HomeBusinessDomain and hosting: what they are and what are the differences

Domain and hosting: what they are and what are the differences

  • Customer Experience
  • Caching , Caching Client , Caching server , CDN , Domain , Ergonet, Hosting , Hosting provider , Memcached , Opcache , Redis , types of caching , TTFB , Varnish Cache , speed up website

Launching your own online business requires great preparation and knowledge of the subject. To have the hoped-for success and rank among the top search engine results, even before carrying out the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) activity , it is necessary to start from the basics of creating a website , that is hosting and domain. 

What is a hosting and what a domain: differences and similarities

Hosting and domain are the very first building blocks of a website. However, usually being sold together, there is often a lot of confusion about their roles and differences. First of all, therefore, it is necessary to give a precise definition of hosting : this term means the rental service of a web space within a server made available by a figure known as a hosting provider. Hosting, therefore, is the physical and virtual space in which a website is created and developed: this is a fundamental service to allow all the pages and contents of a site to be reachable online.

The domain is decidedly different : it is, in fact, the name of a website, that is the internet address that users must type in order to reach the desired site. Registering your own domain therefore means exclusively ensuring the use of that specific internet address. This operation does not necessarily require the rental of a hosting: in fact, you can “block” a certain name without creating a website.

The differences between hosting and domain , therefore, are evident: using a metaphor, in fact, we could say that the first is the physical space of the house while the second is its street address.

When choosing a domain, you need to find a unique combination between the domain name, what is called the second level domain and the extension after the dot, called the top level domain (or also TLD, Top Level Domain) .

For example, assuming a domain with the name www.nomesito.it

1) sitename is the second level domain

2) .it which is commonly called an extension is the TLD or top level domain

Why resort to the support of an expert for their management

Being the two fundamental building blocks for the creation of a website, taking care of the hosting and the domain is a fundamental step to position yourself among the first results of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) . Choosing an unreliable hosting provider, for example, could have very serious repercussions on the authority of a website: for this reason it is necessary to rely on online brands that are synonymous with reliability and professionalism.

In order to better manage hosting and your domain it is necessary to rely on expert figures who, thanks to their skills, know how to choose the best solution: an SEO specialist , in fact, knows well the importance of relying on a stable hosting, fast and always available in assisting his customers, as well as he knows how the domain can play a fundamental role in terms of ranking given the possibility of applying the best SEO strategies right from the name of the site.

The choice of the best hosting provider where to host your website is fundamental, there are critical aspects in the choice, the first of all concerns the caching solutions that the provider is able to offer; but there are others too, let’s discover them together.

Caching: what is it for and how important is it to take care of this aspect?

Speed ​​is one of the most important factors in defining the quality of a website and the user experience that users can experience by connecting to it. A fast site is considerably more pleasant to visit than a slow one and entices users to come back. Not only that, speed is one of the main parameters used by Google to position a website on search engines. The quicker and more responsive a site is, the greater the chances of finding it in the top positions of the search page and thus benefiting from the resulting visibility.

The cache is a temporary way to store frequently accessed data. It is a way to store reusable responses and to speed up subsequent requests.

Caching = faster loading of pages and website

There are 2 different types of Caching

Client-side caching

Client-side caching takes place on visitors’ browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Edge, etc ..). When someone visits your site, their browser creates and stores the cache.

When users make subsequent requests for cached content, these requests are then fulfilled by a cache instead of returning to the server, where the content was originally stored.

Server-side caching

Since client-side caching takes place on your visitors’ browsers, you have no control over it. But you can check what happens on your server. How to make a site faster? The caching and in particular the cache server allow to increase the performance of the portal, making it faster and to respect the parameters of Google under the aspect of “reactivity” (find out all the details on the new parameters that distinguish Page Experience Update ).

Caching: what it is and how it can speed up the site

When you connect us to a site, regardless of whether you do it from mobile or desktop, the portal is temporarily saved in the cache to speed up the loading of content for all subsequent attempts to access the portal. In fact, a site is made up of various elements (images, videos, HTML pages, etc.), some heavier than others. And which require greater expenditure in terms of bandwidth. Caching by storing copies of the files requested by the user speeds up the whole process .

The cache server or web accelerator is therefore an effective solution to make the site even more responsive.

Caching: the different types

There are several advanced website page caching techniques. The objective of this article is not a technical and in-depth discussion but only to give some indications that can help you in the general understanding.

The key thing to understand is that server-side caching systems are different from web browser-based caching processes related to a site’s HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and multimedia resource files. Each site has different needs for structure, number of visitors and other factors. Likewise, each hosting provider offers different solutions. And selecting the most suitable ones base on the characteristics of the site is of paramount importance.

So let’s see in quick overview some of the most common types of caching. And present in the offers of the various hosting providers:

Varnish Cache

The Varnish cache server is a very popular open source project for its simplicity. And specially developed for the HTTP protocol . Varnish does not require excessive code work and uses its own language called the Varnish Configuration Language ( VCL ). Varnish cache server operates in the background. And saves as many web pages as possible in the temporary memory for each request. The software favors the most visited ones in order to make them usable as quickly as possible.

In the case of SEO Leader as hosting provider I chose Ergonet and I was able to personally experience the benefits of this advanced website page caching solution which is great for high traffic sites such as e-commerce.


Memcached is a PHP extension designed to keep important frequently used MySQL database information active in the RAM memory of a web server in order to reduce the time it takes to process website traffic requests. The advantage? Memcached works as a PHP extension which may or may not be installed on shared hosting plans by default depending on the service provider. Using Memcached on websites will require more RAM resources than those generally provided by shared hosting plans for the websites of the most common CMSs.


Redis is an open source caching system developed in Italy. In this case all data is save in the main memory of the server and not on disk or SSD. This feature allows him to access site data in a few microseconds. And thus reduce the time needed to search for them. Redis is a highly scalable tool capable of supporting an above-average amount of operations with a faster response capacity.

For example in my personal experience with Ergonet I tried (since it was included in the plan) to implement Redis instead of Varnish, to see if there were any improvements.


Opcache is a cache that when a PHP script is executed for the first time it first translates it into the opcode language. And then saves it in the shared memory. Later, every time the script is cal, there will be no need to run it again as it has already been store. This procedure alone allows to significantly reduce the loading times of a website, especially if the access requests are numerous, but it must be supporte by a quality hosting provider .

When choosing a page caching solution for a website, the best approach is to use a layered approach that includes PHP files, databases, and process utilities.

Some solutions are easier to implement (for example OPcache and Memcach)on shared web hosting platforms, while others are reserve for solutions with dedicat hosting.

Each CMS (eg WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) must be configure to support the caching solution subscribe to by the hosting provider . This aspect is delicate and highlights how the choice of a hosting provider is not to be trivialize. And an SEO specialist should also be able to suggest where best to host the website. And how to optimize its performance.

Consequently, economizing on hosting providers is wrong; the owners of high traffic websites should invest in customized Varnish Cache or Redis solutions to make WordPress, Drupal, Joomla perform. And therefore not be satisfie with solutions from a few tens of euros a year but move towards more structure and cutting-edge solutions.

In general, as explained in the article in which I talked about the new Google Page Experience Update algorithm. And the Core Web Vitals metrics, the best performances will require HTML, CSS. And JavaScript compression of the web pages produced by the CMS, as well as optimal compression of all the files of image.

Finally, an additional layer of caching can be add via Content delivery networks (CDN) support such as CloudFlare, which will automatically distribute cache copies of web pages to data centers around the world. To minimize the distance between visitors. And your website server, a CDN stores a cache version of its content in multiple geographic locations. On the surface it may seem like a panacea, but it should be used with caution especially if you are implementing a local SEO or national SEO strategy. Content delivery networks (CDN) in fact, if you manage a strictly localize website, it produces few advantages.

To what has been said about caching we must add a parameter not yet mention the TTFB.

A fundamental parameter in the loading time of the website is the so-called TTFB (time to first byte). The latter measures the response time of the server , i.e. how long it takes to transfer the first byte to the browser. A value of 100/200 ms (milli seconds) is considered ideal but frequently it is around 300-500 ms; with even higher values ​​in cheap hosting providers. TTFB does n’t really determine how fast the site is but rather how responsive it is to user requests . A higher response time, on the other hand, is synonymous with a poorly performing site.

Caching is therefore useful for increasing the speed of any site but cannot be separate from a quality hosting provider . Economic solutions may seem tempting at first glance but obviously a higher price allows you to access advance functions.

Hosting Provider: what aspects to consider when choosing in addition to Caching

These are the aspects that I consider fundamental in choosing a hosting provider:

  • Presence of SSD: Solid State Drive (SSD) technology provides much faster data access times. SSD-based hosting provider servers are prefer for improving the performance of your website and investing in your business.
  • Presence of unlimited hosting space
  • Presence of WFA (Web Firewall Application). And malware prevention solutions to avoid serious problems that impact on the safety of visitors first and on business continuity.
  • Presence of automatic backup plans on a daily, weekly and on demand basis
  • Free SSL certificates: trivial to say, but better always make sure
  • SLA and Quality of Support: Support is key. The presence of a telephone number to contact in case of problems is essential. Being able to count on support even on the weekend personally makes the difference in choosing the hosting provider.
  • Resources and scalability: vCpu, RAM etc ..: not always declared or difficult to compare between different hosting providers. The presence of a greater number of resources is always and only an advantage; equally important is scalability.
  • Shared vs dedicated hosting: sizing the project correctly is essential. Dedicated hosting is the exclusive use of a server that will host your website. It is a more expensive choice which, depending on the type of project. And the estimated traffic, is the best choice for the performance and control it offers. Shared hosting is usually the best solution if you’ve never follow a website. And at least initially don’t expect high traffic.

What do I consider to be the best hosting providers?

In my projects or in those I have followed I have dealt with over 40 different hosting providers (national and international), to date my first choice remains Ergonet but I consider very valid hosting providers such as VHosting, Kinsta, Keliweb, Host.it, Serverplan . Certainly there are others that I am not mentioning of high value.

Do you need to manage a domain and hosting? Keep in touch

There is a very famous aphorism by Leonardo da Vinci “Details make perfection and perfection is not a detail”. An SEO project in its complexity cannot be limit only to the drafting of new content. SEO copywriting is important but to be first on Google or more generally to achieve. And consolidate a good ranking on Google it is necessary to take care of all the details.

The choice of the correct hosting provider. And the domain name and even its extension (the TLD, Top-level domain) are delicate. And complex aspects in which an SEO consultant must know how to orient himself and make a difference. Having a website of your own business is a necessary requirement forobtain the maximum possible visibility. And increase profits exponentially. If you are launching your business online and want to rely on certain technical skills, SEO Leader is the ideal solution: thanks to the experience gained in this sector, I accompany companies towards intelligent digital development, increasing the popularity of the brand, its products and of its services.

SEO Leader a partner for your online success

Do you want to receive qualified traffic from Google and increase visibility and conversions?
Contact me and we will build a successful business

Do you want to receive qualified traffic from Google and increase visibility and conversions?

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