Key Technical Website Terms Your Business Needs to Know

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Member Insights by The Media Captain

If you don’t work in the technology or digital sector, you might not know the difference between your host, domain registrar and MX-Records.

If you are a small business owner, you might not think technical terms, such as knowing the difference between a CNAME record and MX Record, is relevant to your line of work. If you own a business, you likely own a domain name and have a website. Even if you are outsourcing IT and website work to an outside firm or handling the website management internally, it is important for you to be able to differentiate these key terms.

Domain Registrar

A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.

To put in layman’s terms, the domain registrar is where your domain name lives. When I purchased themediacaptain.com in 2010, I bought it on GoDaddy for $10.

I’m sure a lot of readers are familiar with GoDaddy. If you purchase your domain name through GoDaddy, they are your official domain registrar.

In order to take a website live, you need to point the domain name to where the website files are located.

You can point domains to your servers by pointing a domain name’s primary (“@”) A record to a server’s public IP address. This will change your domain name’s DNS settings and change the server to which the domain name points. Only make this change once the website hosted on your server is ready.

There is a great illustration from  websitehostingsecretrevealed.net that perfectly explains the website hosting process.

The house = the hosting since everything resides inside of the house. The furniture equals the data files as this is the key piece of information inside of the house. The address is your domain. This tells the post office where your house (or domain name, for this analogy) is parked.

According to website.com, web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or a web page onto the internet. A web host, or a web site hosting provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the internet. Websites are hosted or stored on special computers called servers.

If you purchase your website on GoDaddy, they have hosting packages. This is nice so your domain and hosting can be kept under the same umbrella. With one login credential, you can access both.

GoDaddy does offer hosting options, which is nice if you want to keep everything underneath one umbrella. We recommend WP Engine for our clients who use WordPress due to the fast site load speed time and the optimization features for WordPress. WP Engine keeps sites fast, scalable and secure.

Our web development team has used Magento, BlueHost, In-Motion Hosting, Host Gator. If you’d like to view the most popular website hosting platforms, you can check out this site.

If you receive under 10,000 visitors to your site per month, you can expect to pay between $15 – $30 per month for website hosting.

Email Hosting

A mail exchanger record (MX record) is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System that specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient’s domain, and a preference value used to prioritize mail delivery if multiple mail servers are available.

Your email needs a place to live, which is separate from your website hosting.

Devearan created a great list of the top 5 places to host your email.

1. ZoHo Mail
2. Google Apps for Work

  1. BigRock
  2. Office 365 Business Essentials
    5. AtmailFor business purposes, you need to make sure that you set-up your email that uses your domain name. ProBlogger lists out all of the steps needed to take this crucial step to legitimize your business of associating your email with a domain.

To make a long story short, you need to associate your MX Records, which are tied to your email, with your domain registrar so the email provider is able to see the correlation.

Stay Organized

It is really important to keep on record the date that your domain name expires along with your website hosting and email information. For all of the domain registrars that we’ve worked with, there is the option for automatic payment. The only issue is that if your credit card gets compromised and you forget to update your information with the domain registrar, there is a chance your domain name could expire. Make sure to keep an email on file for someone who will be responsible to receiving emails about important updates, like an invalid credit card and key dates for domain renewal.

If you are a business owner, always keep tight records of your domain registrar, hosting and email hosting. Those are the keys to the castle in terms of operating your website.