Common Question: What are Hosts and Why Do I Need Them?

7 Jun 2016

 

Owning a website is somewhat like working a jigsaw puzzle. There are many different pieces needed to build the total picture. Among the pieces are "hosts". You will need to have both a website host and a domain host. Sometimes the same company will host both site and domain. There is pro and con about that.

 

A website host  -- often called webhost -- is a company that provides space for your website on their servers (computers) so that your website can operate well and be seen on everyone's cell phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.  Wix is a webhost, as are some of the other companies named in the photo above.

 

When you have De*WriteSites build your website, you will have an account in your name on the Wix webhosting company. Your Wix account provides the editing tools for adding new content to your website, changing or adding pictures, and many other cool features. It also provides you with tech support in multiple ways. Wix is like your best friend online. 

 

Wix will email you a renewal notice every year so you can keep your website operating on the internet. If you pay for more than a year of hosting at a time, you will get your renewal notice at least 30 days prior to the expiration date. 

 

A domain host -- also called a domain registrar -- is a company that sells and maintains your internet address, also known as the website domain. No doubt you have heard of GoDaddy.  They are primarily a domain registrar company.

 

If you have been thinking about doing a website for a while, you may have already purchased a domain name from, for example, GoDaddy. When De*WriteSites builds your website, the domain (which is living in your account at GoDaddy) will need to be connected to your Wix account. You will need to keep both your GoDaddy and your Wix accounts active.

 

Now here's the tricky part. That connection can be done in a couple ways.

 

 

1. DNS Settings

 

You can change the DNS (domain name server) settings at your domain host account so that the domain remains hosted where you originally bought it, but so that visitors are seamlessly taken to your Wix-hosted site. 

 

This is a very common method. Wix gives you the right settings to use. All you need to do is copy and paste them in the appropriate place over at your domain host account. The connection then is usually nearly immediate, but can take up to 48 hours on some browsers.

 

 

2. Transfer the Domain to Wix

 

Some solopreneurs like to have both the webhost and the domain host to be the same company -- Wix, in this case. If you haven't yet purchased a domain name, no problem.  You can get your domain from Wix after you upgrade your account to a premium plan. Wix will even give you a year of domain hosting free / included in your webhosting premium plan.

 

But if you want to move your domain from its original host -- for example again, GoDaddy -- over to Wix so you have the convenience of everything in one place and get just one renewal bill, this is possible.

 

NOTE -- I recommend NOT transferring the domain until you have already changed the DNS settings (see #1 above), because transferring a domain can take 7-10 days. That's a long time for a domain to not be connecting with your website if you are relying on the internet to increase your client load. If the domain is already connected via method #1 above, there is no interruption for possible website visitors.

 

Wix has instructions on how to transfer your domain from another host. If you follow them exactly there should be no problem. And tech support at Wix and at your original domain host can assist you in getting this done.

 

 

Keeping your domain host separate 

 

Many techies advocate keeping a domain host separate from a webhost. I do this with several of my sites and domains. The reasoning is that it may add a layer of security, in case your webhost unexpectedly goes out of business or is difficult to deal with.

 

I've had to deal with solopreneurs who have been in that position because their former website development company was acting as domain and site host, and began to neglect their small website accounts. My clients didn't have access to their own accounts except for paying the bills, and their hosting companies were very uncooperative, virtually holding them hostage for many weeks due to their unresponsiveness.

 

This is not how De*WriteSites operates, and it's not how Wix operates, either, so you are safe having your site and domain both hosted at Wix.

 

 

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