room filled on two sides with server computer racks

Your website needs a goal and purpose.

Basic? – Yes. Thinking about and defining exactly what it is you want to achieve with a website will help you decide the things you need.

If you are reading this, it is probably fair to say you need a sound, secure website that you control fully; a site that is well stocked with the tools you need; is easy to operate and will be found by search engines.

On the other hand, you may have an existing site that doesn’t quite do these things. In either case, I can help.

To start, there are 2 things every site must have.

Domain Name and Hosting

You will need to register your site name, or domain, and decide on a host for your site. Most hosting companies offer some sort of deal such as ‘free’ for domain name registration. They are often a re-seller, or don’t offer a full range of domain names.

The best way to keep control of one of your most important assets (your name) is to own it independently.

The best way to keep control of one of your most important assets (your name) is to own it independently.

I recommend registering your domain name with a registrar separate to your hosting company.

That way, if you decide to move from your hosting company, you can do so with full control over your domain.

Your domain name is your website address or url (uniform resource locator) on the internet and gives you an online identity or brand.

When picking a website domain, it’s best to go with a name that:-

  • represents your business, brand or personality
  • is easy to remember, pronounce and spell
  • is short and unique.

Here is a list of Australian registrars. You can register a domain name with companies from around the world, but I consider it prudent for Australian citizens to use an Australian based company.

You will see prices range from as cheap as $1 p.a. up to McScrooge levels. $20 p.a. with a reputable provider is about the amount you should expect to pay. .au domains are generally more expensive and are subject to eligibility criteria.

These days .com domains (which once were taken to suggest a commercial site) are accepted for pretty well universal use. I have used Netregistry for over fifteen years without a problem.

DNS (Domain Name System)

DNS is a system that catalogs every domain and IP address on the internet. It is a database hosted on a massive network of servers around the world, including 13 root servers.

If you access the internet, you have an IP address. Every website has an IP address. It consists of numbers like this: 123.456.789.134.

That is easy for a computer to read, less so for humans. The domain name system matches your domain name to this number so that site visitors can easily remember and return to the address.

It could be said to be the internets equivalent of a phone book. Your web host will provide you with the IP address of your site/server for you to provide to your domain name registrar, who facilitates ‘pointing’ your domain to the hosting server.

This information is then propagated around the world to that network of servers.

Hosting companies.

Hosts, simply put, provide the computers where your site resides and the necessary network connections to the internet.

It is possible to host a site from your home computer

It is possible to host a site from your home computer, however it is a specialized field, starting with the quality of the hardware and (especially) the quality of support services.

Very cheap hosting is available, (possibly running on a home computer?) I really wouldn’t know what to expect for $10 p.a. so avoid it.

I have experience with about a dozen hosting companies over the years, and from that experience, have decided that the best companies are medium sized and growing.

I changed to SiteGround a couple of years ago, and have found them to be excellent in all areas.

Here are links to a couple of surveys about hosting companies. The first is fairly small, but I believe to be honest, as with the second which has about 500 respondents.

The respondents are from people using WordPress to run their websites, which is one of my ‘go to’ tools when building a site. Here’s a quote from their conclusions:

For the top overall solution, we have to give it to SiteGround. They have the highest number of survey entries, and they’re in the top 3 rating-wise. They also look really solid across all the other metrics we checked. If I haven’t missed anything crucial here, there are no significant chinks in SiteGround’s armor

Browse more information or, when you are ready, just drop me a line and I’ll be in touch to have a chat about how I can help with your website, which will be designed and built to suit your purposes and meet your goal.

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