Well we have jibber jabbered long enough about getting ready to start a website, today is the day our precious new baby is born, because we are going to turn that awesome domain name we bought into a bright and shiny piece of virtual realty called a website.
Before we start, we should probably double check and make sure we have everything we need to get this done.
So what is a checklist that we should have in place before we can officially launch?
- Secure a domain name (example www.mynewdomainname.com)
- Decide and sign up with a hosting company(examples godaddy or Themescapes hosting)
- Sit down at a computer with internet access
That’s it, in its most basic form you can launch a website once these three things are done. So lets go over how to do it.
The first thing you are going to need to do is find out the nameservers your hosting company wants you to use. Don’t get scared by the word nameserver it is just a fancy way of telling the world where to find your website.
Think of it as if you rented a space in a shopping mall and your store space that you rented was labeled by the mall as suite #36. Your address in the phone book and post office would be something like:
My Cool Store
Some Shopping Mall, Suite #36
YourTown, TX 99999
Now lets pretend a year later you grew out of that space and wanted a bigger one. The same shopping mall had a great space just up the path from your current space. So you move your shop to that new space, space #48. Your address would now be:
My Cool Store
Some Shopping Mall, Suite #48
YourTown, TX 99999
Nameserves are the Internet version of your address and They are stored in the DNS (Domain Name System), which functions some what like a Yellow Pages on crack for the online world.
So, taking a deep breath, now that all that is said we need to find out what nameservers our hosting company would like us to use and make those changes on our domain. Usually your hosting company will send you an email or notify you through your account once you sign up what those nameservers are to be. If you can’t find them, a quick email to their support should do the trick.
Most nameservers look something like:
As an example, one of godaddy’s nameservers is NS43.domaincontrol.com. Although a more typical one like at our parent company Themescapes is ns1.blogiology.com.
To change the nameservers you will need to login into your domain hosting account and find where the area for domain management. This may be called Domain Manager, Account Manager, etc. If you can’t find it do a quick search for nameservers on the company’s website or once again send a quick email to their support folks.
Once you locate it you will want to make the necessary changes. Important! Almost always there are multiple nameservers you will need to assign. For instance all customers at Themescapes.net hosting use two nameserver entries. ns1.blogiology.com and ns2.blogiology.com. It is important that you only use the nameservers you were given. Your domain manager may have spots for three nameservers. If you were only give two from your hosting company, place them in the first two spots and leave the third one blank.
When you are all done and click “enter” or “save”, you most likely are going to get some kind of warning like, “Are you sure you want to do this?”, feel free to ignore it and carry on there is no danger of unintended explosions!
Great you officially have a domian being hosted on the Internet! Woo Hoo!……
Uh oh, not so fast! Just because you have a domain hosted does not mean you have a website. All you have done is direct the world to your store in the shopping mall, now you have to build a store for them to come to!
And that’s where we will leave it for today! Next time we will work on building our website.
Picking a web-host is a very important part of any online venture. While it is not a make or break piece of the puzzle and switching hosts is really not that difficult to do, as a new blogger there are few things more daunting than trying to migrate your sexy existing blog to a new host after becoming frustrated with your current one.
So what is the moral of the story. Spend some time researching various web hosts, look at the features, and do not necessarily go with the cheapest.
Here is a quick tip to find out the dirty little secrets about various web-hosts. Make good use of Google and Yahoo. In the search bar type “Whatever web host you choose“ and “problems or troubles“. You will usually find links to several forums in the first few pages of your search discussing what issues your web-host may have a history of. Keep in mind any company of any size is going to have some upset customers, but if you find fifteen pages of ticked off webmasters it is probably a good sign to consider moving on to someone else.
So at this point you may be scratching your head and asking, “What the heck is a web-host and why do I need one?” So lets discuss this a little bit.
Web hosts are companies that provide customers space on the web host’s servers and Internet connectivity to “serve” the customer’s websites to the World Wide Web. Technically one does not need a web host to “serve” their website, but the cost and technical expertise required to do this adequately make it cost prohibitive for the majority of website owners.
There are several types of web hosting options available and we will discuss most of the major ones in order of increasing expense.
- Free Hosting: As this describes free web hosting is usually provided by a company that offers free web hosting. The “free” usually comes at the price of embedded advertising on your site, and often severe limitations in one’s options. Examples of free web hosts are the blogging platforms of Blogger, and Typepad.
- Shared Hosting: This is the most common form of hosting for small to medium websites from companies you have heard of like Go Daddy and Dreamhost . With shared hosting your website is hosted on a server that you “share” with many other customers. The benefit of going with shared is that it is very inexpensive. The major drawback (there are others) is that eventually your website may grow beyond your agreed upon resource allocation and you may be forced to consider other options.
- Virtual Dedicated Server or Virtual Private Server (VPS): This is our favorite and how we host blogiology, themescapes, and our other websites. VPS is somewhat like shared hosting in that you are sharing a server, but that server is set up in such a way to prevent the resource competition associated with the latter. It is more expensive, but much more stable and usually includes much more resources than it’s “shared” counterpart.
- Dedicated Hosting: Dedicated hosting is the big-time baby! You simply rent the server, utilities, and Internet access. The catch is that you are responsible for all the management of the server, such as resource management, troubleshooting, and security!
- Managed Hosting: Managed hosting is just like dedicated hosting with one big difference! Your web host “manages” your server. Think of it as dedicated hosting for us dumb people. This management comes at a price making it a little more expensive than dedicated hosting.
- Home Server: Technically this is not the most expensive as in reality you could do it at home with an old computer and a broadband connection. The “cost” is associated with all the trouble trying to keep it up, safe, and secure. It also can affect who can see your site, as some ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) have measures built in to block home based servers for security reasons.
That is all useful information, but if you were like me when I first started you are asking so which one should I choose. To help let us make a few recommendations.
If all you need is a drink of water, do you care if it is poured from another glass, a pitcher, or a water spigot attached to a tank the size of a small car? No, it is a silly question and you would not even think about it.
For some reasons when webmasters go looking for a web host they get sucked into the whole “disk space” and “bandwidth” battle. To be honest, these are pretty well worthless numbers. Trust me, you are just drinking a cup of water from these guy’s spigot when it comes to these resources.
When choosing a host look at who is giving the most of the important stuff! That important stuff is CPU usage, RAM usage, allowed MySQL databases, and domain names, should you choose to start another website after your first one becomes a huge success and the next greatest thing since opposable thumbs.
I hope this helps you understand a little better what your web host does and what your choices are! Enough of this boring stuff, let’s build a website already! In the next article we will turn our sexy domain name into a shiny new website!
We are going out on a limb here at Blogiology.com and going to assume that the bloggers and web developers that are going to utilize our services are planning on owning their own domain.
“Owning their own domain”
What the H, E, double hockey sticks does that mean? It sounds like some ugly scientists evil lair, but it is not! It is simply your friendly neighborhood web address. (i.e. www.example.com) We feel all respectable bloggers should own their own domain name! It is easy, fun, and in the long run a lot safer way to go!
Yes, there are plenty of large and famous sites out there that let you host your own website and often for free! Websites like Blogger, Typepad, and LiveJournal are simple to sign up for and work great for hosting your own site with little work! So if that is the case, “Why pay to host my own domain?”, you ask. Well here are several great reasons!
Number one and most important! Because you are all powerful on your domain! When you are hosting on someone else’s dime you are subject to their rules, changes, and business troubles. We have friends you have had Blogger force them to add a cover page, killing their once great Google traffic, and others who made the mistake of investing lots of time in LiveJournal which is struggling mightily these days! The point is they are one email away from starting over!
Secondly, your creativity is always handcuffed by the limitations of their software platform. Yes Blogger has a lot of really cool and easy ways to customize a blog, but at the end of the day you can spot a Blogger hosted blog almost at a glance. (Even without cheating and reading the address bar) When you host your own website or blog you have complete freedom! Even when utilizing a CMS (Content Management System) like Wordpress you still control all the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), HTML , and even the MySQL database. Depending on how comfortable you are you can do limitless things with these. Check here for some examples of websites we have built for customers. All utilizing Wordpress, but each very distinct!
It is just way more fun!
So, we are hoping by now we have convinced you to use your own domain name and we are about to tell you exactly how easy it to get one! But first, we are going to bore you just a bit with what exactly the whole “domain” thing means! Feel free to skip down to the “End of Boring Stuff” line to get back to the frivolity of buying your domain!
What is a Domain Name?
Domain – A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).
So does that explain it? Not really, at least not to me! The easiest, though not completely accurate way to think of a domain is to think of it being a “word” representation of a group of web pages. (For all you experts we recognize there is a lot wrong with that statement, but this is not a blog for experts)
What you may not realize is that www.blogiology.com does not represent one domain but three.
First we have the top level domain(TLD), which is the .com in www.blogiology.com. The Internet is huge with millions and millions of items or pages and the first classification to begin organizing all these pages into groups is through a top level domain, such as .com,.net,.biz,.gov,etc.
These top level domains begin to classify the type of content associated. Obviously .com is the most popular because it was the original, but .gov represents government, .biz is associated with business, and .edu with education. So just by viewing a domain one can begin to group the associated content.
Fun Fact – As of June 2009, there are 20 generic top-level domains and 248 country code top-level domains. More than you thought I bet! You can check them out here.
After the top level domain, comes the second level domain name. The second level domain name comes directly to the left of the top level domain. So in www.blogiology.com, blogiology is the second level domain name. The second level domain name usually groups all of the web pages in a specific web site. And this second level domain is the one that you are going to set up here in the very near future.
Now what do you do if you are the government of the state of Ohio? It would be very difficult to organize all your web pages under a single www.ohio.us. This is where third, fourth, fifth, etc. level domain names come in. It allows organizations to further organize and present their web-pages by creating subdomains. So maybe you end up with www.courts.ohio.us or even www.courts.potter.ohio.us where “potter” represents a county. Hopefully you get the point. If you have your own secondary domain you can create as many subdomains as you would like with no cost as they are merely folders holding web pages on your secondary domain. Note: We just made all that Ohio crap up, so don’t go trying to pay traffic tickets in potter county using the link above!
Finally, a word about the www. For those living under a rock the www represents the hostname of the World Wide Web server. Thus placing your website smack dab in the middle of the Internet versus possibly your companies Intranet. (A small group of computers linked)
End of Boring Stuff – Come on Let’s Buy One Already!
Now that we have an idea of what the heck a “domain name” is we are going to go buy one! Don’t be nervous, they are very cheap! Between $10 and $20 dollars for your average domain name. If you decide to try and buy something fancy and popular it can get very expensive. For instance check out the highest priced domain name purchases of all times!
- Business.com for $7.5 million in December 1999
- AsSeenOnTv.com for $5.1 million in January 2000
- Altavista.com for $3.3 million in August 1998
- Wine.com for $2.9 million in September 1999
- CreditCards.com for $2.75 million in July 2004
- Autos.com for $2.2 million in December 1999
There are plenty of places to by domain names simple enough but the key is you are probably going to be signing up for hosting too. Often you get discounted hosting with a new domain purchase or vice versa, free domain names when signing up for hosting.
Both of these companies have automatic Wordpress installation and limited support versus being totally on your own with another company, thus making these two a great choice for hosting your new blog. So go to either of them and start searching for that perfect domain name.
When picking a domain name, originality can go along way. For instance with Blogiology, I wanted a domain name that inferred a website about blog instruction. Any domain names with words like blog, blogger, blogging, how to, etc. were long gone. So I made up the name Blogiology, which though it technically has no definition yet, infers exactly what I want, is simple, and easy to remember! That makes a perfect domain name!
Note: If you are building a blog purely for making money selling some product or service, it may be best to skip cute and short to go with a longer domain name containing your keywords. While most people are not going to remember a domain name like. www.candlesandcandy2ustore.biz, the search engines will probably give you a little more love sooner due to the keywords in your URL. If your goal is readers and not lots of useless traffic than avoid this technique and go with something people will remember.
A few other tips and tricks:
- If possible go with a .com, then .net, and on down the line.
- If it is a personal blog consider a .me
- Try not to use a misspelled word because it is available. Example: www.mycandelstoar.com.
- Misspelled words are OK if it is cute, catchy, and available. Example: www.thesnakshak.com.
- Take your time and pick something you like! Moving a domain names is worse than moving your family across county!
Note: When you are checking out, you may see options for Private, Business, Certified, Deluxe, or Protected. In reality none of these are too important.
- Private means it keeps your personal information off of the registration so people can’t search and find out who owns the domain. If you are starting your own top secret cow worshipping cult, you may want to consider this, if not chances are you are going to have your info readily available on your blog and Google is going to share it soon enough.
- Business just means that it is a business associated registration. Technically it may give you a little more exposure, but unless you are building this just for business purposes it can be skipped.
- Certified is important if you plan on taking money, it is a way of trying to prove credibility by opening yourself up to be verified by an independent organization
- Deluxe or special….just throwing in more bells and whistles. Probably not necessary.
- Protected is not a bad idea. It just means the domain will automatically renew or at least can not be sold out from under you when your lease expires. (Important note: You are not technically buying a domain, but the right to use it for a set period of time.)
A few final comments on your new domain name and website. Don’t purchase any software developing tools. If you want cheesy and easy there are plenty of free resources. Plus if you are following blogiology we are going to teach you how to build a website masterpiece using one of the premiere blogging platforms (Wordpress). And the good news is Wordpress is absolutely FREE!
Lastly, don’t worry too much about getting the biggest and baddest hosting plan! Unless you are unveiling your new blog on Oprah next week, heavy traffic is far down the road and you have plenty of time to switch to bigger and badder!
Well, that should take care of getting you a domain name and getting you set up with a web host to serve that domain name of yours to the World. Next time we will discuss a little about exactly what these web hosts do, and get started actually creating your website!