Welcome to the first step in the How to Create a Website tutorial. In this chapter I’ll discuss domains names, hosting packages and how you can register your own.
If you want to create a website, there’s two fundamental things you need: a domain name and web hosting package. I’ll give a little overview of both before going any further.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is essentially the address of your website such as “www.google.com”. It’s what you type into the address bar on your browser. Think of it like a phone number (555) 555 55 55. A phone number is the address numerical of the person you are calling over the telephone system.
Your domain name will want to reflect you or your company in some capacity. So if you are creating a personal website, then call the website after yourself, your nickname, your kids initials and so on.
If you’re a company you’ll want to get the business name in there. At this stage it’s worth writing down a few variations of the company name in case your first choice domain is taken. A good trick is to add your town or city to your company name and then search for the domain. For example if your company name is “Blue Widgets” then try a domain like “www.bluewidgetsnyc.com”. Another option is to add modifier characters to create the domain name such as ”www.bluewidgetsllc.com” or ”www.bluewidgetsltd.com”.
The next questions in what suffix (or top level domain: TLD) you would you like. The most obvious these days are “.com”, “.net” and “.org” and are great TLD’s but there’s other great ones available such as “.tv”, “.me”, “.co”, “.info” in addition to local ones such as “.us”, “.co.uk” and so on. If it’s personal, any would do but if you’re building a website for a company I’d recommend either your country specific domain or a “.com”/”.net”.
What is a Website Hosting Package?
Your hosting package is the place where your website files reside and your domain name would point to these files. With the phone number analogy again, the phone number (domain name) is the address for that house (hosting package). So when you type the domain name into your browser, the address is translated into the address (IP address) of where the website files are stored. The browser then sends a request to the server that stores the files and the server returns the data back to your browser, which it then renders into the website you see before your eyes.
If you’re only starting up, I’d recommend going with what is called “Shared Hosting”. It’s cheap and will cover all your bases for now. This essentially means you are sharing space on a web server with other customers but don’t worry, they have absolutely no access to your files or data.
Your hosting package would also provide you with email for the domain you will use.
So the next question that’s probably on your lips is……. Where do I get a domain name and website hosting package?
To be honest, I can only recommend companies that I use and trust myself. There’s two companies that I use for shared hosting and they are Bluehost and Hostgator. Both are absolutely superb hosts offering a top notch service for great prices. Neither might be the cheapest for what they offer, but in this business you get what you pay for. This website is currently running on a Bluehost shared hosting package.
I use both Bluehost and Hostgator and I encourage you to choose one of these companies. (BTW if you click on this Hostgator link and type in the following coupon code: 5WEBSOFTCOM, you’ll get a nice 25% discount).
>>> Click here to view hosting packages on Hostgator <<< (Don’t forget to use 5WEBSOFTCOM for your 25% discount)
How to Register a Domain & Get Hosting in Less Than 2 Minutes
- On the Bluehost website, click “Sign Up Now” (on Hostgator click the “View Web Hosting Plans” button)
- Enter your desired domain name and click “Next”.
- Enter your billing and payment details (I usually select the 12 month option and un-tick the upsell boxes). Click “Next”.
- Click “Create your password”.
- Enter your password twice and click “Create”.
- Registration complete. Now log into your account. Congratulations! You now have your very own website address and hosting package.