In this tutorial I will explain the Differences between Domains, Hostings, DNS Servers and DNS Records, as it seems that sometimes there is a bit of confusion.
The first and easiest thing to understand is the domain. It is the name that our website has on the Internet. In this case “seoisdead.club“. Although we talk about “buying”, in reality it is only rented. As a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 10 years, we pay for having the domain during that time, and while we have it, only we can renew it.
Now, where do we “buy” it? Well, traditionally it used to be done in a domain company. But as time went by, hosting companies started to offer domain sales as well. And what’s more, domain companies started to offer hosting as well. The result? As a result, there are hardly any companies that only offer one of the two. So, the first thing to do is to buy the domain. And once we have it, we move on to the next point. The hosting.
The hosting is the hard disk where we are going to have our website: The files, the images, the database. Where all this information will be stored.
Yes, indeed. Our website is on the hard disk of a computer. What happens is that it is a special computer with certain characteristics, called a server. And that is offered by hosting companies: shared server, virtual server, dedicated server… Sound familiar?
Although most companies offer both domains and hosting, it is not necessary to buy the domain from the same company that offers hosting. So, you can buy your domain from one company and your hosting from another. The only thing we must take into account if we do it this way, is that we will have to “link” our domain to our hosting, configuring the so-called DNS. On the other hand, if we do everything in the same company, we can skip this step. When we talk about DNS, we can refer to two very different things. DNS servers and DNS records.
DNS servers are responsible for telling the browser which server your website is on. That is, to connect the Domain with the Hosting. So, if we have a domain purchased at “domain-A.com” and hosting at “hostings-B.com”, we must go to the control panel of “domian-A.com” and look for the section where we can enter the “DNS Servers”. Each company has a different control panel, and sometimes it is a bit difficult to find it, but if you look hard enough you will find it. There we will have to put the DNS servers of our hosting company. They are usually a domain with a subdomain “nsx”. For example, Banahosting has these:
As I say, this interface depends on each case, and will be different for each company. The important thing is to find somewhere to put something called “DNS servers”. Sometimes they will present it as “Primary DNS and Secondary DNS”, or sometimes they will let you put more, as we can see in the image.
By doing that we will have connected our domain with our hosting. Be careful because this process is not immediate. Every time we change this data we start a progressive process that can take between 24 and 48 hours. This is called DNS propagation, and it depends on your Internet provider. Some take longer to “update” this data and some take less time. As I said before, if you have bought both from the same company, usually all this is already set up and you don’t need to do anything.
But there is still one more step. While it is true that we have connected the domain with the hosting, now we must detail where are the servers of each service (ftp, pop, imap, webmail, smtp, etc.) of our hosting. This is done with the DNS records.
Now we come to the fourth and last point. The DNS records. These are in charge of distributing the different services of our domain. A domain can have several associated services. These are configured through subdomains, and although there are many, the most common are usually these:
- Main domain pointing to the physical IP of a computer (server).
- Optional subdomains that point to other folders of our website.
- To associate subdomains to other services and create aliases.
- It comes from Canonic Name.
- To associate our domain to a mail server (usually different from the server where we have the web).
- It comes from Mail Exchange.
TXT / SPF records
- They have many uses, mainly for authentication.
Summary and conclusion
Someone types a domain in a browser, their ISP looks to see which DNS server they are dealing with, sends it there, and it directs the user to one IP or another, depending on the DNS records. One last interesting point: If you have the domain contracted with one company (e.g. GoDaddy) and the hosting with another (e.g. banahosting), you should be able to use both the DNS record manager of one and the other.