A web host may or may not offer domain registration as an additional service, but even though “web hosting” and “domain names” are two completely different things, they have a lot of overlap. Let’s start by considering domain names—every single one has a record available to the public. This record holds basic personal data like the name of the person registering it, address, phone number, expiration date and so on. This is the “Whols (WHOIS) record,” and it is required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to ensure the WHOIS record is correct, updated and available. It is very straightforward for anyone to do a WHOIS query.
It should come as no surprise that many people are wary of such personal information being made available—especially if all you did was register a domain name to show off your cat meme pictures. Not everyone who conducts a WHOIS lookup has honorable intentions. A spammer, identity thief, or hacker can also do this. There are even some businesses that keep a close eye on when a domain will expire, and when the deadline is approaching they send faux renewal emails to “steal” the desirable domain name, money or other information.
What’s a Host Got to Do With This?
Some people prefer to have their web host and domain name registration in one central location. This is especially convenient if you will have subdomains, since managing them can be done in the control panel. You may think of setting a subdomain as a simple, quick test (and it should be), and this will become just one less task to tick off your list.
However, bandwidth is an even more critical aspect to consider when shopping for a host. This tells you the maximum amount of information that can be transferred by your host—it is most often measured in seconds. Do not confuse this with “data transfer.” Unlike bandwidth, your data transfer is the actual bandwidth consumption. In other words, the actual amount of data that is being transferred is “data transfer,” but the speed (or lack thereof in some cases) is the bandwidth.
Both of these are a big deal when choosing a host, but these days the data transfer costs are usually very low throughout nearly all hosting companies. You should still check, but for the most part only websites which require serious downloading, like legal movie downloading sites, should pay uber close attention to the data transfer and bandwidth.
Not the NWA Song
No, “FTP” is not an acronym for that NWA song. It means “file transfer protocol,” and it is what actually transfers files between two computers via the Internet. There are many clients who can do this, like Cute FTP, and a Webmaster probably has a strong preference for a particular one. You need an FTP client in order to download or upload files via your server. Some of the most popular FTP clients are FileZilla, coreFTP and SmartFTP.
In the tech world, it is dubbed an FTP “client,” but that can be misleading. It is actually referring to the process of connecting “your” server (whether dedicated or not) via FTP, and then letting you browse/transfer files online with ease.