Simple Guide To Start A Website

More and more people have a website now. It could be blog, online shop, photo album or even just one page “name-card”-like. The cost also very cheap. But sometimes, those who is not computer-savvy usually a little bit confuse and overwhelm when they want to manage the website by themselves. Well, read this article and let us see if I can change that perception

Setting up a new website is like getting a new mobile telephone number ! I like this analogy as most of us know how to get a new mobile telephone number.

Get New Mobile Number Get New Website
Mobile Number <==> Domain Name
(from Telco) (From Registrar)
The Phone <==> Web Hosting
(various brand from shop) (from hosting company)

OK, let us see the run down:

  1. First, before the new mobile number works, we need to get the new number from the Telecommunication company that you choose. They then give you the SIM-card associated with the number.
    This is equivalent by you getting the new domain name (The name that you type on your browser. For example: www.facebook.com. “Facebook.com”  is the domain name, “www” is just sub-domain.).
  2. The 2nd element is phone itself. The SIM card need to be inserted into a phone. Whether it’s Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, HTC,etc the brand and model doesn’t matter but you need one in order for the number to work.
    This is equivalent with the Web Hosting for your website. Your website need a place (a server) where all the setup, calculation, and process take place before displaying it to your screen.

What to Shop Around?

So, there are 2 items only that you need to buy and find good deal:

  1. Domain name of your choice. Buy this from a Registrar or its reseller. The .com domain name start at about $10 a year.
    Two among the biggest name to buy a domain name in the industry are GoDaddy.com and NameCheap.com
  2. Hosting. Buy this from unlimited number of web hosting company on the net.
    Some of the prominent names are: DreamHost, HostGator, BlueHost and iPage.
    Standard “shared hosting” (meaning 1 server is used for many website) is around $5 a month.

[Your Website]

Your Website’s Structure

There is one more item that is optional , but as part of Hosting, is Mail Hosting. As the name suggest this kind of Hosting is just for hosting your email.

You can use the normal hosting company as your hosting company, but some people prefer better mail service and choose separate mail hosting like Google Apps , Zoho Mail, Microsoft 365/Outlook, etc because they provide much better email service. Some consideration for example: anti virus/anti SPAM for email, better email client, better integration with your mobile and more reliability than your $5 per month hosting company. This is particularly very popular when Google still offer free Google Apps for small business (unfortunately, no more, Zoho mail still does , but only for 2 users)

Notes:

  • Many hosting company and/or registrar make these separation vaque because they offer both domain name and hosting. Also it is not uncommon that a web hosting company offer a free domain name if you just sign up with them
  • The hosting company is not necessarily something that you setup yourself. If you want to use wordpress.com or blogspot.com or other social media outlet for your domain name. They are considered as “free hosting” – With certain limitation, you can find quite easily also various kind of “free hosting”
  • The domain and hosting meant to be separate (just like your SIM card should be able to be inserted to any brand of phone) so that you can move around hosting/upgrade easily. For example: you should start with shared hosting, then upgrade to VPS or even dedicated server once your website is successful (shared hosting will not be bale to handle the traffic)

What To Set

  1. Once you buy the domain name and hosting, first thing to do is to point the domain name to point to your hosting. This is done my modify the name server at the registrar. You need the detail of your hosting’s name server (this is usually in the welcome email from your hosting). Then go to registrar account and put use this server name into NAMESERVERS.
    [DNS Setting at Registrar]

    Set your Nameserver at Registrar

  2. If you have separate mail hosting, you need to also set the setting for mail server, called “MX Record” – contact your mail hosting provider for the detail of their setting.
  3. Then just go to “Control Panel” of your hosting to setup the actual website: what package you want to install (Joomla, WordPress, Photoalbum, etc), whether you want to set sub-domain, statistic monitoring for the website, etc.

The nameserver setting need some time to “propagate” (fancy word for ‘be updated’ as it involves usually multiple nameserver that need to know the new setting) – usually a few minutes (but up to few days – depend on individual setting of each nameserver). In the meantime, you can access your new website using their IP address (look at your ‘welcome email’)

Some Useful Tips

  • Usually the cheapest the hosting, the more number of website in 1 server, hence potentially making the website too slow.
  • Each web hosting company, especially the big one, hosts thousands if not millions website. Among them for sure, there will be come people that will not be happy for various reason. So, do not take individual comment from various forum regarding specific web hosting too seriously, you do not know them and their agenda.(Too good comment could be paid person, too bad comment could be competitor – no way to verify)
  • Beware of “free domain” offer from hosting – some times if you find out the hosting was not good, you cannot easily transfer the domain names out. Keep them separate as it is designed to be. Use the “free domain” for secondary name (keyword patching, etc – not your main domain)
  • Take offer of “unlimited” bandwidth lightly because once your traffic pick up, this means your server will be occupied more by you than other customer, and more likely you will be asked to upgrade (read: kick out) from the shared hosting environment before you use too much server time.

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Conclusion

Depending on the provider, you might get slight variation of the way the setup work – but the fundamental is as described above. By knowing how it actually work, I hope you will be less confuse in setting up your website. Hope this helps….

 Disclaimer: links on hosting/registrar company above are affiliate links. Meaning we will be your referral and if you decide to sign up, we will got small commission as their gratitude to introduce you to them. All the link is perfectly safe and  legit, and it will take you to its homepage. Please report if the redirection is not working.

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