Domain Name vs Hosting: Why Do I Need Both?

I just had a client ask me a very common and perfectly valid question:

Why do I need to pay for a domain name AND for hosting?

It’s an easy question to answer but only if you can manage to properly explain the difference between the two. On the most basic level, this is how we define the two:

Website Hosting = The place where you actually store your stuff.

Domain Name = The easy directions to find the place where you store your stuff.

Technically you don’t NEED to buy a domain name. Your website hosting company does have an address where people can find your “stuff” on their server. It usually looks something like this:
http://123.456.789.123/~mysite/

But that is pretty ugly and a nightmare for branding. So instead you can purchase a Domain Name to easily and elegantly direct people to your website. A domain name looks like this:
http://www.MyBusinessName.com 

Much better, right?

The cool part about domain names is that even if you decide to move your stuff to a new place (change hosting companies, move from Wix to GoDaddy, move from SquareSpace to WordPress, etc), your customers and fans can still easily find you. All you have to do is point your current domain name to your new hosting location.

Think of how it works when you drop your iPhone in a pool and have to replace it. You get a new phone (hosting) but your keep your same phone number (domain name). You just tell your phone company to point your current phone number to your new phone.

How would you explain Domain Name vs Hosting to a non-tech audience? Drop your analogies in the comments box below. I love analogies. Give me your best.


Extra:

The next logical question is, who should I use for my domain name and my hosting? There are a thousand services and a million opinions on this subject but I’ll keep it simple and give you my professional recommendations.

Domain Name
http://www.directnic.com
(I am not an affiliate)

Website Hosting
https://www.siteground.com/go/louise
(This is an affiliate link)

Both are services that I personally and professionally use. I love their prices, support, and overall quality of service. I prefer using separate services for my domain name and website hosting just because i feel safer not having all my eggs in one basket. I’d even go as far as to suggest having your email under a third umbrella to keep things especially neat and tidy.

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