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Websites 101: Domain Names and Hosting

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Since I’ve had a few people ask about how to get started with a website lately, or mention to me someone they know that doesn’t know how to get started, I thought I would make this topic my next post. This post may run a bit long, but I promise it isn’t scary.

Your Domain Name
The first thing you need when setting up a website is a domain name, which is the main part of the URL (address) of your website. The domain name for this site is sixdegreeswebdesign.com. The rest of the address you see when visiting various pages, along with the domain name, makes up the URL.

Ownership
When registering for a domain name make sure your domain name is in your name, not your designer/friend/whoever. If your relationship goes south, or someone forgets to mention your domain name is up for renewal and doesn’t renew it, you could potentially lose your domain name and your website along with it. I know of one man whose designer skipped town, unbeknownst to him, and the next thing he knew his domain was expired and his entire website was gone. When this happens you have to wait 90 days to buy your domain back and hope no one else buys it first! (He managed to get his back) There is an option to get on a sort of waiting list for domain names that are expiring soon so someone could potentially buy it out from under you.

Who to Register With
When registering your domain name, go with someone big such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, or 1 and 1. Your domain, although yours, technically belongs to the registrar (who you registered it through). If your registrar goes out of business, and you can’t get ahold of them to transfer your domain name, you will lose your domain name.

.com and .net
Try to get both the .com and .net extensions for your domain to keep your site from being confused with someone else’s site that has the other one and may have a similar business. I had this happen with an old site of mine which was my web portfolio (.net) when someone else bought the .com and started an art site. It wasn’t a big deal, just people got confused when they went to .com (which most people will do) instead of .net. If you have a non-profit or some sort of organization you are registering the domain name for, try to get .org. Domains such as .biz and .info are cheaper because they aren’t nearly as popular as .com and .net and may not get your site as much attention as a result.

Private Registration
One option when registering your domain is to opt for private registration. When you register a domain name, unless it is registered as private, your information is public under the WHOIS database listing domain name ownership information. This database shows information such as your name and address to whoever looks up the domain using WHOIS. Whether or not you want private registration is up to you.

SSL Certificate
Another option they may try to sell you, though this may just be offered under hosting, is an SSL Certificate. An SSL Certificate is only necessary if you are going to be taking credit card information through your website.

My next post, part 2, will explain hosting and some of the jargon you may come across when selecting a hosting plan.

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18 comments to Websites 101: Domain Names

  • Awesome this is a great share, thank you for putting this article together! Saw this post tweeted by odegard media on twitter. Looking forward to more and will reply to those who comment back for next months group meetup!

  • thanks for the information….

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  • Finally, I found the information I was looking for. I have been doing research on this subject, and for three days I keep entering websites that are supposed to have what I’m looking for, only to be disappointed with the lack of what I needed. I wish I would have found your website sooner! I had about 25% of what I was looking for and your site has that, and the rest of what I need to complete my research. Thank you and keep up the good work!

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  • Cool guide. Thanks for sharing a very detailed steps

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  • admin

    Yes, I do need to post more. I’ve been so busy lately I forget to post.

  • admin

    Yes, I do need to post more. I’ve been so busy lately I forget to post.