If you are very new to website creation, you may be wondering how to get started. When creating a website using WordPress, you will need to obtain a domain name and sign up for a hosting package. So what is a domain name and how do you go about setting up hosting?
What is a Domain Name?
A domain is simply your url or your digital address. My domain name is www.plinkit.com.au. If you google purchase domain name you will find many companies that buy and sell them and there isn’t too much difference depending on the company. How do you chose your name? Usually your name is related your you, your company or your product. It’s really a matter of availability and marketing strategy. A fashionable trend is to choice your own name but it is really up to you. Some people put a lot of importance on your choosing a domain name, however I believe there are many reasons a person will visit your site and it is a combination of these many factors so don’t put too much emphasise on the domain name. Plus you can change it down the track if you wish.
Check Domain Name Availability
Once you have chosen the name you like, the next step is to check if it is available. This is called a domain name search. My domain name is plinkit.com.au so when doing a search for this domain on godaddy.com.au, it shows me it is unavailable and offers me suggestions on other similar names and alternative extensions.
Certain countries have rules about who can purchase their websites. Sometimes you will need a local address to purchase a country related extension. Other countries require a tax number, so be prepared to try a few before you find the right one.
After you have finished choosing your domain name, go ahead and purchase it. It’s simply like purchasing any other product, you add it to the cart fill out the details and once you have paid for it, you are the owner. Congratulations!
The domain company you have purchased from will then send you an email confirming your purchase. It will include your log on and passwords for your account. Please keep this information secure and make a note somewhere in a calendar or elsewhere of the renewal date. If you change emails or somehow your account reminder email goes to junk etc you don’t want your website to go down because you haven’t paid your bill.
What is website hosting?
The next phase in setting up your own website is to organise the hosting of your website. A hosting company is simply a company that has stacks of servers (large rows of computers) that store peoples website data. A website is just a collection of files and programs that need to be accessed by others, so the server acts kind of like a cloud so others can access your data.
The reason we store our websites on a hosting service vs our own computers are numerous. If you store your website data on your personal computer it may not be powerful enough to cope with all the incoming people wanting to access it. It also needs to have security to be be safe from hackers and viruses. You also need to have strong technical knowledge and backup computers so if it your local server breaks down it can fixed quickly. All of this is very time consuming and expensive for most of us so we outsource hosting to a hosting company.
When choosing a company to host with the options are endless. There will be cheap plans, expensive plans and free plans. All come with benefits and risks.
As a rule, free plans are usually restricted and you cannot supply your own domain name. For example, wordpress.com is a free platform but if you wish to use your own domain name you need to upgrade your plan.
Cheap plans are usually shared plans so you share space with other companies. This means your site can be slower and not as stable. Sometimes though it is better to start off with a cheaper company then change it later on when you have earned some money in your business.
The more expansive plans usually include better support, better analytics and integration, faster speeds, extra options like free backups, emails etc
Another strategy is to choose a host based on its country of origin. So if you are based in Australia, use an Australian host company as this will speed up your site for local visitors.
Some well known hosting companies include Bluehost, Siteground and the premium hoster WP Engine. Which ever one you choose keep an eye out for coupons and deals. Many bloggers will offer discount affiliate codes and some hosting companies have massive black Friday deals and other big deals at various times of the year.
When you have decided on your host and the plan, then purchase it. You have now got your domain and hosting package, another congratulations!
Once again you will receive an email log on for your hosting account. This will give you access to the control panel of your website. This is the background of your site, and is where you can install WordPress and do many advanced processes.
These are the first steps to creating your own WordPress website. In no time you will have your first website up and running!
steps for setting up a Domain Name and connecting hosting
Here is a short video of me setting up a domain name and hosting in less than 10 minutes. This video actually only goes for 5 minutes, so it shows you how fast and easily it can be done.
Next Steps After Purchasing Hosting
Once you have chosen and purchased your domain name and website hosting, the next step is to get started building your website. To take a look at WordPress behind the scenes to see if it is right for you, check out this WordPress tour here.
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