Every website owner must understand two important concepts – Domain Name and Web Hosting. In simple terms, “Domain Name” is your website name on the internet, and “Web Hosting” is a service through which you find an actual space on the internet to publish your website. Now, the question that many people have is…
Can I buy a domain name without hosting? Yes, you can buy a domain name without hosting. You don’t need a hosting provider to register your domain name. If your preferred domain name is available, you can buy it by paying a fee and registering it with a domain registrar. It doesn’t matter whether you have a hosting account or not. You will be the owner of the domain name for as long as you keep renewing your registration, irrespective of whether you use hosting to create a website or not.
To understand how this concept works, let us take a closer look at what a domain name is and how it relates to web hosting.
What Is A Domain Name?
You may already know that every website has a unique IP address. The IP address is an identification factor for the website. However, IP addresses aren’t easy to remember and use.
Domain names make IP addresses user-friendly. Or in other words, domain names are handles for hard-to-use IP addresses. They are simple words that represent a website and are easy to remember and type.
Domain names are typically depicted as a combination of letters and numbers followed by an extension such as .com, .net, .gov, etc.
An important factor to remember is that domain names are unique. No two websites can have the same domain name. Therefore, domain name registration is essential.
Once you register a domain name, it belongs to you. So, if someone types in this specific domain name into their browser, they will be directed to your website and nowhere else.
With almost every business setting up a website these days, it is not always easy to find the exact domain name you desire. This makes it important to register your chosen domain name at the earliest, so it is blocked for your use only.
This brings me to the next part – registering a domain name.
How Does Domain Name Registration Process Work?
Once you decide on a domain name for your website, the next step is owning it.
To register a chosen name, you pay a fee, and it becomes yours. But to do this, the domain name should be available. So, you should check to find out if it’s already taken or not.
You can check whether the domain name is available or not by visiting a site registrar like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Hover and keying in your chosen name. If your desired name is already taken, you must think of other options.
However, if the name is available, you can buy the name. The price for it will depend on the name you choose and its extension.
When you buy a domain, it is for a specific duration, which is usually a year. To continue owning the domain name beyond this time, you should keep renewing your registration before it expires.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to register a domain name if you haven’t registered one before.
Once you register a domain name, you can then point it to your web hosting, where you will create your website.
Web Hosting is basically a location on the internet to hold the files and data related to your website.
To understand this concept better, consider this scenario. Suppose you are the owner of a shop. The registered name of the shop would be your domain name. While the physical location or premises from where the shop operates would be your web hosting.
So, you can register your business even if you do not have a dedicated space for it to operate from. Domain names and web hosting work in the same way.
Let us explore this in greater detail.
Recommended Further Reading: Should Domain Name Match Business Name? Not Really – Here’s Why…
What Is Web Hosting?
When you are finally ready to start your own website, the first step is to find the right Web Host to host your website.
Web Host is basically a company with many computers or servers that connect to the internet. When you sign up for a web hosting account with such a company, they allocate space on one of their servers to you for storing and managing all the files related to your website.
Choosing the right Web Host can depend on various factors like:
- Your allocated budget,
- Amount of space you need to host your website files,
- Reliability and speed of access,
- Technical support, etc.
You can check out the list of web hosting companies that I currently recommend on my website tools page.
Once you have chosen a Web Host, you can then point your domain name to your web host’s server so that your website gets displayed when someone visits your domain name.
Let’s see how this works…
How Web Hosting Works?
Once you find the right Web Host, the next step is pointing the domain name to your hosting service. For this purpose, you should first obtain the Nameserver addresses for your hosting account from your Web Host.
Then revisit your domain registrar and log into your account in their system. You will need the login name and password you first created when registering your domain name. When you access your account, you will be able to find the list of domains you own. Select the ones that you wish to direct to your website. Change their DNS settings to the nameserver addresses from your Web Host and save.
Your domain name is now pointing to your Web Host. Anyone can now find your website by simply typing in the domain name into their internet browser.
Don’t be! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to host your website.
Alright! Now that you know how web hosting works let’s talk about the misconception surrounding domain names and web hosting…
Misconception Surrounding Domain Name And Hosting
There is a huge misconception that domain name and hosting are dependent aspects.
Domain names do not have to be attached to a hosting account when you buy them. You can buy a domain name even before you start working on your website design.
Domain name registration is a common procedure used by business owners to get the domain name they want before someone else books it. By registering a domain and paying the associated fee, you can block the name for as long as you desire.
If you get web hosting and domain name from the same company, then your domain name will automatically be pointed to your web hosting account.
But what happens if you do not get a web hosting account?
In this case, your domain name registrar will typically point your domain name to a dummy website. If someone visits your domain name, they will arrive at this website, which is non-functional. This procedure is known as domain name parking.
However, some domain name registrars may not provide domain name parking. In this case, when someone visits your domain name, they will receive a message that the website does not exist.
Either way, domain name parking isn’t of much importance. The bottom line is, you are free to buy your domain name without web hosting.
In fact, it is highly recommended that you should buy your domain name and web hosting account separately. Here’s why…
Why You Should Separately Buy Domain Name And Hosting?
Many popular web hosting services provide free domain names when you buy their web hosting package. However, it is not mandatory, and neither recommended that you use this option.
You should buy the domain name and hosting separately from different companies because that will help you to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket.
Doing so is very important because, over the course of your website’s lifespan, you will need to keep changing your web hosting company as your website grows. Beginner level web hosting companies just cannot handle large websites.
The other reason to separately buy the domain name and hosting is that, as your online business grows, you will want to secure your website from hackers. So, you will need to transfer your website to a web hosting company that is capable of securing your website properly.
But can’t you buy hosting from advanced level web hosting companies while creating your website for the first time itself?
You can, but such web hosting accounts are costly. So investing in them at an early stage of your website lifespan might not be worth it for your business.
You can always keep on upgrading your web hosting service as your needs increase. There is no point in spending money on costly web hosting accounts when you don’t need it. This is why it is always better to buy the domain name and hosting separately from different companies.
I hope you have now got a good idea that you can buy domain name without hosting, and in fact, that is exactly what you should do.