the right idea

If you’re setting up your own website for the first time you have probably come across a heap of technical terms like domains, hosting and maybe even DNS.  It is confusing, but follow along below and hopefully we can help you understand how it all fits together.

What is a domain or domain name?

The domain name is the address you type into your web browser (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox etc) to get to a specific website.  For example:  www.facebook.com or www.coles.com.au 

Every website has its own domain name.  When registering your own domain name, you will need to pick something that no one else has chosen before.  And yes, that can be tricky.  Most companies that sell domains will have helpful tools to help you search for a domain that is still available.

We’ll come back to the process of registering your domain a little later.  Let’s talk hosting now.

What is hosting or website hosting?

First a bit of background.  The internet is really just a sprawling network of physical computers.  These computers share information with you and I as we click from website to website.  Every webpage, video and photo you look at online is stored somewhere in the world on a computer.

In the same way, if you want to build a website you need to store the website files on one of these connected computers (also known as a server – it serves information to visitors).  When we talk about hosting we’re talking about renting space on a connected computer to store your files.

Once your files are on a connected computer, then people can access them through the internet from anywhere in the world.  Well, except for maybe North Korea or Russia.

How do domain names and hosting work together?

Domain names are a clever way of helping people remember website addresses.  Without a domain name, you would need your customers to remember weird numerical addresses, like 196.168.0.200, to find your website online.  Getting people to remember www.spottysocks.com.au is easier.

Your domain is an easy to remember website address that sends people to the connected computer that is storing your files.

It also means that you could move your files to a new connected computer and simply change where the domain name sends people.  So customers would keep typing in www.spottysocks.com.au and would be redirected to a new connected computer.

Important things to consider before registering your domain name and hosting package

Your choice of domain name also affects your business’ email address.  Whatever domain name you choose becomes the second half of all of your email addresses.  E.g. info@myshop.com.au.  If the domain name is really long, your email addresses are going to be really long too and info@mychoiceofbusinessnamewasbad.com.au is just nasty to try and spell over the phone.

While it is possible to register a domain name with one company and a hosting package with another and connect the two… its a bit awkward.  It means you will need to fiddle with something called DNS and unless you’re a real geek its best to avoid it.  Much better to first choose a website hosting company and then register your domain with them.  Nice and neat, one account to remember and one helpdesk to interact with.

If you are registering a .com.au domain in Australia, you will first need to register your business and receive an Australian Business Number (ABN), before you can register the domain.  If you have an ABN already, you can register multiple domain names against a single ABN.

Where should I register my domain and website hosting?

First, think about where your audience is.  Are you only selling to an Australian market, or is your primary market overseas somewhere?  The company that hosts your website should ideally have ‘connected computers’ in those countries to keep your files on.  Otherwise your website will feel slow because visitors have to wait for the information to zoom down a million kilometres of undersea cables before they can see your punchy website graphics.

Secondly, there are some specialist website hosts that are very good at hosting certain types of website.  For instance, you might want to use the WordPress package to build your website.  In that case, you should consider using a hosting company that supports WordPress well.

Finally, you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting.  Any seasoned website professional will vouch for us on this.  There are inevitably problems that crop up along the way when running a website and having a company that has great telephonic support, with real humans, is worth every cent in those moments.

Our favourite hosting provider is Site Ground (www.siteground.com).  They will allow you to register a domain name.  They also have a fancy system which stores your website files on connected computers all over the world, so that its fast everywhere.  Finally, they offer tailored WordPress hosting, which is our platform of choice for building websites.

On second thoughts maybe I need some help

If after reading this you’ve decided you can’t be arsed to figure all of this out yourself, please give us a call.  The Right Idea team is ready to sort out all of the admin for you and set you up with a bangin’ website so that you can stop reading boring blogs and get back to your core business.

Do you want to sell online?  We can help with that too.  Need help choosing a name and developing your business branding?  We’re champing at the bit.

Chat to Roger on 0491 022 382 or email info@therightidea.com