While many professional bloggers build their businesses without understanding exactly how domain names, DNS, and your server work together to make your website accessible on the internet, it can be helpful to understand the differences:
- Domain registrar: The company you pay for your domain name. A registrar reserves your domain name for you for a set period of time.
- DNS provider: The company that directs your domain name to specific IP addresses to control where various services live (email, websites, FTP, etc.).
- Hosting company: The actual place where your website (and email) lives.
All three of these services can be offered by the same company. They can also be all different ... or any combination thereof. Most often, the domain registrar and DNS provider will be the same, but there's no reason they have to be.
For example, you might:
- Pay GoDaddy for your your domain name
- Login to Cloudflare to manage your DNS
- Host your website with Agathon
Or you can host your domain name and DNS with Agathon alongside your website to keep everything in one place. The choice is yours!
The only time this really matters is when migrating your site from one host to another. Depending on your provider's DNS settings, there may be a small delay in the migration process to ensure that readers are directed to the new site as soon as the switch is flipped (read more about the process here). But it's a minor consideration and one we can easily work around!