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What Is Domain Hosting?
The term domain hosting can be used as the equivalent of the term web hosting. It can also refer to an array of services that involve a domain name without an attached website. These include domain forwarding, domain masking (also called domain cloaking or URL masking), and domain parking. Not all web hosts offer all of these different types of domain hosting.
Domain forwarding refers to having a domain name point to a different domain name. The domain that is forwarded is not developed and has no existence of its own. This is a very useful device for a company with a name change, a company that becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of another company, and in cases in which there are common misspellings of the company URL, which the owner can register and redirect to the proper URL in order not to lose customers. Domain forwarding is also called URL forwarding, domain redirection, and URL redirection.
Domain masking not only forwards the domain to a different URL, but additionally masks the new URL, so that users do not see the actual URL of the page they are looking at. It can be used while a new site is under development, or when a site is started with one URL, but a better one becomes available and the owner doesn't want to lose the established links.
Domain parking allows one to make a domain name useful until one can build a website, or makes it possible to hold a domain name without building a website. It is sometimes used to protect a trademark or to maintain a valuable name in anticipation of auctioning it.
What Is Free Domain Hosting?
When any of these services or "standard" website hosting is offered for free, it can be referred to as free domain hosting. Free domain hosts have to make money somehow, and they usually use one of four different methods. First, they may use the free domain hosting as an introduction to customers who they hope to either upgrade to a paid service or employ them for web development or other customization. Second, they may use the free web hosting as an advertising site, requiring the free website to carry pop-up ads, banner ads, or other advertising. Third, the free domain host may only allow you to use a subdomain, meaning that every time your site is visited, your customer is seeing their name in the URL.
The fourth way that free domain hosting is offered is in conjunction with another purchase. For example, if you register your domain name with a web host, they may charge you for the registration, but offer you the domain hosting for free. You may also find free web hosting with a product (such as Apple Mail) or a service (such as Comcast Internet service).
As you consider free domain hosting, think about the entire plan you have for the domain name, both present and future, to help you decide which type of free domain hosting to select.Related article: What Is Free Web Hosting?