The first step in producing your website is to get a domain name, which is the address of your website. You will want your domain name to reflect what you do and be related to what you offer. When you get your name it is added to the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your website. After you have your name registered you will want to select a hosting company to serve your website to users.
What is a domain name?
What is a domain name? It is the address of your website on the internet and the name that people enter when they want to go to your website. The whole string taken together is called the URL or uniform resource locator. For instance, the URL of this site is https://www.silphiumdesign.com/…. The URL consists of three parts.
- https://: The first, https:// is the communication protocol for the internet called hypertext transfer protocol. A lot of early sites had http://, but now you want to have https://, which is the secure version. An “s” is added with an SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt or a bought certificate.
- www.: This is the hostname, World Wide Web, not to be confused with the hosting company for the site.
- silphiumdesign: second-level domain for the site. Sometimes there may be a sub-domain that appears before the “silphiumdesign” and can be used for blogs, eCommerce sites, or sites that you want to have separate from the main site.
- .com: This is the top-level domain. Most commercial sites use this domain. Other top-level domains include .net, .org, .edu, and .gov.
Choosing a Domain Name?
Now that you know what a domain name is, you need to decide what domain name you would like. This can be a hard choice since a lot of domain names are already taken by other websites. Desirable qualities in a domain name is one that is easy to pronounce, is short, and uses a keyword if possible. Do not use a hyphen. Also, be sure to check the US Trademark Office to make sure your domain is not too similar to one already in use. It is best to have a number of possible domain names in mind hoping that one of the names is not already taken.
Searching for Name Availability
Once you have some ideas of a name, you need to see if your chosen name is available. Silphium Design recommends you search first on whois.net. Whois.net is the main network for domain names and provides a search function for possible names. If a name is already taken, sometimes it is for sale and whois.net will give information on how to contact the owner. If the name you want is available then you can proceed to the next step and look for a registrar.
Almost every hosting provider also provides registration services. Some examples include NameCheap, TMDHosting, SiteGround, InMotion, A2Hosting, DreamHost, and WP Engine. Be sure to check the introductory price versus the main price, cost of domain privacy, and any other fees. The introductory fee is often a teaser rate and renewal fee can be quite a bit higher. There can be a wide cost difference among hosts. It is often best, to register your name with a registrar that is different from your hosting account. This way you are not trapped into having to stay with the same host if at some point down the road you want to change hosts.
Choosing a Hosting Company
Once you register your name, you have an address for your website. Now you need to have a place for your website to reside in order to be seen by your constituents or customers. This is the job of the hosting company, which you will choose once you have a registered name. Information on choosing a hosting company can be found on this blog post about hosting companies.
To conclude the steps to start your website are:
- Brainstorm and choose a name for your website.
- Check the availability of the name using whois.net.
- Find a name registrar and register your name.
- Connect your name to your hosting company.
- Begin building your new website.
Contact Silphium Design for help
Once you complete the above steps, you are now ready to start on your website journey. If you have questions or need help with the above please contact Silphium Design at this email or 814-775-0005. We will be glad to help. If you have anything to add to the above or know a good name registrar not mentioned, please leave a comment below.