What is web hosting?

Once I have a domain name, how will my visitors find me?

Your domain name is nothing more than a name. You need to find a home for your domain.

Let’s image that your name is John White. Your name does not tell your friends where to contact you.
You need to find a home and register your details in a directory so they can find your address and then, visit you or send you mail.

Similarly, to be visible on the internet, your domain name needs to refer to a physical point on the Internet.

This space is provided on a web server—a computer connected to the Internet. Some Internet Service Providers offer (free of charge) a small website space on their server for their customers.

If you need more space and other complementary services such as autoresponders or a secure server to receive credit details from your customers, you can choose a web hosting plan provided by a specialised web hosting company. Read how to choose a web host.

Once hosted, your domain name will be assigned a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address where web users can see your website. For example, 64.176.210.196 is the IP of marketingcues.com.

To find you, web users don’t need to remember this long string of numbers. ICANN (The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers), a global non-profit organisation, maintains the Domain Name System (DNS), a central list of all domain names.

The register contains all the information associated with your domain name such as who is your web host, where your website is located and where to deliver your email.

The DNS system runs seamlessly. Regardless of your web host location, your visitor just needs to enter your domain name in their web browser address bar to find your website or type your email address to reach you.

When you change web host, you need to ‘redelegate’ your domain name to your new web host because the DNS needs to be reconfigured with your new location on the Internet.

You can do it yourself but it is easier to leave your new host do it for you. It is usually part of their set up fees.

After 48 to 72 hours, your change of details are effective and your visitors are then automatically redirected to your new address.

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