Demystify the Relationship Between Domain, Hosting and Website

The relationship between these 3 essential components can be explained by a pyramid:

Domain, Hosting, Website Pyramid

Websites are the top tier of the pyramid, they are reliant on having the foundation set up first (domain name and hosting). For example, think of your website as your shop, where the contents, information and people reside; without land (hosting) and an address (domain) you cannot build your shop.

Modern websites are often made up of files (html, css, images, audios and videos) and database.

Hosting is required for your files (website, database or emails) to be stored somewhere. These are usually called servers, and are basically powerful computers at data centres that’s connected to the internet 24/7. Think of hosting like a block of empty land for your shop to stand on.

Hosting can be split into two components. Web hosting (where your website resides) and email hosting (where your emails are stored).

Though website files and emails can technically be on the same server, it’s generally not a good practice because if your website was to go-down for whatever reasons, so does your email, which isn’t good for business as emails are often considered as the lifeblood of business.

One popular dedicated email server is Google Apps (Gmail), which has strong SPAM filters and guarantee uptime.

Most web hosting servers have graphical user interface (GUI) interface such as cPanel (industry standard) which allows easy control of various functions such as file manager, database creation, installation of applications such as WordPress.

Hosting can be paid either monthly or yearly depending on the agreement with your hosting company.

Most web hosting servers can host Domain Name System (DNS) information which helps points the traffic to the relevant servers (eg, A records for website, MX records for email etc)

It’s important to know, not all hosting servers are equal. Besides the storage space (how many files you can store) and bandwidth (how much traffic your website can handle), it’s also important to keep your website on Australian servers if your business is local, as it will be faster and more favourable for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Domain Name is required for people to find and access your website. Think of it like a physical address that helps people locate where your shop is.

Domain names are distributed by domain registrars. You can get standard domains from most registrars (eg, .com, .net,,, however some can sell newer styled domains (eg, .co, .melbourne, .io)

When registering Australian domain names (usually ends with .au), you will need some kind of proof of business ownership (such as ABN) of similar name/trademark/function.

Australian domain names usually have an expiry of 2 years, but can be renewed before the expiry date.

All domains have an official email address registered to it to show the ownership.

In order to transfer domain, the new domain registrar need the EPP code (password) to trigger the domain, then the domain’s registered email address will be sent a request to authorise the transfer.

If the domain email address is inaccessible (maybe email is no longer available or is registered by a third party), you can write an official letter (with proof of business ownership) to the domain registrar to claim ownership.

The Name Server (NS) record of the domain name usually points to the hosting server’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Please Note: These three elements are easily transferable which is particularly useful if you ever decide to change vendors or sell your business. If you want to know more about transferring your domain name, hosting or website please feel free to give us a call, we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

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