How to get your site on the internet

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

So, a good friend of mine is starting her own pottery business. I am super excited for her, as I know she has wanted to do this for some time now. As a way to support her in this, I decided to create her a site. For now, it will just be a landing page, until we can figure out a design that she likes since at the writing of this I haven’t told her that I made it yet.

The purpose of this post isn't to talk about the design or coding, but to go over who exactly you put your website on the web. I will briefly go into the two different steps to creating the site, but won't really go into the actual coding. So let's dive into the first step.

The domain is probably the most straightforward part of this. You have an idea, you figure out what to call it, and then you search if that name has been taken. The hard part is figuring which TLD or top-level domain to select such as (.com), (.org), or (.net). The number of TLDs available out there is astronomical. I can’t really help you decide but do know that (.com) is the most popular(obviously), but it’s usually the most expensive, and most likely to be taken already. So do your research on what TLD would work best for your business, or whatever reason you are creating your site.

There are a few places in which to register your URL. They all do roughly the same thing, but prices vary. Here is a list of just a few options.

  • Namecheap
  • GoDaddy
  • GoogleDomains
  • Bluehost

I ended up going with Namecheap, they had the best price, on top of a discount. The process is pretty easy, you just go to the site, enter in the domain you are looking for, and it tells you if it’s available. If the domain is not available, it offers suggestions. The suggestions are usually just a different TLD, but sometimes it's an adjustment to the whole thing. After you decide and then pay for your domain, you can move on to the next part. You will need to come back to your domain provider, but for now, you can leave it alone.

NameCheap search bar

The next thing we have to set is the hosting. This is the place on the web your files will actually live for the site's life, or until you get a better price on hosing. Here is a list of some common hosting sites.

  • BlueHost
  • HostGator
  • DreamHost
  • Hostinger

I went with Hostinger because it had the best price with the most built-in. Now that being said, I don’t know if this was the best choice, I’. already struggling with the dashboard, and some of the features, and haven't found any documentation that could guide me through some of it. I’m also fairly new to this, so it could just be the learning curve.

So once you figure out which hosting provider you want to go with, you will need to connect the domain. What will need to happen is that the nameservers will need to be connected. I ended up going with hostinger, and they gave them to me as soon as I was finished paying and logged in for the first time. There are usually two but could be more. Where I had an issue was I couldn't figure out where to enter them on Namecheap's dashboard. This is just a small issue, I did eventually find it. They say it takes roughly 24 hours before the two officially connect, that was not the case for me.

It really isn’t that hard to get a domain and hosting. That being said there are a few things I like to point out. You may notice that a lot of hosting sites offer free domains. I ended up not taking one of those, because when you buy a domain you are only buying it for a year. After that, you have to pay again, and all the places that offered free domain would have been cheaper than what I paid.

Another thing to think about is that most hosting sites also register domains and most domain sites also host. Keep that in mind when you are doing either it could be very convenient to do both things in the same place. The last thing I want to point out is that there are multiple ways to create a website. I’m using WordPress for this one. Currently, I am using the built-in WordPress to create this site. I am finding this a little harder to create some feature that I enjoy using, so I will probably do everything on my local and then upload it. Most hosting sites allow you to upload your files, you will need them to be compressed before you do, however.

That’s it for this post. Now get out there and create a website. I know I plan on launching a lot more, nor that I have a handle on this once intimidating task.

Full Stack Developer Ruby and Javascript. Recent grad of the Flatiron School.