June 20, 2019

Domains, Hosting & SSL’s Explained

Date published (June 20, 2019)
Category (Web)
Read time (4)
The author
(Leigh Ericksen)

We are often asked by clients what the difference between domains, hosting and SSL Certificates are. Most clients are not aware that it takes multiple components to make their new website accessible to the world. We will explain the difference between all the components necessary to get your website live!


What are Domain Names?

Your domain name is your unique place on the internet. To put it into a practical perspective, think of it as a street address. It needs to be specific for people to be able to accurately find where you are.  This is why its referred to as a web address.  It’s often the first point of call on marketing materials so it needs to be short and memorable.

You are probably wondering what the purpose of these are?

The Internet is basically a giant web of computers on a network. To identify each on they have what we call IP addresses.

IP Addresses look like this

Computers have no issues remembering these numbers, however, us humans prefer something a little more memorable. Here lies the purpose of Domain names.

Domain names are typically made up of a business, cause or club name which is easy to identify as opposed to remembering the websites IP address.

What is web hosting?

Your website is comprised of a series of files. These files need to be stored on a computer which can be accessible by the internet. Think of hosting as a house where you store all your belongings (or files in this case).

Your hosting can have a few variable factors, such as how big it is and how much traffic can come in and out of it each month. This is usually set to a default and can be negotiated depending on your websites needs.

In most cases, the term “web hosting” refers to a company who rents out their computers/servers that are stored in data centres. The companies are also responsible for maintenance of these machines and in most cases can provide an uptime guarantee, backups, configurations, and disaster recovery.

For most cases, these hosting companies will handle server maintenance work, such as backup, root configuration, maintenance, disaster recoveries, and so on. This is a service Stoke Design Co can also help facilitate.


Ok, so what’s an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is that Little green lock you see on most websites today which adds an extra layer of protection for your website visitors. Ever noticed how some websites begin with http:// and some with https://?

You’ve most likely noticed it when on shopping websites or websites that require you to input sensitive information. HubSpot has produced a great video below explaining these certificates:

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” which doesn’t mean much to a lot of people but plays a very important role. To put it simply, it is a tiny file of code that helps encrypt the connection between the user’s computer and the website hosting preventing people being able to listen in to details such as credit card numbers, contact details and email addresses.

Having an SSL is also great for your SEO According to Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bhajji, SSL is now part of Google’s search ranking algorithm:

“Over the past few months, we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

Google has publicly mentioned that if two identical websites appeared in Google, one with an SSL, one without. The one with the SSL will gain a slight ranking boost to outweigh the other.

Where do I find all these things?

You need all three of these components for your website to work. At Stoke Design Co we can take the stress out of managing these components by providing a number of care plans suited to your business. Please be sure to get in touch if you would like to discuss how we may be able to provide these services to you.