A lot of new clients come to me with same woe: they have no idea how to access their existing hosting or domain name. And in the normal course of events you wouldn’t need to access these – but if you ever wanted to make changes to your site or completely overhaul the site, you will need this information to pass on to your developer.
It happens to a lot of people that they unknowingly get their developer to register their domain name and arrange their hosting and now they have no idea how to access it to pass on the information and wonder why they are getting large yearly bills without understanding what it is all about. Even worse, sometimes there has been a fallout with the previous developers or they are simply unreachable (or retired).
All’s not lost, as we are generally able to recover it and transfer ownership to the rightful owner but you have to keep in mind, it may slow down project timing and sometimes added costs in tracking it down. By arranging your own domain name(s) and hosting, you know you own it outright, with no hassles and ensure you are getting the best deal by getting billed directly from their respective companies and ensure there is no extra costs from people arranging the hosting and domain names for you.
The team here at Created By Danielle is a true believer in owning everything yourself. It might mean learning some of the technical lingo to get a better understanding of what you want but I am sure your website designer or developer can help guide you through the process.
In this article we are going to discuss how you go about selecting a domain name and purchasing it and we are going to learn about hosting and what you should look out for there.
This is the sixth blog in the “How To Prepare To Hire A Web Designer Blog Series”
If you have just joined me, maybe you would like to read the first blog in this series “Make sure you understand your business first” or any of the following in this series before continuing!
- Be Realistic About Your First Edition -Think Minimum Viable Website (MPW)
- Consider A Number of Experts
- How to Analyse Your Competitor’s Websites
- Determine Your Keywords (Search Terms)
How To Buy A Domain Name
Now, let’s get down into the nitty gritty on how to buy a domain name. There are several steps you need to think about along the way. Including deciding what domain name you want, what market you are targeting and where to buy it. In this chapter, we are going to learn how you can take control of your domain name.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is like a street address, it is the address to your website. It is a unique address that helps identify you and/or your brand on the internet. A person uses your domain name to find your website, he/she enters the domain name into a browser when wanting to go directly to your website or use it to search the internet for your website.
createdbydanielle.com is the domain name of this website.
google.com is the domain name of Google.
bbc.co.uk is the domain name of th BBC
You will note that different domain names have different endings. This website uses .com whereas the BBC uses .co.uk. What you use is entirely up to you and how you want to target your visitors however there are some pointers.
.com was derived from the word commercial and originally intended for commercial identities. That restriction has now been removed. It is the most common top level domain and a great TLD to have even if you intend to use a local domain as your primary website address.
.org is truncated from the word organization and it is primarily for schools and non-profit organizations.
.govt is for reserved for government websites based in the United States of America. Other countries have derived from this into forms such as .govt.au
.co.uk, .com.au, .co.nz, .fr, .nl etc are examples of local based address, that are great for targeting your country. Your country will also will have something similar.
CbyD Tip: If you can and have the budget to do so it is better to purchase the .com for your site as well as the local addresses. It allows you and your company to be able to grow into different areas and or target different locations. It also protects you from another company starting up with your name. You can have multiple domain names pointing to one primary one. For example if people go to cbyd.co.nz they will find themselves landing on createdbydanielle.com website.
Our recommendation for most businesses: buy yourcompany.com as well as your local domain if you are based outside of the US.
How to research a domain name
One would think to see if a domain name is available you would just “Google it”. This in fact is the wrong way to go about it. The proper way would be to use a company that sells domain names such as Crazy Domains to do your research. When you enter in your intended name it will tell you straight away what is available using normal extension or alternative ones. You can also do bulk research if you have a long list of potential names.
Where Should I Buy My Domain Name?
There are a number of places where you can buy your domain name. It could be part of your hosting package or completely separate with another company. Both are good options it just depends on what you are doing and why you are doing it.
A lot of hosting packages offer a domain name for free when signing up to their packages. This is great if you are just making a purchase once and it keeps all your bills under one roof. However if you are purchasing more than one domain you can not get at your main stream hosting account, you need to look at buying it from a company that specializes in just domain names.
I personally use Crazy Domains it is an easy and simple website to use and has good standard prices for your top level domain names or your second level domains.
CbyD Tip: If you are from countries such as Namibia and South Africa, then you may need to look for a local version of this. Either ask your website developer to suggest a company or do a google search yourself. Just make sure you do your homework and see the different prices before committing. I know from experience .com.na price can range from $70 per year to $700! Which one would you prefer to spend?
How To Buy A Hosting Package.
What is hosting?
Website hosting is where your website is hosted, or stored on a special computer called a server. Basically, just think of it as file storage for your website that can be access anywhere in the world.
What Type Of Hosting Should I Get?
There are different types of hosting, shared, WordPress managed, linux, cloud hosted – just to name a few. It can get very complicated quickly but here are a few pointers in what to look out for for a standard website. If you have anything special you may need to consult your website developers.
Shared hosting just means your website files will be stored on a server where other people’s website files will be stored. You wont be able to access their files, nor will they be able to access yours, it’s just a way for hosting companies to lower hosting costs but still provide adequate hosting services at little cost to you. For this range you are look under $10 USD per month.
It’s generally what most people need when looking for hosting. However here are some key features to look out for to ensure you get what you’re paying for.
Preferred Shared Hosting Features
- Unlimited File Storage
- Access To Cpanel
- Able to add multiple websites
- Able to have email accounts
- Money Back Guarantee (some lock you in after 30 days)
- MySql (If you’re wanting to use WordPress)
The above features allow you to grow if needed. Some hosting companies put restrictions on your account, these are fine as long as you are aware of them and can upgrade at any time.
Managed hosting means that you have an optimised server for your software. Since its managed, if you want to make a single change to the settings you often need to open a ticket and request them to do it for you.
This type of hosting is generally more expensive (around $25-30 USD per month) as you get access to hosting support whenever you need it.
CbyD Tip: Look for hosting servers close to where your clients are. Most people can get away with the big hosting companies such as Bluehost or GoDaddy, however, if you are in South Africa for example you might want to look closer to home for hosting. Having a hosting company close to your visitors means your website is served to them faster.
You Should Pay for your own Domain Name and Hosting.
By now you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Don’t be that client who is being overcharged and doesn’t own their own domain name or hosting. Remember by buying your own domain name and hosting you ensure you are getting what you pay for in the long run. In the end you just need to decide on a name and bite the bullet and make that purchase.
If you ever need some advice just drop me a line, I will answer any of your questions about domain names or hosting and point you in the direction.