Domain Names and Hosting – Sorting the Confusion

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

So you have found what you want to do online, have done your research, and are set to get started. When it comes to getting a domain name and hosting you find so much information available. It can be overwhelming but don’t let it intimidate you; it really is not so bad when you have some information first.

To start very basically your domain name is what shows and can be searched on like www.yourgreatname.com It can be bought from a domain registrar. Hosting is related but different, a hosting company actually puts your site online. Before you can get hosting you will need to have a domain name registered or in the process.

There are many different domain registrars and chances are you will not need to stay in contact with them unless you plan to change hosting or to renew your name. If you do need to contact them it is very important that you are able to. Not sure where to start?, try asking someone who has a domain that they use and what kind of service they get.

Your domain name reflects on your site so put a lot of thought into it, keep it short and memorable. Many registrars will have a service where you can pick a name based on your keywords. You really should have a good idea what keywords you want to use; if not do more research, it is that important. If you pick a name yourself, it may not be available. Try changing the wording around or use different words. It can be frustrating but keep after it.

For business purposes it is best to use a .com name, most search on .com and your name could show on another extension such as .org. This will not show your site and you want to be found.

Hopefully after not too much fuss you will find a name you want, so go ahead and register it. Remember if your name is not renewed it can become available to someone else. Register it for as long as possible to be on the safe side. When your name is registered you will receive information about it, you do NOT want to lose this information.

So far, so good, you have a domain and are set to find your host. Sadly this can be more overwhelming than the domain. Before you even start it’s important to know that it is not a good idea to use the same company for domain and hosting. If you need to change to a different host for some reason, this can cost a small fortune to get the domain transferred.

For hosting it is a good idea to ask someone that uses a host. Again service is very important here since the host keeps your site running. To make it easier for you, have an idea of what you need before you shop for a host. There are so many features to hosting and most users will not likely need everything.

There are 2 kinds of hosting, on Windows and Linux/Unix; this has nothing to do with your computers operating system. It’s the servers the host is using. The only time you really need Windows servers is if you plan to use ASP. If you don’t know what that is or don’t want to use it, then you will want Linux/Unix hosting.

There really is too much to go into here but look at what you need. CPanel access is a good thing to have. Or say you want to setup a blog, you may want to have Fantastico and at least 1 SQL database. Any feature you look at, if you don’t know what it is or it gives you a headache to try pronounce it, you don’t need it. Seriously make it easier for yourself.

Site storage (room for files stored) and bandwidth (transfer capacity) are widely misunderstood. Files needed for your site are stored on the host server, the more you need on your site, the more space you need. Graphics and some applications will take up a lot of room. Bandwidth is used transferring information; showing a picture, downloads and streaming (audio/video) You are allowed a certain amount each month.

Yes you can plan for these both, they are measured and reported to you. Get what you think you will need and you can upgrade for more. There is NO such thing as unlimited storage or bandwidth, simply not possible. Most hosting is shared so each get their space, but even with dedicated, how can one server hold or transfer everything?

While you are looking at all this, you may want to test the company on how they respond. Find the contact information and ask them a question. How soon they respond and how they treat you is a good indication of what service to expect. Remember that if you have a problem you have to able to reach your host.

This is a lot to think about and this is actually a short version. When you are satisfied and sign up with a host they will send you information as well. Keep this and find the part called DNS Domain Name Servers. This DNS information must be given to the domain registrar for your site to show up. You can do it yourself at the registrars site, but if you have a problem they will help you with it.

Now you are set with a domain and hosting; hoping this can help you and save you some time and headaches.

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