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Domain Hosting and Email options

A question we get often is “What does my domain have to do with my website, and what is hosting and do I need it?” This is a question with lots of answers but we’ll simplify things for you.

There are 3 parts to the entire domain, website, and hosting partnership. All 3 pieces are required to make websites and email work. You can buy all 3 parts from the same company, or you can buy each from separate companies (or any combination).


Almost everything online starts with a domain. This is the thing you type in when you want to get to a website (,,,, etc.) When a business wants a website or email address, their first step is to purchases a domain.

The domain’s sole job is to point visitors someplace. The domain can be thought of as a virtual switchboard. If you want to get to a companies website, the domain tells your computer or phone where the website lives (website hosting) so you can get to the website. The domain also points emails to the correct email server (email hosting).


Hosting is where your website and emails live. This is paying rent for the server space (in the cloud) where your website and email actually lives. A long time ago, companies purchased and owned their web and email hosting servers so the domain would point visitors to the actual server in their office. Because of power losses, internet losses, and cost, almost every small business pays rent (hosting) to store their website and email in the cloud.


The website is the thing you paid your web designer to build for you. This is what your visitors see when they type in your domain. Once the website is built, your designer transferred it to your cloud server (hosting) so your visitors could see your website. Depending on how nice or complicated your website is, the cost to have it created (web design) varies, but is usually $500-7500 for a small business.

Sounds Simple

After 15 years of consulting with clients about their websites, domains, and hosting, the majority of the confusion seems to revolve around not remembering all 3 pieces of the puzzle or forgetting who does what piece for them.

Why the separation?

Its been this way for as long as I’ve been doing IT, but if I had to guess, I would say choice. you are not forced to purchase hosting from the same company you purchased your domain from and vice versa. You can even purchase your web design from the same company you purchased your domain and hosting from.


All 3 pieces are required (domain, website, and hosting) for your website and email to work. You can get all 3 from the same company,or all 3 from different companies.