Domain and Hosting Explained for Creative Entrepreneurs

domain-and-hosting-explained

There’s so much to do when starting a business and one of the main and most important tasks you will have is getting your own website up and running.

I’m going to take you through the A-Z of getting your online presence up and running. So let’s start out with the basics – a simple explanation of domain and hosting.

When I help people set up their websites I start off with asking them a bunch of questions to get to know them and their business better. One of which is always, “Do you have a domain name and hosting?” I always get either a confused look or complete silence followed by “huh”?

It’s easy to forget that not everyone knows the techy stuff behind the technology we use. So I’m here to clear it all up for ya so you can be confident when starting your online journey.

Let’s get started.

The Why

Let’s start this discussion off with the “Why” of it all. Why should you have your own domain and hosting?

A very simple answer is because it’s yours. Nobody can take it away from you or change an algorithm. When you own your own domain and hosting you are in complete control and in this online game, that is very important.

What Is The Difference Between Domain and Hosting

Domains and Hosting are two totally different things.

I like to think of them as an address and house. The domain is the address and hosting is the house.

A domain is the web address you type into your browser search bar. You know it as www.domainsometing.com.

It takes you to the website you are trying to reach. Believe me, it gets way more technical than that. But for now, all you need to know is that this is the address of someone’s online home (their website).

Hosting is actually where a website lives, kind of like a house. In order for someone to access your website they have to have a place to go and this is where hosting comes in. Hosting houses all of the files that make up your website.

So you see, they are two totally different things and yes, you must have both for your website to work.

To Own or Not To Own

I’d like to tell you a little story.

I’ve been in the online game for quite awhile but I wasn’t always tech savvy. Oh no, I was just like you at first, confused as to how websites actually worked.

I needed to get a website done for a project I was working on and found a great deal where they provided the domain name and hosting for me so I didn’t have to worry about it.

Fast forward to a year later and I go to check my website and to my surprise, it isn’t online anymore because my domain name and hosting had expired.

The company that I used never bothered to mention or send me an email telling me that my domain and hosting were about to expire. What’s worse is that once your hosting expires, all of your files are gone. All of the money and hard work you just did to get your site up and running you will now have to redo.

If I had purchased my own domain and hosting instead of letting someone purchase it for me, I would have known that they were about to expire and could have prevented a huge loss in time and money.

The moral of the story is don’t be like me, be better than I was and be the owner of your domain and hosting.

How To Buy Domain and Hosting?

Now that I’ve explained what domains are and what hosting does and why you need them I know your next question is, “So How Do I Get A Domain Name and Hosting”?

I’m glad you asked! Getting a domain name and hosting is super easy. In fact, you can purchase both within 5 minutes.

The good thing is that it is not expensive. A domain name can cost anywhere from $8-$14 a year and hosting can cost anywhere from around $3 per month well into the hundreds per month. But don’t worry, unless you are some big name website getting a bunch of traffic, you will be just fine with the cheaper plans.

Side Note: Look around for coupons. You may be able to get your domain name and hosting cheaper for the first year.

bluehost-hosting-and-domains

How To Buy Your Own Domain Name and Hosting

Step 1: Get Your Domain

  • Go to a domain name service provider (see below)
  • Search for your domain name
  • Purchase

Side Note: .coms are the industry standard when it comes to domains because people are used to those endings and they are easy to remember. However, you don’t have to stick to .com. There are so many other extensions. For example, if you are a realtor you could pick a domain name that ends in .realtor.

Best Places to Purchase Domains and Hosting

 

Step 2: Get Your Hosting

Luckily for you the links I provided above also act as hosting providers, all except one of them.

  • Select the plan that fits your budget – make sure you take note if you are paying monthly or yearly.
  • Purchase hosting

The best option for most people is to go to a company where you can buy both the domain name and hosting. This way everything is in one place.

For most of the links I have provided you can get both the domain name and hosting at a great price. I have recently switched over to SiteGround and the have been amazing! I highly recommend them but I have also used Bluehost for a number of my clients and my clients seem to be super happy with their service.

And just like that you have your very own domain and hosting.

Side Note: If you are confused just give the company a call and speak with a representative. They will be happy to assist you and explain everything in detail.

Get YOUR Domain Name Now

I wish this was something someone told me, so I’m telling you. Get the domain name of your business or even your own name as a domain as soon as you think you may want to have your own business or blog or if you may want to brand yourself down the road.

You would think a unique name like Crystal Apple would be easy to register but nope, it was taken.  I think they let the domain expire and now it is up for sale for I think around $1000.

I’m not paying that much money for any domain name so I had to get creative and add words before and after my name but I really wish I could’ve just gotten my name.

Why Hosting Matters

One word – “Google”. Okay, okay there are lots more reasons why hosting should be a priority for you but Google is a big factor.

Google’s business model is partly made up of giving customers the best experience on the web. Your site speed, which is affected by your hosting, is a big ranking factor.

Slow hosting causes major frustration for customers/readers.

Think about the last time you were on a website and it took forever to load (forever is usually more than 3 seconds on the Internet). Remember how frustrated you were? You probably gave up at one point and just went to the next best site.

Not only do you lose potential customers/readers but Google doesn’t look kindly at sites that have high Bounce rates (the bounce rate is determined by how long someone stays on your site and then leaves. A high bounce rate may signal to Google that your content is not good for whatever reason and they may stop showing it).

One Last Thing – Let’s Make It Secure

Google is trying to make the Internet safer for consumers.

If you look at the search bar in your browser where the domain name is, you will see either Http:// or Https://. HTTP protocol is used to request and receive the data across the web.

HTTPS which is HTTP over SSL Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the use of as a sublayer under regular HTTP application layering. This encrypts your data so that no middleman can steal information.

ssl-vs-no-ssl

Google has said that it will start giving priority to sites with secure encryption. So by making your site secure, you give yourself a leg up on your competition who is not doing so just yet.

I know SiteGround and WPEngine give you a free SSL certificate when you purchase hosting. If the hosting provider you have doesn’t give you a free one you can always purchase one.

If you’re an e-commerce site this secure encryption is actually pretty serious and damn near mandatory. You shouldn’t be taking people’s financial information not using SSL. You open them up to serious risk.

I hope I’ve cleared up the confusion about what domains are and what hosting actually does.

Next up, we will look at how you connect the two – your domain to your hosting so that we can get your site up and running.

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