A Dummies Guide to Domains, Email and Hosting

Devices, such as laptops and smartphones, connect to each other on a network via a unique IP address. Similarly, a website has an IP address assigned to it on a web server.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique sequence of numbers, i.e. This number identifies a device or website on a network.

Although IP addresses work great for machines, they are not so great for humans. Imagine having to try to remember the IP address of all your favourite websites!

So, to make the internet more user-friendly, the internet uses a number of registries to assign human-friendly names to IP addresses in the form of domain names. For example, an IP address such as becomes www.mywebsite.co.za

How does a domain work?

At the heart of your online presence is your domain. It is your address on the internet.

While a domain has many functions, its first function would usually be for email services. So that your clients can contact you using a memorable name at their domain – such as info@mywebsite.co.za

However, you must first register your domain before you can create an email address.

Does having a domain mean I have hosting as well?

No. If your domain can be considered your address on the internet, then you can think about hosting as being the property at your address. Hosting (your internet property) is where you will build your website or internet house. And is purchased separately from your domain.

What is the best hosting?

There is a vast number of hosting options. And cheap is certainly not best. In order to understand your hosting requirements, you must know your goals and expectations.

If you are planning on building a one-page business card website, then pretty much any hosting service provider will do. However, if you intend to compete actively online against your competitors in terms of user experience and page load time, or are planning a successful eCommerce site, then you will need to be more selective and willing to spend money on your site’s performance.

Fortunately, you can always upgrade, or even downgrade your hosting to suit your requirements. The good news – you will never have to change your domain or internet address.

If you would like more information on how The Digital Alliance can assist with anything domain, email, hosting or website related contact us today.