Getting started with a Domain and Web Hosting

We all know how easy it is to get a web presence today. With Facebook, Instagram and many other form of social media it is very easy for anyone to set up their own page and share their personal or business information online.

But what if you want something more personalised and professional? This is when you need to get your own domain and web hosting. In a few words a domain is the name that will be pointing to your online presence such as the one we use www.techify.online, with this you will need a web hosting service provider; this is a space on the internet that will store your website (We will be having a guide on this soon). Your web hosting space does a lot more such as for example allow you to have an email address @ the domain you choose, but lets stick to the basics for now and leave the advanced stuff for another time.

Domain

Choosing a Domain Name

To start off you need to come with a domain name, this can be anything that you want followed by a . (Dot) and an extension (Or TLD’s as they are know) such as .com. Over the past years many news extensions have become available such as the one we use (.online). Sometimes it isn’t as simple as choosing a name and buying it, The domain name and extension combination might already be in use. The easiest way to find out if what you had in mind is available is use a Domain Registrar (A company that checks and sells domain names) to check for the availability of what you had in mind and eventually register it. Many registrars offer suggestions and alternatives if the one you choose is unavailable and this makes it easier to find the right one for you.

Domain Extensions

Domain extensions also play a key role in your decision, you have to make sure that the extension you choose makes sense. For example if your website is about cars you do not want to go and register www.mycarwebsite.dog as this extension is related to dogs. Although no one will stop you from doing this, it would make no sense to your viewers.

You can always try and fetch one of the standard and most common extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .info and many more but if you have not come up with some crazy unique name chances are it will not be available. The range of extensions is very vast, from the original standard ones, to country related ones to others related to a specific industry or object.

Wikipedia has a list of all of the domain extensions that exists, most of them are available for everyone to buy. Just have a look here and see what combination of domain and extension you come up with…. just list a few options and then move on to the next step which is checking for availability and registration.

Registering a domain

First of all you need to find a domain registrar, there are many of these to choose from and all offer the same basic functions but others offer better support, better dashboards for management and most of all better pricing. We have used many registrars over the years such as GoDaddy, Domain.com, Name Cheap, Only Domains and many others. This is truly up to you, They mostly offer the same basic functionality and especially for basic use any of these or any other registrar will be great.

For this example we will be using Only Domains; First of all you have an account, Press on the Sign Up button on the top right hand side. You will be taken to a sign up form that needs to be filled out with your details.

Only Domains Sign Up Form

Once you have signed up and logged into your account you can now move on to checking your domain availability (Although you can do this check without having an account). Press Domain Names on the top left side and you will be taken to the domain search page.

Here you can choose a sew ways to search for a domain. You can either enter the full domain name and extension if you have already shortlisted a few. You can also just enter the domain name portion without an extension and let the system provide you with a list of domain and extensions available.

We will be using “streetfoodnearme” as an example domain name and we will not be adding an extension to the search. Simply enter the domain name you wish to check and press enter. As you can see we get a few results back as options to choose from.

Only Domains Domain Search Results

Choose and Register

The next step is to choose the domain(s) you wish to buy… keep in mind that you can buy more than one and point them to the same web hosting if you wish but we will just stick with the one domain for now. Simply press the Add to Cart button on the domain(s) of your choice and then press the Checkout button.

On this next screen you will find options to buy the domain for more than one year, to add Privacy (Not show you are the owner of the domain to the general public – Also not this option may not be available on all domain extensions) and also the option to auto renew your domain so you do not need to worry about forgetting to pay it.

Next proceed by pressing continue and you may skip the next screen as this offers some extras to your domain purchase and the option to redirect your domain and point or point to a hosting service. We will be getting our hosting and email service using a different service and we will enter the DNS (How the domain points to your hosting) later on after the hosting is up and running.

Finally hit continue and enter your payment details using payment method of your choice. You should shortly after receive a confirmation email and the domain shoudl appear in your account control panel by clicking on your username on the top right hand side and pressing the dashboard button in the newly opened menu.

We will leave the domain here for now and next lets choose our web hosting service. We will get back to the domain settings once we have our hosting ready and we have the settings we need to put in our domain dashboard.

Web Hosting

Choosing a web host is an even bigger task than choosing your domain. A web host and therefore a web hosting space will connect your domain to your website, emails and other services. You need to plan carefully who you will choose as there are a few factors to take into account

Location

Location – This will determine the load time for your viewers and also for yourself. It will be wise to choose a host that is located or has servers closer to your customer base. But this also has to be close to yourself so that you can access your website and make changes as well as read your emails with higher response times.

Features

You will also need a web host that offers some nice features along with your package. This can range from one click app installers such as the ability to easily install WordPress (Which we will use later on to make our website), Up time which is a sort of guarantee that the server will be online all time time without any issues, a free SSL Certificate and good support via fast email response or live chat.

Finally one other important thing to look out for is the hosting control panel. The most common and popular one is Cpanel (Which is what we will be using). It is easy to use and also has advanced features that we might use later on when doing more advanced things

Select your host

Just like the domain purchase we will guide you trough the process of buying your hosting. This will differ slightly from host to host but the basics are the same, Choose your plain, Choose to use your own domain and enter the one you got earlier, make the payment and you are done. Then just a little tweaking and settings and you are good to go.

Some good web hosts we can recommend are; Hostgator, Netfirms, InMotion, BlueHost, Jolt and Siteground. Keep in mind to check their server locations as mentioned above the rest is up to you.

For our example we will be going with Jolt as it is the provider we are using at the moment. They are based in the UK and therefore if you have a customer base in the USA and Europe this is a good option to start with.

Making the purchase

First of all go to the Jolt website and scroll down, you will find Shared Web Hosting which is what you need to start off with. Press the See All Plans button.

Jolt Web Host Home Page

On this new page you have to option to choose from a number of plans, we will be going for the basic and cheapest plan named Sparkle at the time. It has more then enough to start off with and you can always upgrade later on should you need more web space for your website or emails –¬† Press Order Now.

Jolt Web Host - Shared Hosting Plans

The next page will allow you to use your existing domain (The one purchased earlier or any other domain you want to use) We will be using www.streetfoodnearme.online for this example. Choose the Use Existing domain and enter the domain name and domain extension and press Use.

Jolt Web Host - Use Existing Domain

The next screens allow you pay monthly or yearly and to choose your server location. For this instance we will go with a yearly account and stick to the London Datacenter for server location. Every other option can be left as is and press next.

Jolt Web Host - Choose Billing Cycle

On the next page you will be offered Add-Ons, You are free to choose any addons at this stage it is up to you but you do not need any for the time being… remember you can always add them later on. You can remove any already selected ones you do not want and proceed by pressing next.

Jolt Web Host - Add-ons

Finally on the last page you need to enter your personal details, choose a payment method and agree to Terms and Conditions. Once you are done press Confirm and Pay and congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a web hosting account.

You should receive some emails from your host now including a receipt for payment and information on how to access your control panel and an important piece of information – Your Name Servers. Don’t go trying to access your hosting account with your domain link just yet we have to setup the domain to point to your hosting first. (Although, some providers also give you a IP address based way to access your account… but i am sure you want to get it all linked up and ready to go.)

Name Servers – Connect your domain to your web hosting

Name servers are usually a list of two or more web addresses that you will need to link your domain to your hosting account. They will usually look like NS1.YOURHOST.COM or something similar. So lets link them up and finish the process.

First of all go back to your domain provider and login to the domain control panel to be able to manage your domain. Once you are on you domain list press on your domain name to enter the management section of that particular domain

Only Domains - Domain Control Panel

On the next page click on the DNS tab just under your domain name and this will take you to the DNS page to be able to point your domain to your web hosting. Here you will have two columns; Host Name and IP Address. We will only be inputting a host names. Go to the email received from your web host and copy  the first web host name into the Host Name box and press Add, Repeat the process for the second and third if you have always pressing the Add button when ready. Finally press the Delegate to your Name Serves button at the bottom.

Only Domains - Name Server Assignment

That’s it you are done. One thing you have to keep in mind that the process of pointing your domain to your web host can take up to 48 hours BUT in most cases this happens within a few minutes or an hour.

In the next guide we will show you how to use your web host control panel (Cpanel)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great Guide! Very informative as a getting started guide for someone who has no idea about domain and hosting stuff.

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