Registering your domain name & hosting your site
So you’ve decided on your ideal domain name. Now it’s time to check if it’s available, register it and host your site. That’s what I’ll be talking you through in this tutorial.
We discussed what a domain name is earlier, but what exactly is hosting? Well, websites need to be stored somewhere on the world-wide web in order for people to access them. Hosting companies provide space on their servers for individuals and companies to store their sites.
For a one-stop shop, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend using Bluehost for both your domain name registration and to host your site. Here’s why:
The advantages of Bluehost
- Your domain name is automatically connected to your hosting, saving time and avoiding what can be a slightly complicated process.
- If you host your site with Bluehost, the domain name registration is free for the first 12 months.
- You can install WordPress (the platform upon which we recommend you build your site) with one click.
- Bluehost offers an extremely competitively priced hosting service.
- The quality of the support at Bluehost is incredible
What to be aware of when using Bluehost
You can only register .com .org .net .us .biz .cc .tv extensions. If you are an artist in the UK for example and you want a .co.uk extension you will have to choose another registrar (GoDaddy offers domain names for as low as £2.99 per year). You will still be able to host the site with Bluehost, but you’ll have to go through the process of pointing the domain name to your website (click here to find out how).
I would actually always recommend going for a .com extension if you can (no matter where you are based). There is some evidence to suggest that .com domain names are more highly respected internationally and that search engines rank them better.
Instructions for checking and registering your domain name
and getting hosting with Bluehost
1. Go to BlueHost.com. Click on the button that says ‘Get started now’.
2. On the next screen you’ll see a box in which you can type your first choice domain name to see if it’s available. You can use the dropdown menu to select your desired extension (.com, .net, .info etc). Then click Next.
3. Then you’ll be told whether the domain name is available or not. If it isn’t, you’ll be offered a number of alternatives.
4. If you don’t like any of the alternative names, scroll down and click on ‘Show more suggestions’ (BlueHost will give you even more options) or go to the ‘New domain’ box at the bottom of the page to search for a new name or the same name with a different extension.
5. Once you’ve found a domain name that you like and is available you’ll be taken to the account registration page. First fill in your personal details.
6. Then scroll down and choose your package. With BlueHost, domain registration is free for the first year. What you are choosing here is your hosting package. I would recommend the cheapest option for a single artist website. With this option your site is hosted on a shared server (meaning a server that hosts several other sites besides yours). It is the most affordable and actually the most technophobe friendly option and perfect for smaller sites that aren’t expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors every day.
The other options are more powerful but are suited more to large sites with thousands of daily visitors (when we started getting a lot of traffic at TextileArtist.org we had no choice but to move to a virtual private server as our site started loading very slowly). They also require a bit more technical knowledge to keep your site running smoothly; for a beginner I’d recommend the simplest option.
So if you’re happy, choose the 36 month plan works out at $3.95 a month (currently about £2.60) or if you want to try Bluehost for a shorter amount of time to make sure you’re happy with the service, choose the 12 month plan, which works out at $5.95 a month (currently about £3.90). Be aware that you won’t be paying this monthly: it is paid in one bulk amount once you confirm you want to make the purchase.
I’d suggest leaving the other options as they are. It does work out a little more expensive to have SiteLock Domain Security ($1.99 per month), Site Backup Pro ($1.99 per month) and Domain Privacy ($0.99 per month). They are there to protect your site from spam, make sure the site is regularly backed up and protect your personal contact details.
7. All you then need to do is fill in your payment details or if you’d prefer to pay with Paypal click ‘More payment options’. Make sure the box confirming you are happy to proceed is ticked and click ‘Next’.
Once the payment has been processed, you’ll be asked to create a password, sent a confirmation email and that’s it! You’ve registered your domain name and purchased fast and reliable hosting. Now you’re ready to get your site up and running!