Your First Domain
decided to get a website?
Getting your space on the web is exciting and rewarding ... it can
also be confusing ....... but if you do some careful planning and
research, then having that domain name you've always dreamed of is
right around the corner.
So ...... where do you begin? What steps do you need to take to stake
out your territory in the world wide web?
First we need to decide on a webhost. What exactly is a webhost, you
ask? A webhost is the place or "server" where your pages and images
that make up your site, will live ;o).
An important decision when considering your webhost is whether you are
going to get a domain name of your own or are you just looking for a
subdomain? If you're not set on having your OWN domain name then you
can settle for a subdomain or even your isp space which usually
provides you with some space on their servers. Subdomains are
extensions of another domain and can usually be obtained for free.
They read something like http://www.hostname.com/yourname/
downfalls to consider with subdomains:
1. You usually have to carry the hosts
advertising (banners, popups or text ads)
2. You have to have someone elses name as part of your domain (ie:
3. You rarely have control over your metatags, site description or
keywords. 4. Long, difficult to remember url's. 5. Subdomains do not
If you only want a personal, homepage, then you might be willing to
accept the limitations above. However, if you're starting a business
site, it would be to your advantage to come up with the money for a
domain of your own. Clients do wonder why someone is
http://carolspizza.freeservers.com vs. http://www.carolspizza.com
However, if a subdomain is all you require, you can get one from
tripod.com, freeservers.com, netfirms.com and several others. It is
usually an easy process completed online within about 10 minutes. If
you still decide to go with a free service and a subdomain, you might
want to consider getting a redirect url service to shorten the url.
Basically, a redirect service allows your webspace to be called up
using a shorter, easier to remember name. You can turn
http://carolspizza.freeservers.com into http://go.to/carols
services you might want to consider are
It's helpful if you lay out a guideline of what you want and need from
a host and familiarize yourself with some basic terms.
So let's go
and do a search for "web
hosting" and see what comes up. Keep track of each site that you
visit and the services they offer.
Compare the different services you see and ask some basic questions:
1. Are your basic needs met?
2. Does it cost more to add certain items that you need in your
3. What about upgrades? Do they offer them?
4. How is the customer service? You can test this by writing a
general "help" question. See how fast you get a response. Is it a
live person or an autoresponder?
Unless you just know that you are going to need alot of space, it's
probably best to start off with a small package. You can always
upgrade later if you require more. Something that alot of people do
is assume that they will need tons of space. So they go to these
companies offering huge megaspace and pay for that on a monthly basis.
What very few people know is that most people don't use over 20mb of
space! Of course, if you have lots of graphics, and content ...
you'll want to start a bit bigger. A good rule of thumb to judge by
is that 20MB web space is equal to about 100 static pages.
For a complete service that meets the needs of the growing online
business, which would include ftp (file transfers) emails, a cgi-bin
(the place you store scripts to make your site interactive) you can
expect to pay anywhere from $10 - $30 a month. Some hosts offer
yearly payments and it's usually cheaper to go that route. Our
offers a full
year of service for only $20.00. So jot down what you need and then
set out and compare who has what and what the charge is. Shop around
until you are sure you're getting something that you will be happy
with and that will grow with you as you expand.
So, now that you've decided on where your site will be stored, let's
pick out a domain name. Domain names are important. They say alot
about you. They're personal They have meaning. If you're starting
an online business, they should make a statement about your business.
Network Solutions used to be the place to go for domain names, but you
have to be prepared to pay 2 or 3x what you would pay with another
registrar. Most hosting sites include a domain lookup form on their
site. We have domain registration service of our own at
, but other
places you might want to check are
Think of a
domain name you would like and then type it into the search box
(domain names cannot contain spaces -- only numbers, letters and
hyphens are allowed).
Some hosting companies offer to register your domain for you. This is
fine, but you should make sure that YOU are the actual domain owner
and that you have complete control over your domain name and transfer,
if you choose. Sometimes companies will register the domain name for
you, but they maintain control, which meaans if you decide to transfer
to a different host at a later date, or you need to make changes, you
can't ... or you have to go through a 3rd party to do so. It's easier
to just handle the registration yourself.
Once you decide on the domain name you like and find it's available
... register it. That's all there is to it! You'll need a credit
card, the domain name of choice and it will help if you have the name
servers or IP address of your web hosting company - which is the ip of
the hosting company you've chosen. Usually, when you sign up for
hosting, this information is provided to you, or you can ask for it
and it's readily available they look something like ns1.b2phat.com and
ns2.b2phat.com or they can also be the actual IP address.
So, we're almost done ... you've entered your domain name choice,
you've registered your domain name .... and you're a proud website
owner! Welcome to the world of internet real estate!
The next step, which I will cover in next weeks article will be
designing your new website. How do you choose a design? To build it
yourself or hire a designer?
Some things to think about until next time ;o)
About the Author Darla Cole, along with her partner Kleavell,
own and manage
Bronze 2 Platinum Hosting and Technologies. a successful, personal
and affordable web hosting company. Darla also manages
The Newbie Hangout which is designed to help the new webmaster