One of the most important benefits of hiring a professional web development company is that you don’t have to worry about the nuts and bolts of your website. I constantly tell my clients, don’t worry about the technology, just do your job and I’ll handle the web!
This is great, but you should have at least a baseline knowledge of things like domain registrars and hosting.
You must either own your own name or have your web developer purchase it on your behalf. You never really “purchase” your domain it’s more like renting it. Through “Domain Registrars” you can rent your domain for X number of years and set up auto renews on those rental agreements so you never lose it.
Examples: GoDaddy (recommended), Network Solutions, Name Cheap… this could go on forever.
Pricing: This is a low cost item ranging anywhere from $10-$50/year.
Your hosting account (or server) is where the files for your website and database actually live. This is literally a computer somewhere that is optimized to “serve” your website up to the world.
Here are the logistics: you register your domain, point the domains DNS towards your server, then your server tells incoming traffic which files to show for that specific domain. All this happens when someone clicks a link to come to your website!
Hosting is extremely important to your website, it needs to be flexible, reliable, and fast! Many companies like the domain registrar companies above will offer low cost hosting plans that end up crushing your website and it’s possibilities. These companies put thousands of websites on a “shared server” and then let those websites fight for resources. Also, all of these websites have the same IP (backend address), so if you have a bad neighbor on these servers they can get that IP blacklisted. More on blacklisting later, let’s just say it’s bad.