Four basic steps to creating your first website.
- Purchase and register a domain name
- Select a host for your website
- Create your content
- Link your domain to your host via a domain name server (DNS)
Many first-time web creators will use one company to handle registration, hosting and DNS, however, I prefer to keep my registrar separate from my hosting solution. My reasoning comes from a bad experience with a host and when I finally decided to find a new host it was a much more difficult process to move registrars and hosts at the same time.
It is important to understand each step in the process so you can talk intelligently with those that are helping you setup your website.
Registering a domain
Your domain is the “word” people will type into their address bar to see your website. A registrar is responsible for checking to make sure no one else has that domain and will assign you to that domain. Many organizations already have a domain, but if you don’t consider something that is easy to remember, relatively short, and easy to communicate to people verbally. I personally use namecheap.com to register my domain names. Read more about domain names here.
Selecting a host
The next step to getting your site up and running is to select a host. There are hundreds of hosts out there, some offer very cheap hosting (under $10 a month), some specifically dedicated to various content management systems (WordPress, etc.) all the way up to hosts which offer dedicated servers just for your website ($100 and up per month). Computer Link NW uses a Virtual Private Server which provides the flexibility to upgrade the server at any time while giving us the security of a dedicated server (not shared) for reliability and flexibility. Contact us to get a quote for your specific needs.
Creating your content
When it comes time to create your content most developers recommend starting with an open source framework rather than coding a site from scratch. There are numerous packages available each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Packages for blogs, e-commerce, content management, wikis, forums, data collection, calendaring, social networking and many other are available. Computer Link NW has broad experience with many packages and can custom build a solution for your project.
Setting up your domain name server
The domain name server is how your domain is linked to the ip address of your server. Numerous domain name servers communicate with each other across the internet to keep track of the specific ip addresses for every server on the internet and link domain names to those servers. Most hosts provide DNS servers as do many registrar services. At CLNW we prefer to keep our DNS server on our hosts main DNS server rather than relying on our registrar to provide DNS services.