If you can understand this analogy, it will save you technical headaches with your domains, hosting and email.

Hosting, domains, emails, do you really understand it all? I mean, who cares really, as long as it all works, right?

Exactly. Until it doesn’t work. Then it helps if you at least understand it a little bit.

The role of the domain registrar in your life.

Do you own a domain? Then you have a domain registrar in your life. Shocking, I know. Why do you care? Here’s what they do:

  • Point your domain: Where’s your website hosted? Your email? Same place? Like the post office and a forwarding service, they’re going to tell the mailman where you live.
  • Manage your domain: Sure, it’s yours on paper, but like city hall in that the deed is technically filed there.
  • Renew your domain: Oops, up for renewal? Who’s going to renew that for you?

Get all that? Let’s get back to the post office.

Let’s say a piece of mail arrives at the post office for you. Based on the address on the envelope, complete with street name and number and zip code, they know to get it to you at that address.

Similar with a domain. Someone types in www.yourdomain.com and it’s like that request goes to the post office who knows that your house, your website, is hosted with XYZ Hosting Company and it will send your traffic there.

What if it’s email? Same process. It’s headed to [email protected] and the post office routes it to your email hosting company (maybe this is the same as your website, maybe it’s hosted by something like Google Apps for Work. Whatever the case, it’s set up at the domain registrar and the email will figure out where it’s hosted.

Make sense? See how this is important? See how this can get confusing when you change your email hosting provider? Or switch hosting companies? In the hosting case, the host is more like the apartment building manager an you have an apartment there (your website). The post office will point your domain to your new home.

If you don’t tell the post office you moved, your site might not load. That’s why you care about the post office and your domain registrar.