You have taken the plunge and purchased your first domain name. You may be a little nervous at this point, or you may be feeling excited, having told everyone who will listen to you about your plans for your personal blog, or your upcoming venture into creating your own bustling business.
Whatever your motivation, it’s not uncommon for many people who have just purchased their domain to quickly have their progress halted. Suddenly, the satisfaction of having just overcome one major hurdle to an online presence is met head on with the next overpowering obstacle; what to do next after you registered a domain name?
If this is the scenario in which you find yourself, then this article is for you. Whilst we can’t make you an icon of the internet in one sitting, we can show you how to take yourself from one-time domain owner to confident website creator in 3 very basic steps.
Step 1 – Get Hosting
There are many companies on the internet that will ‘host’ your online presence. This simply means that they provide a storage or housing facility that enables your website to be seen online. Do your due diligence in this area and read reviews from others to gain an insight into which ones are potentially the best for your purposes.
Some of the larger, well-known companies include HostGator.com and BlueHost.com, however there are many more, and discussion about their worthiness is another topic altogether. If the company that you purchased your domain from also offers hosting e.g. godaddy.com and you purchased that combination plan, then you won’t even need to concern yourself with this step.
In cases where your domain account is a separate entity to any hosting facility, you will need to register an account with a website host before you can progress further. Most people starting out with a domain are doing so with a personal blog in mind, or with aspirations to build a small to medium sized online presence, at least in the short term. In this case, a ‘shared’ hosting package is generally sufficient to meet all of your hosting requirements.
This shared facility means what the term implies; that all of your website files will have shared housing with website files belonging to other people. This in no way impacts the functioning of your site, and is very cost-effective, allowing you to house all of your websites without the need to purchase additional hosting.
Step 2 – Change Name Servers
When you have completed the registration steps with your chosen hosting company, you will receive an email confirmation with your account details. These details include certain criteria that you will need in order to register your domain with them.
The hosting company can only house your website if they are ‘connected’ to your domain name. The way that you connect your domain to the host is by ‘pointing’ the name servers of your domain to your host. Name servers are like phone books.
They exist in the form of numbers, but the directory in which they exist allows people to find your website and where to send your emails. Without getting technical, when you point your name servers to your hosting company, this ensures that the domain and website host can ‘talk to each other’ so that your website can be live online.
You can locate your name server details in the registration email that you received from your host. You will have received at least two name servers that look something like nsxxxx.hostname.com. To point these numbers from your domain registrar to your hosting company, locate your domain name within your domain registration account, and navigate to the ‘transfer DNS’ (Domain Name Server) or similar link.
Enter your name server numbers and save the changes. It really is that simple. Allow up to 48 hours for the change to take effect, though it is normally quite fast. This time delay is known as ‘propagation’ and is the period that is required for your hosting company to recognize your now pointed domain name.
Step 3 – Install Your Website
You can install your blog or website even while waiting for your name servers to propagate. The most functional way to do this is by logging into your hosting account and scrolling to the software and services (or similar) category of your control panel.
Arguably, the most efficient type of site to install is known as WordPress.org and can be done via the feature known as Fantastico De Luxe. This software facility is represented by an inviting smiley face icon which simply requires you to click on it. From there, you will select WordPress, then New Installation, select your domain from the dropdown field, and complete your sign up details before selecting the “install WordPress” button.
Some control panels have replaced the Fantastico option for new accounts with a feature known as QuickInstall, while others provide the option for both. QuickInstall is also located in the software and services category, and is shown in icon form as a clock and an arrow, or some very similar representation. If this is the feature that you require, then again, simply click on the icon, select WordPress and follow your nose.
Both website installation features are user-friendly, and having installed your first website using them, can become addictive due their ease of application.
So there you have it. Whilst registering your domain name for the first time was a triumph in itself, the rest of the procedure to getting starting online is also straight-forward and will make you wonder why you hadn’t started it sooner.
With the peace of mind in knowing that you can repeat this process at any time without needing any technical know-how, the real fun begins now with designing your site, adding to its features, and developing your hobby or business to the next level of fun and success.