Brief Guide to Hosting Your Website
Thinking about getting your own website on the internet? Here is a brief guide with steps to follow:
Come up with a Domain Name
The very first step in hosting a website is registering a domain name. The domain name of your website is the web address that people type into a browser. Getting a domain name is a rather simple process. You can do it separately or with a domain hosting services provider. However, coming up with a domain name is a not so simple process.
Keep in mind that your web address is essentially your identity online. So your domain name needs to be unique and easy to remember. If you are trying to get a business site online, you must spend some time coming up with a good domain name that reflects your business and boosts the marketing process. Your domain name can only have 70 characters in total. Do not add any complicated characters or numbers to the domain address. It will only make the site name harder to remember.
Register the Domain Name
Domain names are converted into IP addresses that computers can understand. Your site’s domain name has to be registered in a central registry called InterNIC, run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This agency authorizes domain name registrars. You can register your domain name in one of these registrars (a list is available at www.internic.net/regist.html).
You can alternatively register your domain name with a web host as well. Web hosting service providers may not be an authorized registrar, but they work with registrars. However, prices with third-party providers are usually higher than with authorized registrars.
Domain names are typically registered for one year, but you can extend a contract up to 10 years. The price will be lower per year for extended contracts.
Obtain a Hosting Plan
Your website has to be “hosted” on a server to get connected to the internet. The server will hold the site files, which browsers use to display your website. There are a number of different types of hosting plans you can choose from. The most common, and usually the cheapest, type of plan is shared hosting, where your website will share server space with other sites. As the traffic volume coming to your site increases, you can upgrade to more expensive and beneficial plans. These include dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, or reseller hosting, among others.
Your registered domain name has to be signed up with the web host to connect your site with a unique IP address. If you get your domain name from the web host, this step will be part of the process to sign up for a hosting plan and configure the DNS.
Upload Site Files
Once you have a domain name and a hosting plan, you can start uploading your site files to the server space you have rented or purchased. The easiest way to transfer your site files is by using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software program. You can easily download an FTP program like Apache to your computer.
Uploading site files is easy, but the process may not go easily if you have many files to upload. If uploading is too complicated, you can always ask the hosting provider or an experienced web developer to help. It’s recommended to host a beta version of your site, so users are able to report problems and you can fix possible uploading errors in time.