Domain Name, DNS Server, and Web Hosting

In this lesson, we will briefly discuss Domain Name, DNS Server, and Web Hosting and how they work together to make a website run online.

We’ll cover the following

  • Domain Name:
  • DNS
  • Web Hosting

As mentioned in the previous lesson, all a website need is a Domain name, DNS, and a web hosting service to appear online. In this section, we will discuss all three elements briefly and see what makes them so important.


Domain Name:

A domain name is a unique address (URL) which the user would type to visit your website. The reason we use domain names instead of IP addresses is that names are easier to remember than a long string of numbers. Imagine how difficult it would be to remember the addresses of all the websites that you use.

A URL basically consists of these four parts:

  • Second level domain: Is usually the actual name of the website.
  • Top level domain: The last part that follows the name
  • Sub domain: The part that comes before second level domain.
  • Protocol: HTTP or HTTPS

The example below illustrates each of these parts.

Domain names can be purchased through domain name registrars. The price of the domain name varies according to how old it is and the keywords used in it. Domain names that are brand new usually cost around 8-20$ per year. On the other hand, if a domain name is very old and carries a very common keyword such as “pizza”, then the price can go up to hundreds and sometimes even millions.

Don’t believe us? See it for yourself here


DNS (Domain Name Server) basically maps your URL to the accurate IP address. It consists of a set of configuration records, every record points to a web hosting. It has a couple for different elements, for example:

  • A record: This record points to the IP address of your website. Once you have your domain name pointing to the right “A record” then you can be redirected to the right web hosting.
  • mx Record: This record points the emails that go to your domain name to the email hosting service, for example it might point to Google Apps or Microsoft etc.

Web Hosting

Your website’s files are stored at the your web hosting server. If domain name is the address of your website then your web hosting is the physical house of your website. There is a wide range of web hosting services available which will be discussed in the coming lessons.

In a nutshell, when you hit a URL, the request goes to DNS server which returns an IP address. The request is then made to your web hosting server on that IP address and then your web server sends you a response.

In the next lesson, we will learn how to register a domain name for your website.

Also Read – Launching Your Website: The Basics

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