When you browse for websites on the internet your browser communicates with web servers via their IP address. Methods have been devised to assign human readable names or hostnames to ip addresses. On a local windows or linux computer this translation can be accommodated in what’s called a host file. On most windows systems the hosts file is located in c:windowssystem32driversetc directory; on Linux or Unix servers the hosts file is commonly stored in the /etc directory.
If I asked “Have you ever been to Disney World?” more than likely you would associate Disney World with the theme park in Florida and you would know would quickly be able to respond either yes or no. But if I said “Have you ever been to 3111 World Drive in Orlando, Florida?” It would not be as easy for you to identify that I was referring to Disney World. You might be able to figure it out, but which is easier to use? In the internet world, 3111 World Drive would be the same as an IP address and Disney World would be the hostname. If you were to equate this to how the internet works, web hosting would be the equivalent of the real estate that Disney world sits on. When you purchase a website domain name, you must have internet real estate (website hosting) for your website to reside on, and conversely if you had website hosting without a domain name then no one would know where to go to access your website.
If you wanted your computer to look for www.npsis.com using the ip address 192.168.20.34, you would make an entry in your hostfile. The hostfile contains entries that look like this: 192.168.20.34 www.npsis.com. When you access the website www.npsis.com using your web browser, your computer would look for the ip address 192.168.65.14.
For hostname to IP translation on the internet the DNS (Domain Name System) is commonly used. When you type www.npsis.com or the name of your website design store or the website name of your company, your computer contacts a DNS server to find out what IP address goes with the domain name or URL that you entered. Whether you are setting up website on a webserver or an email server you need a domain name.
It is important when selecting your website address that you pick a name that is easy to remember. The domain name should also reflect what your business does. For example the website address tomsgarage.com gives you a pretty good idea of what tom does for a living and its very easy to remember. You can also reserve multiple related domain names and point them at your website address as well. Have your website design store help you to incorporate several relevant key words into your website design and point all of your relevant website addressees at your website (i.e. wefixtires.com, bestlocaltireshop.com, toms-tires.com).
Website domain names are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. So if you have an idea for the perfect website address, you should reserve it before you’re your good idea is taken by somebody else. There are many companies and individuals who potentially popular domain names and resell them for a profit.
If you are dealing with a website design store or a web designer you will want to absolutely make sure that you own the domain name and not them. When you purchase a domain name yourself you better protect yourself from predators looking to take advantage of you.