Registering your own domain name and sorting out web hosting are the 1st two stages you need to take care of before you can start to create your own website. The simplest solution is to use the same company for your domain name registration and web hosting because it avoids the need to the change nameservers at your domain registrar.
For example, Dreamhost provides both services.
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1.1 Domain names
A domain name identifies a website, and therefore your website must have a domain name. You register a domain name (rather than buy one) at a domain name registrar, which is an organisation that manages the reservation of internet domain names. The domain name is yours for as long as you pay for it, however if you decide not to renew your registration it will become available for someone else to buy (just the domain name not your actual website and its content). Registering domain names is a simple process and the major registrars make the process as easy as possible (it’s just the same as buying anything online).
Domain name registrars must be accredited by a generic-top-level domain registry or a country code top-level domain registry. There are many domain name registrars, such as Domainmonster.com, GoDaddy.com, Dreamhost.com, and 123-Reg.co.uk. Simply type ‘domain names’ into Google and you will see hundreds of domain name registrars advertising themselves.
There are two things to consider when buying a domain, one is the name itself and the other is the top-level-domain (TLD) associated with it. For example if a website is called the thebestwesbite.com, thebestwebsite is the name and the .com is the TLD.
Depending on the type of website you have, where you are based, and where the majority of your website visitors will come from (which country), you will choose your TLD accordingly. For example, if you have a physical business in the UK and your website visitors will mainly come from the UK, then you will probably choose the UK country specific TLD .co.uk as your domain name. Alternatively, if your website attracts visitors from all over the world then you will want a generic TLD that is not directly linked to a specific country, such as a .com or .net. The .com TLD is viewed as the best generic TLD that is recognized (and trusted) by most people worldwide, but others such as .net and .org are popular.
While originally targeting a specific region, content type, or focus some TLD’s have moved to being more generic rather than being strongly linked to a specific website type. For example a .co TLD was mostly linked to corporations or companies, and even the country Columbia. However, it has now become more generic and used for all types of websites.
1.2 Web Hosting
Web hosting services allow you to make your website accessible to everyone via the World Wide Web. Simply, web hosts are companies that sell (or more correctly rent) space on their servers that they own and then connect these servers to the internet. These servers are normally stored in big data centres (i.e. big rooms in buildings all over the world).
Web hosts generally have a control panel behind their services that allow you to setup and control your website online. Also, file transfer protocol access (FTP) is provided that allows you access to your specified section of their server, and thus access to your root directory and website files. This can be used for easy download or upload of specific files straight to your website or server.
There are different types (or levels) of hosting that web hosts generally provide. The most widely known are shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers. When starting out shared hosting is the first hosting package you should get. It is the cheapest and is more than good enough for relatively small to medium sized websites. With shared hosting a web host lets you share the resources of a particular server with other website owners. Your files and storage space is totally independent however, and therefore nobody except you can see or access your website files.
VPS is the next level up and is more expensive than shared hosting. Instead of sharing resources with other website owners the server is actually split up and you have total reign of your particular section of a server. This means whatever happens with someone else’s website does not affect the performance of your website, which is a risk with shared hosting plans. E.G. If someone else’s website suddenly gets a huge spike in web traffic then it will use resources on a server, and if you are sharing this server on a shared hosting plan it can directly impact on your website speed etc. VPS solutions avoid this potential issue since only you will use your specified resources on the server.
Dedicated servers are the high-end option and they start to get pretty expensive. If you have a website that gets a lot of traffic and needs a lot of RAM, bandwidth, and storage then dedicated servers may be the best option for you. However, for the vast majority of websites this level of web hosting is not needed.
There are many web hosts to choose from, but you will want to choose one that offers 1-click WordPress hosting (WordPress is discussed in Lesson#2) and provides a good control panel for you to set up your website.
The video below shows how to register a domain name and host it with Dreamhost.
Setting up web hosting and registering a domain name with Dreamhost
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