We wanted to take the time to create this article because we realise that trying to figure out whether you need to purchase web hosting through your domain registrar is necessary. This article is for everyone and anyone on the Art Storefronts platform.
First, let’s cover some of the terms we’re going to be using in this article. We want to make sure that everyone understands exactly what we’re talking about when web say things like Domain Registrar or Web Hosting.
- Domain Registrar: A domain name registrar is a commercial business that manages the registration of internet domain names. Let’s say we want the domain name http://jbdesigns.com. I would need to find a domain registrar (like GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.) to purchase that domain name from. Some Domain Registrars provide web hosting and email hosting.
- Web Hosting: Web Hosting is literally the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites.
- DNS: DNS stands for Domain Name Servers and these are like the internet’s equivalent of a phone book.
- Email Hosting: Email Hosting is an internet hosting service that operates e-mail servers.
- SaaS- SaaS stand for software as a service and it is basically a model that allows a business (like Art Storefronts) to deliver a software service which is licensed on a subscription basis. Some other prominent SaaS providers are companies or sites like Wordpress, Intuit (the company who make Quickbooks) and Microsoft.
- API: API stands for application program interface. This specifies how software components interact with one another. It sounds complicated, but an example is Stripe. Art Storefronts has integrated an API for Stripe that allows customers to use Stripe as a payment gateway without requiring the customer to input complicated coding to get their payment feature working.
What Art Storefronts Is
Art Storefronts is software. It’s a SaaS platform that customers can pay a subscription for. Once a customer has paid for a subscription they receive access to the features offered by the software. Some of those features include things like pre-built theme templates so the customer doesn’t need to code their own templates for their site. It also includes access to Payment Gateway APIs. Take for example Stripe. Stripe is a program that allows people to accept credit card payments for goods and services. Because Art Storefronts is a SaaS platform, we’ve already integrated with Stripe and made it easy for the customer to set up their payment methods and accept credit card purchases for Art from customers.
Overall, Art Storefronts is the easy mode of building a website. We give our customers the majority of the tools that they need in order to make sure they have a website built and that they are ready to take payments for customers for orders.
You may also notice that when you sign up with Art Storefronts you have access to a website and the URL will include Art Storefronts in the URL. As an example, we have a website titled http://jbdesigns.artstorefronts.com.
Some Artists, Galleries and Print Studios don’t want to include the Art Storefronts branding in their URLs. This is where a domain registrar comes in. Those customers who don’t want to see the Art Storefronts branding can purchase a specific domain name (for example http://jbdesigns.com) from a domain registrar and use that to take the place of the Art Storefronts subdomain. This takes a little bit of editing within the DNS records that are contained on the domain registrars website, but Art Storefronts is always happy to provide links to our articles on pointing a domain or we can offer a paid service where we will log in ad change any necessary DNS records. So, instead of seeing http://jbdesigns.artstorefronts.com they will see http://jbdesigns.com.
Which brings us to…
What Art Storefronts Isn’t
Art Storefronts isn’t an email hosting service. If you currently have your e-mail hosted through someone like BlueHost, you’ll have to keep it hosted with them or find another company that offers an e-mail hosting service. Art Storefronts just doesn’t offer you the ability to create an e-mail address or manage it within our platform.
It’s also important to remember that if you’re creating a website through a service, such as GoDaddy, it’s going to be much more difficult and complex to create and maintain. You’ll have to learn how to code (HTML, CSS, JS) and learn how to install frameworks to your website. While this allows you more control in the long run, it can also be much more technical and difficult to handle.
So, What Should I Choose?
If you’re looking to build a website from scratch and put in the extra effort to learn how to code and install frameworks, you’ll want to stick with the web hosting that your domain registrar offers.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use piece of software with friendly and prompt technical support to guide you through the process, Art Storefronts is the place for you.
If you still aren’t sure you understand the difference between SaaS (Art Storefronts) and Domain Hosting (GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.), you can check out this Vertical Rails article that helps sum everything up pretty concisely and if you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to us by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.