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The Relationship between Domain Names, DNS, Email, and Hosting

Domain Names: The Name for Your Online Presence

A domain name serves as the unique identifier for a website, much like a phone number or a physical address for business. It provides a (hopefully) easy-to-remember name that users can type into their web browsers to access a particular website. For example, “www.example.com” is a domain name.

You can only purchase a domain name at a Registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap, Cloudflare etc. Since it is an essential part of your business, you should always have access to your registrar account and safeguard that information.

Many registrars like GoDaddy, NameCheap, Cloudflare etc. allow you to give limited access to e.g. your I.T. person or web developer. Also, the email on the registration should be an address that never expires.

DNS: A Phone Book for the Internet

Every domain name is connected to the Domain Name System (DNS), a global network of servers that acts as a phone book for the internet. When a user enters a domain name into a web browser, the DNS translates that easy readable domain name into an IP address, which is a series of numbers that identifies the server where the website is hosted. For example, “www.google.com” is connected to an IP address 142.250.186.164.
Try to remember this number and you’ll be happy that DNS exists! 

But Wait, There’s More: Email or Website?

Nowadays, emails are typically hosted on special email servers that are separate from website servers. So while google.com 142.250.186.164, the email whatever@google.com might be located at 142.250.185.133. DNS is configured so that this works seamlessly, although both email and website hosting rely on the domain name for identification.

In Short:

  • Make sure that you own your domain name and always have access
  • Use a generic email address like Gmail for registration
  • Read the alerts from your Registrar, check your spam folder for their messages
  • Keep a backup payment on file
  • Do not share the login, give I.T. people and web designers a shared access instead