When working with people new to owning and managing websites it can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming to explain the difference between a hosted website and domain registration. Yet understanding the relationship between the two is important; as the website owner could accidentally forget to renew their domain name or cancel their hosting accounts. Next time the need to explain domains and hosting to a client try using these analogies:
A domain name is like a business license, it tells people what your business is called and the hosting account is like your place of business. Just like a business license, you need to renew your domain name before it expires in order to keep it; usually every year or two. At the same time, you need to keep paying your rent or there won’t be a building for your clients/customers to come to.
Your domain name is like a business card, it tells the internet what your address is so that people can find your office (hosting account).
You have all your supplies, furniture and products moved into the building you are renting but no one knows where your business is located. Your mail keeps going to the old building, so you file a change of address with the post office. Your domain is like the change of address card, it tells the web how to find your building which is your hosting account.