The year 1990 will forever be remembered as one of the most pivotal times in mankind’s evolution. It was in this year that the internet (world wide web) took form, forever launching us in a trajectory resulting in today’s reality. As with any evolutionary stage of our existence, the coming of the internet also ushered in a whole new era of new words with to describe the various components and procedures associated with the internet. Of all these words, two phrases stood out, and are probably the most used words in the history of the internet. These phrases are Domain Name and Webhosting.
Let’s go back to the beginning
To grasp a full understanding of what domain name and webhosting are, we will have to go as far back as the 1900s when the internet was created. Back then, there were no Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Blogger, etc. Websites had to be coded by scratch. The question now became, how to make these websites available to the rest of the world? This question let to the conception of domain names and webhosting.
What then is webhosting ?
After spending hours coding a website, website developers needed a location in which to keep the website’s files, so that they could be accessed by the rest of the world. It is from this, that the word hosting was derived, referring to the place where websites are kept for subsequent accessing as per needed. This location is what is referred to as servers. Servers are special computers on which websites and web pages are kept to be accessed by the rest of the world through browsers. In as much as individuals could either build or purchase or their own servers on which to host their sites, most individuals and some companies often chose to have their websites hosted by third parties offering webhosting services.
Servers are generally of two types: shared servers and dedicated servers. Simply put, shared servers have more than one website hosted on them, and are the type often used by webhosting service providers to provide affordable hosting to their clients. Dedicated servers on the other hand, often only host one website. Dedicated servers like those provided by darwin.it are usually more durable, with stronger security and faster speed compared to shared servers. Servers, whether dedicated or shared are usually kept by webhosting service providers in large and secured locations could server farms. In summary, webhosting refers to act of keeping website files on a server from which it can be accessed by the rest of the world.
When websites are developed are hosted on a server, the server gives the website an IP address through which users of the website can have access to it. An example of a website IP address could be 345.678.101.4. Internet protocol (IP) addresses are unique to every website, and can be typed in to a web browser to have direct access to a website. However, IP addresses pose a problem in that they are not easy to remember. Our general inability to memorize and retain varying strings of numbers led to the creation of domain names.
Domain names are easy-to-remember-names given to websites, and could be used instead of an IP address to have direct access to a website. Domain names are usually of the format:
Breaking down the sequence:
WWW: A large majority of domain names begin with WWW, which is an acronym for the World Wide Web. Also known as the machine name, this first section of a domain name could either begin with WWW, or WWW2, or WWW3.
123: The second part of a domain name is usually a more specific description of the website in question. For example, servers.darwin the owner of the site chose to put his name “Darwin” as the midsection of the website’s domain name. It can be anything as per your choosing.
XXX: Also known as the top level domain, there are several, including .com, .gov, .edu. they could also be country specific such as .au (Australia), .cm (Cameroon), .it (Italy), etc. A complete domain name looks more like servers.darwin.it
Most webhosting service providers will require that your website already have a domain name purchased before providing you with hosting. Not to worry, if you are yet to get a domain name, they will help you with that too.