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What’s the difference between web hosting and email hosting?

What’s the difference between web hosting and email hosting?

I’m often asked to explain the difference between web and email hosting.

Web hosting is server space where your website lives. When someone types yourdomainname.com into their web browser the elders of the internet direct their browser to a web server and your website is served to them.

Email hosting is server space where your emails are stored. When someone sends an email to you@yourdomainname.com the elders of the email world send it to an email server and it’s stored there for you to look at.

Together or apart?

Traditionally smaller businesses had their web and email hosting on the same server, while larger organisations  had them split between dedicated web and email servers. Splitting the services like this used to mean you needed inhouse mail servers and IT staff but over the past few years many businesses have been getting the benefits of dedicated email hosting by utilising cloud services like Google Apps.

It’s pretty easy using the DNS system to set your domain name up so that it talks to one server for websites and another for emails.

Why use a dedicated email host?

  • Dedicated email hosting usually offers more storage space and better options for accessing email via web browsers and mobile devices than all-in-one hosting
  • Having lots of storage space means you never have to delete any emails so you can always see all of your messages and send emails from anywhere (from your your computer in the office, your phone while you’re on the road and your iPad at home, for example). This also means if your hard drive crashes you won’t lose all your emails.
  • Separating email means your web hosting server has more space, less load and can be optimised to serve your website fast and securely.

Steve is Go4's fearless leader. He designs, codes, project manages and wrestles with his inbox.