To make your website visible to people and to provide email requires several different services on an on-going basis. This blog post explains what these are and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of having these with one provider.
The domain name is the how your website will be found and is what people type into the address bar in their browser. E.g. For this website the domain name is f2b.co.uk. The domain name usually includes a ‘www’ prefix – e.g. www.f2b.co.uk
There are many different extensions that can be chosen – .co.uk typically for a UK based site/company, .com for a global one and many sector specific ones such as .tv, .accountant and .dental
The domain name also typically includes a ‘DNS service’. This is some special configuration data that specifies things such as the server your website is hosted on (see below) or the server your email service is provided on.
Website hosting is the service that powers your website. Historically this would be on standalone physical servers, whilst nowadays almost everything is ‘Cloud’ hosting. The servers used to power this are in dedicated data centres with advanced cooling, backup power and include high levels of physical security.
Common options for hosting include an SSL certificate, which we would recommend for all websites now. This helps to ensure that data is encrypted and securely transferred. Another important feature is backups – it’s important to ensure your hosting package includes these.
To provide a working email address on your website you typically would have an email mailbox, which allows you to both receive and send email. Alternatively, you can have mail forwarding – this service works by forwarding email from your website domain to an existing email address and only allows you to receive email.
Almost all email services include a ‘webmail’ option to allow you to send and receive email via a standard web browser, instead of your typical email client (e.g. Outlook) or mobile device.
Higher cost ‘Exchange’ email services, typically targeted at corporates, also include features such as calendar, shared mailboxes, tasks and more.
Single Provider vs Multiple Providers?
Often people decide to get their domain name, website hosting and email from a single provider. This makes things simpler as all billing is from one company. Importantly it also allows technical updates and changes to be done easily by your web developer/agency, plus provides streamlined support.
It is also possible to utilise multiple providers – e.g. buy your domain from one company, website hosting from another and email from another. This makes billing more complex as multiple companies are involved and increase the chances of missing something. Technical changes can become more complex and typically you, the client, would need to help with liaising between providers. For website hosting, there can also be security implications and often your website developer/agency will require you to use their hosting to allow updates to be applied easily. The advantage with multiple providers is that sometimes it can work out slightly cheaper – but the benefits often out way this (typically small) difference.
F2B Digital offer domain registration, website hosting and email services. If you’re not happy with your current provider or would like to discuss these in any way, please do contact us.