Let's face it, as web professions, when we ask most small business owners who hosts their website, the most common response is either, "I have no idea..." or "An ex-employee of mine set it up years ago and we can't get in touch with him/her." Honestly, most of the small business owners we've interviewed only expect things to work. Who hosts their website and how it works isn't a real concern.
But as web professionals, it's our job to know how to find these answers, even if the client doesn't know.
If you want to know how to find out who hosts your website, you can use WHOIS to find the host information.
WHOIS is a lookup service that will tell who registered the domain, where it's registered, the status, and what the Domain Name Server is.
What if the website is privately registered?
Private registration masks who registered the domain. The benefits of this is to conceal the owner of the domain. Even if a domain has registered privately, you will still be able to use WHOIS to determine the hosting provider.
You are the Registrant if you are the owner of the domain. A Registrant is an individual or company that made the purchase of the domain.
A Registrar, for example, GoDaddy, is an organization that has the authority to issue a domain name license to a Registrant. If you registered a domain with Podgily, you would have purchased the domain from WildWestDomains.
What is a Domain Name Server (DNS)?
Information from all domain name servers across the Internet are gathered together and housed at the Central Registry. Host companies and Internet Service Providers interact with the Central Registry on a regular schedule to get updated DNS information.
When you type in a website, www.mycoolwebsite.com, your Internet Service Provider views the DNS associated with the domain name and translate it by getting the IP address and directs your connection to the correct website address.
What is the different between a Domain Name and a Top-Level Domain?
A domain name is essentially the domain you registered, for example, mycoolwebsite.com. A Top-Level Domain (TLD) refers to the last portion of your domain name, often times referred to as the domain extension, .COM, .ORG, and .NET.