To have a functional website that users can find and identify with your bank or credit union, you need both a domain and a bank web hosting service. In this blog, we’ll define domain and web hosting and how they work in conjunction with each other.

  1. What is a domain?
  2. What is web hosting?


What is a domain?

When you established your bank or union, one of the first items on your agenda was probably thinking of a name. The name needed to be unique so people wouldn’t confuse your bank with another company. It had to be descriptive so people would understand what products and services you offered. The name needed to be memorable and recognizable so people could recall it easily.

Your domain is the name of your bank website. It should preferably be your company name or your name along with an identifiable descriptor if your company name is not available. While related, the domain is not the same as the universal resource locator (also known as the URL or web address) or the internet protocol (IP) address.

The URL contains the domain, which is the most easily recognizable piece of it. If you look at this blog’s URL in your browser, is the domain name. The information before and after the domain identifies the specific web page.

As implied by the name, the IP address is the location of the computer or server on the internet that hosts your website. Because the IP address consists of a string of numbers, e.g. 555.55.55.55, the domain is a user-friendly identifier that points to the IP address.

You need to purchase and register your domain name with a domain host to make sure it’s available and can’t be used by anyone else. The domain host manages your domain and associates your name with email, websites, and other internet services.

For more information, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) provides a Beginner’s Guide to domain names to help you every step of the way.


What is web hosting?

As we mentioned earlier, the domain name points to the IP address where your website resides. A bank web hosting service provides a centralized location to store all the elements that make up your website, such as text, images, files, and videos. The physical server on which these components are saved is called a web host.

When selecting a web hosting service for your bank, be aware of the different types of hosting available. You will also need to understand some technical terms associated with web hosting. You can learn more about web hosting in our blog “Web Hosting Basics for Your Bank.”


Final Words

To help you understand the difference between a domain and web hosting, imagine your bank website is a house, and all the files and data are the materials used to build it. The web hosting service is the lot upon which your house is built. The domain is the street address that allows users to find your house.

Some web hosting services can also host your domain, but best practice is to have a separate domain host. That way, if you ever want to change bank web hosting services, you retain full, immediate control of your domain. Otherwise, you might experience delays or issues waiting for your web hosting service to release your domain to you.

Although BankSITE® Services is not a third-party domain registrar, we offer superior web hosting services for banks. We guarantee 100% uptime and 24/7 security monitoring so your bank website is always available to current and potential customers. Contact us today to learn more.

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