There are hundreds of articles on the web that go through the process of setting hosting and a domain to get your website up and running, all you have to do is Google it and you’ll get an overwhelming list.
From that you’re probably wondering why I’ve spent valuable time doing the exact same thing. Well, in my article I’m going to break it down so much so you could easily write your own blog post and know exactly what you’re talking about!
This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you use them. I only recommend tools that I use and trust.
We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s begin..
WHAT IS A DOMAIN?
A domain is the URL of your website so for example my domain name is sliceofcache.com. It is generally the name of your business/blog or a slight variation if the name you’re after is already taken.
The majority of domain providers have a domain availability feature on their site where you can enter your desired domain and see if it is available or if you need to tweak it slightly.
- pro tip – try searching your desired domain in a browser first to see if it’s taken or not. Once you’ve checked the domains availability on a domain provider there are people out there who can see what you’re looking up and can purchase it before you get the chance then forcing you to spend thousands of dollars to get it back
WHAT IS HOSTING?
Now we are onto the nitty gritty part. A website is made up of multiple files that all talk to one another to produce a multi page website. For the website to be seen on the web, the files need to be stored somewhere where the internet/browsers can read them.
This is where a hosting provider comes into it. A hosting provider has a server or multiple servers (think of servers like a storage space for the internet) where your files are sitting and when your website is clicked, the browser then knows to load the files on that server.
SETTING IT ALL UP CORRECTLY
Now that you have a basic understanding of why we need domains and hosting we can move onto the fun stuff…. setting it all up!
As a web developer I have come across and used many providers and the only one I have never have any issues with (touch wood) is SiteGround. If you’ve already done some research you most likely would have already come across SiteGround as they have skyrocketed as one of the best providers worldwide.
One major issue that arises when dealing with a poor hosting provider is a slow loading website – you could have implemented many ways to increase your page speed but nothing you do will fix it if your hosting provider can’t handle either the size of your site or the traffic entering your site.
Below I’ve attached a screenshot of SiteGrounds hosting packages, let me run you through the difference.
SiteGround’s start up package includes hosting for 1 website only, if you’re planning on having multiple websites then obviously this plan is not for you.
It comes with 10GB of storage – to give you an idea of this, no website should be bigger than 500MB. With that in mind, 10GB of storage is definitely more than enough for just 1 website unless you are planning on uploading a large amount of images – if you’re planning on having an e-commerce store you may want to look into this.
The most important feature you need to look for when deciding on a hosting plan is the bandwidth or as SiteGround has stated above – the monthly visits. 10,000 monthly visits means that your website will be hit 10,000 times within one month. If your monthly visits exceeds this amount, it’s best to upgrade your plan so your visitors have a speedy and uninterrupted experience on your site.
All plans include the ‘Essential Features’ which I have shown below.
As you can see all of the plans include many free features including a free site transfer, this is perfect if you already have your site hosted with a different provider but want to move it to SiteGround.
Another incredible freebie is the free SSL’s & HTTP/2. SSL’s are a certificate that makes your site a secured site, which is highly recommended for all websites. If you have an e-commerce store, a SSL certificate is a must! Google loves secure websites, so much so all SEO gurus are making it a must-do in their strategies. The only noticeable front-end change an SSL certificate makes is the change from http:// to https:// before your domain name.
The ‘GrowBig’ plan includes all of the features in the ‘StartUp’ plan, however it comes with more storage (20GB) and it can hold up to 25,000 visitors a month instead of 10,000.
There are premium features also:
Priority technical support is exactly that – you’re support questions are prioritised before the ‘StartUp’ package owners.
SuperCacher is a great feature which ‘caches’ your website when a visitor views your site, so the next time they visit the speed will be amazingly fast.
Wildcard SSL Certificates are much like a standard SSL certificate however it allows the certificate to be used on all variations of your domain, for example: https://order.yourdomain.xxx, https://my.yourdomain.xxx, https://webmail.yourdomain.xxx and https://www.yourdomain.xxx OR https://yourdomain.xxx.
Whereas a standard SSL certificate is issed for one single domain name only, for example: www.yourdomain.xxx OR yourdomain.xxx
30 Backup Copies allows you to have 30 copies of your site’s backup which can be stored in multiple different places.
The ‘GoGeek’ plan is great for either websites that are to expect quite a bit of traffic, as it can handle around 100,000 visits a month. The plan obviously also comes with all the same features as the other two plans and it’s very own ‘Geeky Advanced Features’.
To be honest, these features are exactly for whom it’s targeted to: the geeks (such as myself). I personally use this plan because it is perfect for a developer as it has staging options and Git Repo creation.
However, if you are not a developer and you do not know what a Git Repo is or what you do with a staging site then that is perfectly fine! You do not need to know these features if all you are looking for is a reliable host provider that can handle your traffic.
Because I am all about the entrepreneur life and saving money wherever possible – I suggest starting off with the smallest plan you can and upgrading based on the amount of traffic you get. If you’re getting over 10,000 monthly visits then it’s safe to say you can probably afford to upgrade as that amount of traffic is very impressive and hard to get starting out.
HOW TO SET IT UP
I hope by now you have a better understanding of all things domain and hosting and what you’re about to invest in. Let’s move on to the ‘how-to’ of it all. I’m going to break it down, step-by-step with screenshots (you’re welcome) so you can easily follow along.
Once you have decided which plan is best for you, select the ‘Get Started’ button at the bottom of the plan details.
You may have noticed that I went straight into the setting up of the hosting, skipping the domain registration – well this was indeed intentional and it is because SiteGround asks you here, in this step if you would like to register a domain or if you have an existing one.
So go ahead and fill in your details, for this ‘how-to’ I will go through the new domain registration process.
Once you’ve registered a domain, your next step is to obviously set up your account and pay for your purchases.
Fill out your personal information by following the prompts.
The ‘Purchase Information’ section allows you to change the ‘Data Centre’ where your server will be hosted. I recommend choosing the location that is closest to you.
Here you can also select how many months hosting you would like to pay for upfront, this is a personal preference so go ahead and make the right choice for you.
There is an additional add on feature called SG Site Scanner. To be honest, I have never used this feature as I implement my own strategies to protect and scan my website. Again, this is a personal preference – I cannot tell you if it is worth the extra money or not (sorry!) but I mean security-wise it wouldn’t hurt and everything else SiteGround offers is top-notch!
Nearly there! You have to confirm your email address – an email will be sent to you, just follow the prompts they provide and then you’re all set.
YOU HAVE A DOMAIN & HOSTING! YAY!
SUMMING IT UP
If you managed to read this entire blog, kudos to you! There was a lot of information dished out, take your time to really understand everything – Google more if you have to! You can never know too much (well, maybe you can).
Now that you’ve got your hosting and domain name setup, you can move onto creating your website. If you’re looking into WordPress – be sure to check out this article that outlines what WordPress is and the difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org.
If you have any questions, PLEASE feel free to leave them in the comments below. I am so very happy to help, this stuff can get overwhelming and confusing so please don’t be shy.
I wish you all the luck!