Domain vs. Website: What’s the Difference?

Bridget M Burns / September 11, 2018

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Setting up a website? Purchasing your domain name should be one of the first steps you take in building an online presence for your business. But, what is a domain name and how is it different from a website?

Domain vs. website

Your domain name is also known as your web address, or (in some cases) as your “dot-com.” Simply put, it’s the address that someone types into their internet browser to go to your website.

Your website is the content that a person sees after they land on your domain. From the back-end, your website is a collection of code and files that need a domain name and a hosting service to be viewed online.

Do I need a domain name?

If you watch the Netflix series Girlboss, you’ll learn that it’s inspired by the origin story of online clothing retailer Nasty Gal. In the show, the founder, Sophia Amoruso, builds her entire website without securing her domain name. She even sends out thousands of emails to her loyal eBay followers to tell them about her new site’s web address.

With a name like Nasty Gal, you can imagine what she finds when she visits the domain name that she assumed was up for grabs. So yes, you should probably secure your own domain name before sharing it with your readers.

Luckily, WordPress.com offers a tool that allows you to check whether the domain name you want is available. Need help thinking of ideas? Learn how to choose a domain name in just three steps.

What about hosting?

In addition to securing a domain, you need a hosting service which allows your website to be seen online. Your hosting service takes the files you created and uploads them to the world wide web.

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop to purchase a domain, secure hosting, and build your website, start with a content management system like WordPress.com.

The chicken and the egg

In today’s digital age, websites are vital for small business success. That being said, it’s okay if you already started building your website and don’t yet have a domain. It’s also okay if you purchased your domain years ago and are just now getting around to populating your web address.

Just remember, you can’t build your online presence until you complete both steps. When it comes to domain vs. website, the truth is, one cannot fully exist without the other.

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