Domain Registration
Domain registration is a different thing than hosting. It's kind of analogous to a car registration. You must register your car with the Motor Vehicle agency in your state. Although may keep your car parked in the garage or up on blocks, you still have to pay the motor vehicle registration fee!

Similarly, you must register your website's domain name with a domain registrar (Cloudflare, GoDaddy, etc). Your registrar sends your information to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization that administers 99% of all domain names in the world in a centralized database known as the Domain Name System (DNS). This system ensures that no duplicate domain names can exist; and that accurate domain info is kept up-to-date across the world.

ICANN can also create new top-level domains (e.g. .com, .info, .org etc.) among other things.  ICANN will help resolve disputes about domain name ownership as well, for instance, if a hacker took over your domain name they might be able to help you get it back. 

Website Hosting

Your hosting is separate from your domain registration: it is the server space you rent (or we rent for you) to host the files that make up your website, such as WordPress program files, the pages with your content, images and PDFs in your media library, plugins etc. You can have a domain name without have any content hosted on the domain (i.e. the domain is 'parked'). But if you want to display pages or images, sell items online, or collect information via a form, you must pay for that hosting service. To go back to the car analogy, you pay for your car's gas and maintenance separately from the registration fee. 


Email is yet another service tied to your domain, but separate from both your domain registration, and your website content hosting. Email is a communication service provided by companies that have special servers for the emailing function. It makes sense if you consider that your email to and from other people is not something you want ending up on your website - it's not content to be displayed on your domain, but rather a function that lets you USE your domain name in your email address. Notice that free email accounts are generic and not but or etc. 

Tying it All Together
DNS records are what ties everything together. They tie your domain's URL to the server where your website content is hosted; and to your email provider (MX records); and to any other services you might have associated with your domain (e.g Google Analytics). These services often come from completely different providers: you might have your website hosted with NAMI EasySite, but your email from Google Workspace, and maybe use Microsoft's Skype for business. But each of these services use the Domain Name System (DNS) to tie back to your particular domain name in the global database.

Because the global domain ownership relies on accurate information in the ICANN database to keep the World Wide Web running smoothly and correctly, you must be conscientious about keeping your domain contact info up to date. Once a year your domain registrar (e.g. Cloudflare, GoDaddy, etc.) will send you an email asking you to verify your domain's contact info. So make sure to verify your contact info right away when you get one of these emails, even if nothing has changed, and don't ignore it. ICANN can and will shut off your website domain records (and thus your entire website will go down) if you don't respond in a timely manner, and will keep it off until you update your info. Note: NAMI EasySite does this for you if we manage your domain records.