a significant role in driving traffic and establishing a solid reputation. As a result, you'll attract a larger customer base and experience better sales performance.

Adds credibility to your brand

Have you ever wondered what could make people search for you on multiple platforms? Sites that have strong branding and a solid domain name instill a sense of reliability in your business. So, having an outstanding domain name is essential for startups and seasoned businesses alike. 

Plus, a branded site address won’t only boost the confidence of your potential customers but also enhances the trust your existing customers have in you.

This is where different hosting plans come into play as well. Opting for a free web hosting plan can result in a non-brandable domain - for instance, one that contains the name of your web host. So, we strongly advise you to avoid using a free hosting plan for a professional site as your potential customers could find it challenging to trust your brand if they perceive that you are not prioritizing your online branding efforts. 

Meanwhile, a personal, non-commercial blog will be fine with a free hosting plan.

Helps you get more traffic to your site

Having an excellent domain name that is also highly memorable can significantly boost the traffic to your website, making it more easily discoverable by users. Moreover, such a domain name can also contribute to your search engine optimization (SEO) endeavors, as search engines view it as one of the ranking factors.

Makes your email address look professional

By having a personalized, professional-looking domain name, you gain the ability to create custom email addresses matching your domain. This offers a high level of professionalism compared to using free email services like Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo. For instance, if your domain name is "www.HowTechWorks.com," you could create an email address such as "Info@ HowTechWorks.com" and it would look pretty professional. 

So, the right domain enhances trust among potential customers and communicates that you are behind a credible and professional business.

Expanding your business

Another significance of domain names lies in their role in the way visitors are finding your site. Remember, your domain name serves as the web address that visitors enter into their browsers to access your site. Without it, finding your site would feel like a fool's errand.

Furthermore, a professional-looking domain name can make your site look more serious, which could invite more walk-ins to your business. When your visitors see that you possess your own domain name (rather than solely relying on free services), they will perceive you as more trustworthy and give you a shot. 

Finger Presses Orange Button Domain Name Registration on Black Keyboard Background. Closeup View

(Image credit: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

Tips on picking out a perfect domain name 

There are more than a couple of things you’ll want to consider when choosing a domain name for your online project. 

If possible, opt for a “.com” TLD

Although the ".com" domain remains the most reliable choice for professional sites, it may not always be available. After all, it’s the most widely used top-level domain (TLD) on the internet and most of the finest ".com" domain names have already been claimed.

If this is the case for you, explore alternative TLDs like ".co," ".net," and ".biz," or opt for a slightly altered version of your original choice. While the selection of TLD has no critical impact on SEO performance, it can leave a lasting impression on your future customers. 

For new domain name ideas, you could utilize a domain name generator, a web-based tool that’ll generate myriad of name suggestions within seconds.

Make it short, sweet, and catchy

Although it's crucial to consider keywords, it's also important not to go overboard with domain length. So, opt for a concise and catchy domain name.

Long domain names aren’t only hard to remember but they also increase the likelihood of user typos, which could result in significant traffic loss. So, it’s a smart idea to maintain a short domain length - try to keep it within 15 characters. 

Try adding a keyword that says something about your brand 

Although including an industry-relevant keyword in your domain name won't have a substantial impact on your SEO ranking, it can boost your search traffic and attract more clicks. However, it's important to seamlessly integrate the chosen keyword into the domain name - it should look like it belongs there. Forcing a keyword that doesn't align naturally could make your name look and feel untrustworthy. 

Ensure your domain name is both easily pronounced and spelled

You can’t expect people to easily share your domain name over the internet with others if they themselves struggle to pronounce it or spell it. In contrast, if customers find your domain name easy to pronounce, they are more likely to recommend it to others, creating a valuable word-of-mouth marketing effect.

To ensure simpler pronunciation and spelling, it is advisable to avoid hyphens, numbers, and symbols between words in your domain name. Additionally, it is best to steer clear of using emoji domain names since their spelling can be tricky.

Make your domain name future-proof

If you’re planning to expand your product range or add services later on, it is wise to take some time for reflection right now. Before choosing one domain name over others, consider whether it will continue to serve your needs in the future.

After all, the domain name of your site will be a critical component of your brand for years to come. Therefore, it is important to think carefully and thoroughly before settling on a name. Take note, changing the domain name in the future can result in costs, knock down SEO ranking, and affect brand recall.

Consider adding a subdomain

Another thing you should consider when choosing a domain is whether you want to create a subdomain as well. In case you’re not sure, a subdomain is an additional part or prefix that can be added to your primary domain name. For instance, if your main site’s domain is “Meow.com”, a subdomain could be something like “blog.Meow.com”, “store.Meow.com” or “mail.Meow.com”. So, your main domain name plus a prefix. 

By adding subdomains to your site, you can create separate sections for your content, products, or services without the need to create new domain names for each part. Also, having subdomains will ensure that both your customers and casual visitors can effortlessly find what they're looking for on your site.

Find the right domain name right now 

Hot domain names sell like hotcakes, and some of the best ones already have owners. The good news is that many good-looking yet affordable names are still available, especially if you’re willing to experiment with TLDs. 

So, while you should think through this step, don’t take too much time or someone else might take the domain name you've set your heart on. 

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.