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Web hosting vs. domain hosting

While closely related, web hosting and domain hosting are two different services. Web hosts store content, like a website, on internet servers. Domain hosts provide domain names, which are the addresses that help visitors access website content.

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

Web hosting

A web host provides the space where you display your site's content, like text, images, and videos. A web host doesn't necessarily provide the address visitors use to reach your site, like www.yourdomain.com.

When you build a site with Squarespace, Squarespace is your web host. This means that in addition to providing tools for creating and managing your content, we provide a place on the internet to display your 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, but it's not the content that visitors see when they visit your site.

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, and you'll manage your domain through them.

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.

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, visitors will see your Squarespace hosted web content while your domain is linked to your Squarespace site. Even if you use multiple domains, they'll all forward to a single primary domain. This is similar to how you can forward an email from one email address to another.

Paying for hosting

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

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Web hosting vs. domain hosting