For some, figuring out how to host their website and acquiring a domain name can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here we will show you how to acquire a web hosting provider and a domain name so you can get your shiny new website online. The whole process from start to finish is actually really easy and essentially just involves adding the product to a cart and paying for it in the same way as you are probably familiar with when buying products anywhere online..
There are literally thousands of web hosting providers online to choose from and you will find allot of them offer a free domain with their web hosting packages so acquiring your domain name is usually part of the process of buying the hosting package. Most providers will follow the same basic steps of choosing your hosting package, choosing a domain name, filling out your details then paying for everything via a checkout.
Since GoDaddy is currently one of the largest and most famous web hosting providers in the world, for the purposes of this tutorial, we will be taking you through the steps on there website. You will find this process is essentially the same on whichever provider you decide on using. We will also be focusing on Linux based hosting plans since these are the most common.
Choosing a Web Hosing Provider
Choosing a web hosting provider is probably the most difficult part of the process. There are so many providers out there and the internet is riddled with affiliates promoting providers that aren’t necessarily as good as being claimed, fake reviews from rival companies as well as a mountain of real reviews to dig through.
Here are a few things to look for when searching for a hosting provider to help you pick the right one:
- Speed – You want your server to be as fast as possible. You can get a general idea of speed by searching reviews and looking out for people complaining about slow speeds. Avoid providers with too many complaints about slow server speeds.
- Price – Shop around and find the provider that offers the best price for your budget.
- Extras – Look out for the extras the provider offers. These will generally include a free domain name, free SSL certificate, lower price hosting for a given period. You want to try and get as much bang for your buck as possible.
- Support – Good customer support is vital. If you every have any problems with their server, you want to know they will be resolved as soon as possible.
- Unlimited Bandwidth – You will find allot of providers supply unlimited bandwidth, even with their cheapest packages.
Choosing a Hosting Package
On your chosen web hosting providers website, choose “Hosting” or “Hosting Plans”. In this case we have chosen GoDaddy as an example, which you can view here: GoDaddy Hosting
Here we see GoDaddy’s shared server plans. Shared servers are the most common, however if you’re website is large in scale, will have large amounts of traffic or provide large file upload services and things of that nature, a more expensive, dedicated server plan may be more suited to you.
As you can see when viewing the page, their cheapest package has a free domain name and unlimited bandwidth and for a 1 domain small website or online business just starting out, this will be fine. Add your package to the cart. During the add to cart process, you may be promoted to add on extras. If you don’t know if you need the extras, you probably don’t and in most cases I never choose the addons, with the exception of the SSL certificate, which, if I need it and it’s not free, I will add it.
Choosing Your Domain Name
The next page should now be the choose a domain name page. Here you simply enter the domain name you want your website to have, remembering to keep it as short and snappy as possible. Once you click continue, you will usually be greeted with a page telling you whether or not that domain name is available as well as alternative postfix. If it’s available, choose it and continue to the cart or next screen, depending on the provider.
Enter a domain name until you find one available then select it. Simple!
Domain Name and Hosting Term Length
Before reaching the checkout, you will usually be presented with a page to choose the length of time you want to buy the hosting and domain name for as well as more add ons. I generally ignore all the add ons and deselect/remove them as I don’t generally need then and they can always be added at a later date.
When choosing the length of time you want to buy the web space and domain name for, you will find, in most cases, that you save money, the longer period of time you choose. The best way to decide is to balance the maximum amount of time with your current budget, since you have to pay for the term period upfront. I usually pick either 2 or 3 years, mainly so I don’t have to worry about it having to pay it for the next couple of years and also because you get a good discount. In general stick to a minimum of at least 1 years here. Also be sure to match the domain name’s period with the hosting so you pay at the same time, to make it more easily manageable.
Once you have chosen the hosting period, go to the checkout and pay for your packages, using your chosen method.
You are now the proud owner of some space on the web along with your new domain name pointing at your web space. From here, all you need are your login details for the servers admin panel, this admin area is usually called cPanel or Plesk although may vary. Godaddy uses cPanel and from the account area you can set up your cpanel log in details as well as choosing a server location, which is a very simple process. Other providers will automatically set up the login details for you and email you the details.
These cPanel, Plesk or server admin area log in details are used to access the server settings such as setting up ftp accounts, managing files, redirects, databases etc. You can also set up additional users with privileges so you can provide your web designer with login details so he/she can work on your website and upload files to get it online.