Domain vs website: it’s like buying a home

The difference between a domain and a website is similar to ownership of the land and ownership of the house.

In real estate, you could own the land but not the house, and vice versa.

Put simply, a domain is land that you control. It has an address.

Most people build homes on the land they own. Online, these homes are called websites.

This brings to mind the concept of a “home page” which represents the first thing you’ll see when you visit the address.

Domain = your land

what is a domain

Unlike land, you can’t buy a domain in perpetuity.

You’ll have to lease it. Generally, most people pay at least $12 per year for a website.

Domain prices vary… a lot

Domain prices, like land, vary. The most valuable domains with short names have generally been bought already. If not, three-character domains (e.g. cost more, and even more costly are two-character domains (e.g. .

You can also buy domains with different endings such as

  • .com
  • .org
  • .ca
  • .sg

Some of these require you to have specific presence in a certain place, or have a businesses in specific areas. Costs also vary.

Privacy protection — if you don’t want to be in the Yellow Pages

Not every domain registrar offers privacy protection for free. Some want an additional payment for it.

My advice is to go to a registrar who will do it for free.

When I started my own website a few years ago, I didn’t have privacy protection. The next day, I got tons of phone calls, tons of emails asking me if I wanted to build a website.

Never again.

Once you have bought a domain, you can access it in your browser. But there’s nothing to see!

What can I do with a domain? Build a website on it!

Now that you have bought a domain, you can think about what you want to do with it.

You can put a mailbox on it and receive e-mail. You do not need a website for this.

But for the majority of people, you’d want to build a website on it so people can come visit.

a website is like a house on empty land

In order to get from an empty plot of land to home which someone can visit, you will need a designer to do the blueprints and design, then a developer to build it.

You can also get a general contractor to handle both aspects. If not, you’ll need to know the difference between a web developer and a web designer.

The more technically inclined people can build a website yourself with minimal running costs.

And just like building a home, it takes time. As the person with the vision of what you want, you have a major influence over the website’s build timelines. Who you hire will affect it greatly too. I outlined the separation of responsibilities here.

Have a project in mind?

Websites. Graphics. SEO-oriented content.

I can get your next project off the ground.

See how I have helped my clients.