IP addresses, and domain names, and web hosting, OH MY!

Often times, people can get confused when they start hearing terms related to starting a website – terms such as IP addresses, domain names, and web hosting. To the average person, these terms do not make much sense and can sound intimidating. To help avoid confusion, we are going to break down what each term means.
IP Addresses & Domain Names
• Think of an IP address as your home address. We can start with domain names. Domain names are unique aliases that represent a server IP address. The server is where your website lives, but we’ll touch base on that soon. Let’s say, for example, you want to go to Sarah’s house.

  • If Sarah lives at 6520 67th Street, that is her IP address.
  • When someone you know says, “Hey, let’s go to Sarah’s house,” they are essentially giving a domain name to 6520 67th Street.
  • A domain name is easier to remember than an IP address. Along those lines, that’s why you wouldn’t typically say, “Hey, let’s go to 6520 67th Street’s house,” when you know that is Sarah’s house.

It is essentially the same thing for the internet. Here’s a real-life application for you. Type this into your browser and see what comes up: 74.125.225.180
That’s right, it’s Google!  No one (except web geeks like us) will remember these numbers; that’s why all websites will use a domain name. Domain names are very cheap, usually less than $15 per year.
Web Hosting
Another term that is associated with starting your website is web hosting. You can think of a web host as a landlord for the internet.

  • A web host will set you up some space on the internet and, after agreeing to their terms, will hand you the keys to your rented ‘home’.
  • Once you are given the keys (login information), you can ‘move in’, aka start to upload files, pictures, and any other information you would like.
  • As long as you pay your ‘rent’, or annual hosting fees, you will be able to maintain your home.

It’s very important to have a good web host. You want to have an extremely high amount of uptime. Uptime is the amount of time the server is online. If your hosting server is offline, your website won’t load. Website hosting can vary in price, but you want to make sure you decide on a quality hosting service.
There can be other cost factors that come with starting a website. There will be various times during the year that your website will need maintenance. Depending on how your website is built, these updates take anywhere from an hour to several days.  An important thing to realize is how important maintenance to your website is. Several things can go wrong if you are unsure of what you are doing. Some of these things are:

  • Loss of important files that can lead to expensive recovery options, or even permanent loss
  • Updates installed into the wrong areas, causing more problems/errors
  • Loopholes that can allow hackers into your website
  • Website crashing

At Dooley & Associates, we provide the highest level of web development services. You will not have to worry because we will be there for you during any of these issues. We can also help you set up proper web hosting, and ensure you get a great domain name. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about starting up a website. We would love to help!