goffgrafix.com website design and programming

How does it all fit together?

Do you find yourself scratching your head wondering what is the difference between HOSTING, ISP (internet service provider) and DOMAIN REGISTRATION? and How it all fits together? Here is a simple diagram to try to explain what this internet lingo means.

Imagine the Internet is a HUGE MALL.  How you choose to get to that mall is your INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER or ISP. You could choose to drive a sports car, ride a bike, walk, take the train. There are many different options to get to the mall, just as there are many different ISP options: dial up, satellite, cable, T-1 line. Similar to when you're visiting a real mall, you can decide how much you want to spend to get there. How you get there is your responsibility.

-The internet is a MALL.
-The ISP is your transportation to the MALL.
-The monthly bill you pay your ISP is like your car payment or commuter pass.




Now one day you decide to rent space at the INTERNET MALL for your own store. The rent you pay the landlord is your HOSTING. The mall provides you space for your store, your HOSTING COMPANY provides you with SPACE on the INTERNET. You may want to rent window space in a store, or have your own 3000 square foot mega-complex. Just like the numerous options at the mall, there are numerous hosting options depending on what you need.

-The hosting company is your landlord.
-Your monthly hosting fee is your rent.


You need a name for your store. You find a name that no one else is using and you go to your town hall to register your business name. At the registry you put your contact information, and the location of your business. And you pay an annual registration fee. A DOMAIN REGISTRY provider is like a town hall . You need to find a domain name that no-one else is using, and you need to register it at a registrar, just like at the town hall (and you need to pay an annual fee for the registration). The only thing the registrar does is keep a record of the name, who owns it, and where the business is located.

The CONTENTS of your new store is your WEB SITE.

Once you design your web site, you put all the content into your hosting space. You still need your ISP to get to the hosting space to view your site. (Just like you still need your car to drive to the mall to see your store.)

If you decide to move to another hosting space, maybe you upgrade to a bigger better facility (or find a landlord who includes utilities with your rent), you need to go to the Town Hall - or domain registry - to notify them that your store is in a new place.

The way the internet works is: when you type a business name (domain name) into your browser, the internet goes to different town halls (registries) to find out if the store exists and where it is located, and then it drives on over to view it.



Most hosting comes with something called mail POP accounts. With a pop account you can get mail at yourname@yourdomain.com.

If you envision your store at the mall, what this means is that mail is delivered to your business at the store. You have mail arriving at the store for you, for your employees, for your children, if you so wish. You still need to drive to the mall to get your mail, (or you need your email software- outlook, eudora, mail - to jump into your ISP transportation and drive there for you to collect it.)

Another option is to have the mail that is delivered to your business at the mall then be forwarded to your ISP email account. yourname@aol.com, for example. I do not recommend this, though. It is better to set up POP accounts and not forward the mail.


The reason why this all becomes SO CONFUSING sometimes, is that different companies multi-task. Your internet service provider also provides you with an email account. Your domain registrar might also offer hosting, or email. Your hosting company might register domain names for you. It all gets tangled up.

At goffgrafix.com, in order to simplify for my customers, I offer web site design, web site hosting, and I can register domain names . However, there are still three components to what is happening behind the scenes. I am designing your store content (web site) based on your specifications. I have a dedicated server (my own building at the mall - and by the way, one of the best buildings out there) that I sublet space in, and I run to the local town hall for you and register your business name.

I hope this was helpful. Please contact me with feedback.

Heather Goff

Resource Box

©Heather Goff .
Heather Goff has been programming and designing web sites since 1997. Visit http://www.goffgrafix.com for useful resources and affordable web site design and hosting. mailto:hgoff@goffgrafix.com


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