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Web hosting vs. domain hosting

Web hosting and domain hosting, though closely related, are two different services. Web hosts allow users to create and store content, like a website, on Internet servers. Domain hosts provide domain names, which help visitors access your web content.

This guide explains the difference between the two types of hosting.

Web hosting

If you think of your web content as a store, a web host provides the physical space where you display your store’s products—in this case, the text, images, videos and other content that make up your site.

When you build a site with Squarespace, Squarespace is your web host. We provide a place on the Internet to display your content, in addition to tools for creating and managing that content. Every Squarespace site is stored on our servers, similar to how physical stores rent space in a shopping mall.

Domain hosting

A domain host provides a domain name, like www.yourdomain.com, that visitors can use to find you. A domain name is like a street address that directs people to your website's location.

Domain hosts store domain names and facilitate their registration. If you’re using a domain registered through a third-party provider, like GoDaddy or Hover, they're your domain host.

When you create a Squarespace site, you're automatically assigned a built-in domain, like yoursite.squarespace.com. You can also transfer supported domains to Squarespace or register a new custom domain. All Squarespace Domains are hosted by our domain provider and host, Tucows.

How both hosts work together

You can connect one or more custom domains to your site by registering a Squarespace Domain, transferring a domain to Squarespace, or connecting a domain from a different provider.

No matter who hosts your domain, once your domain is connected to your Squarespace site, visitors to your domain name will see your web content hosted by Squarespace. This is true even if you use multiple domains, since all domains will forward to a single primary domain—much like you can forward mail from one address to another.

Paying for hosting

When you upgrade to a paid Squarespace plan, your plan includes web hosting. If you sign up for an annual billing plan, you're also eligible for one free custom domain for your first year. You can register additional domains through Squarespace for a fee.

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Web hosting vs. domain hosting