Hi, today in my mini series of guides and website basics for you I’m diving into domains and website hosting.
As I talked about in my last post, ‘What is a website anyway?’, without a domain name and hosting there is no website. When working with clients there is often confusion as to what one does, do they need both and where is the best provider to get them from.
Let’s start with Domain Names
So computers, tablets and mobiles can talk to each other over the internet, each computer/device has a unique address. This is called an IP Address and is made up of numbers. An IP address is not easy to remember and looks a little intimidating, so a domain or domain name is used as it is in a more user friendly form.
For example a domain looks like sm-webdesigns.co.uk and the IP address looks like 220.127.116.11.
Can my domain name be anything?
In short, yep! Ideally, your domain name shouldn’t be too long and be your business name and/or contain a target SEO keyword. A good domain name can make a positive impact on your SEO and so your website’s ranking in Google search results.
Ok, I’ve chosen what I’d like my domain name to be. Where do I get it from?
Domains are registered and leased (you pay an annual fee to renew your domain each year or 2 years or more. You do not buy a domain outright). There are hundreds of providers out there. I like to use SiteGround for my domain registration and hosting. Another good company is CloudNext.
Unfortunately, just because you have chosen a domain doesn’t mean it is available for you to register. You can use the domain checker here to see if your domain is available.
For example, if I wanted to register smwebdesigns.com I can see that it is already taken by someone else.
However, I could register smwebdesigns.co.uk.
What about Website Hosting?
All web hosting is not made equal, and as with many things in life, you get what you pay for.
When starting out and if your website is small and more of a brochure type website, then it is to always good to start small with a good shared hosting account. Shared hosting is when lots of accounts are on the same server and all use that servers resources.
Shared hosting is more often than not cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new sites. Plus, you can always upgrade to dedicated hosting (Dedicated hosting means the server resources are not shared) in the later stage should your website grow bigger.
For my clients I use SiteGround* to host their websites. Their packages are great value, WordPress runs well on their hosting, their support is excellent and they have different tiers depending on the size of your website and number of people visiting your website – check them out!
There are hundreds of website hosting providers out there, check the hosting works well for your chosen platform (WordPress, SquareSpace etc.). Is it scalable as the amount of traffic to your website grows? How responsive is their technical support?
* This is an affiliate link, but I would never recommended anything I don’t use myself.
Drive more visitors to your website
If you are wanting to breathe some life into your current website or to start getting more traffic to your website, my free SEO beginners Guide is a great place to start!