Whether you are going to build your own website, or you are getting a professional to design and develop it for you, there are a couple of basic things that need to be completed before the website development work can begin. These include:
- Domain name registration, and
- Set up hosting for your new website.
Here we provide a simple step-by-step guide showing you how to complete both of these steps…
Domain Name Registration
Domain name registration is the process of registering or reserving a domain name for a specific timeframe (usually 1, 2, or 3 years). Registration is done through a domain name registrar.
These days there are many types of domain extensions, including:
- the traditional .com, .org, and .net,
- country specific .com.au, .co.nz, .co.uk
- newer extensions such as .biz, .io, .club, .sydney
Once your timeframe is up, you must renew your domain name registration, otherwise, it will go back into the pool and become available for someone else to register. Depending on your registrar, you may be able to set up auto-renew so that it does not accidentally expire. You should also keep your payment and contact details up-to-date.
In addition to domain registration, you have to reserve some space to save all your website files so that they can be displayed on the internet. This includes things such as website content (words, images, downloads, etc), as well as other files and data to display all the content correctly.
When you purchase hosting, this refers to reserving space on a computer (server) to store all this information. As with domain registration, you do not want to let your hosting expire, otherwise, your website will go down and you could lose all your content.
Setting Up Your Domain Name & Hosting
Domain name registration and hosting can be:
- with the same company (eg, registration and hosting are both with Godaddy), or
- with separate companies. A typical setup may be:
We prefer to keep domain registration and hosting separate (it makes it easier to change hosting in the future, and also for security reasons)… as such, in this article, we will discuss separate domain registration and hosting.
Of course, there are many different registrar and hosting companies that you can use. Most will have steps that are similar to the ones we show below. So if you do choose another company to use, the process may be slightly different. Just ensure that the company you use is well regarded in the industry… as the saying goes – cheapest is often not the best!
Step-By-Step Guide To Domain Registration
Here’s a step-by-step guide to registering your domain name with Namecheap:
- Go to the Namecheap website
- Enter your preferred domain name. If you want a .com or .com.au extension, then include this.
- Namecheap will then advise if your preferred website name is available, and the price per year.
- Click on the shopping cart icon to select your domain name and add it to the cart. Then click “View Cart”.
- Select the applicable options. For .com.au domains, these have to be purchased for 2 years.
For other domains such as .com, you can select to purchase for 1, 2, or 3 years. You can also select WhoisGuard Privacy (which will keep your name and address private). This is not available on .com.au domains.
- If you are not logged in, Namecheap will ask you to log in or create an account.
- Update the contact information if required (for Registrant, Admin, Technical & Billing contacts). You can leave this as the default account contact.
- Then follow the rest of the steps to checkout procedure and make payment. After this, the domain name is registered to you.
Step-By-Step Guide To Set Up Hosting
As mentioned, domain registration allows you to use (purchase) the domain name, and hosting is where you keep all the files for your website.
After you have purchased your domain name (eg. with Namecheap), then you need to purchase hosting (eg. with SiteGround). Hosting is the space on a server where your website’s files and database are located and accessed by your visitors and search engine bots. It comes with all kinds of options and features.
Here’s the step-by-step information to set up hosting with SiteGround:
- Go to the SiteGround website hosting plans page
- Select one of the 3 options, and click “Get Started”
- For smaller sites, the StartUp option will generally suffice.
- However, the GrowBig option does have some additional features that may be beneficial to small businesses, including better speed, support, and backups. So this will often be the preferred option.
- If you already have your domain (eg. You have already registered your domain name through Namecheap), click on “I already have a Domain” and enter your domain name. Then click “Proceed”.
- Fill in your account information, client information.
- You will be directed to payment information and purchase information. In the “Purchase Information” section, select the period that you would like SiteGround to host your website. Extra Services (such as SG Site Scanner) are not normally required. Complete and check your information before hitting the “Pay Now” button at the bottom.
- You will then receive confirmation that the setup was successful.
Once hosting is set up, then we have to go back into the domain registration account (eg. Namecheap) and specify where your website files are going to be hosted (ie. You have to tell Namecheap that your hosting is with SiteGround. This is done by changing the nameservers). This can get a little technical, and may be best completed by your website developer. To do this, they will need your domain registrar and hosting account logins.
Then your website can begin to be built.
Many business owners and people that are not very familiar with setting up a website from scratch may find the steps involved challenging. But domain registrars and hosting companies have improved over recent years to make the steps of registering your domain and setting up a hosting account much easier.
Your website is an investment in your business… as such it is a good idea to keep these logins under your control. If you get someone else to set it up, then the accounts and your actual domain name will be registered to someone else. Transferring it all back to your name is a complicated process – so often it is easiest and safest to set it up in your name from the start.
If you are not comfortable with designing and developing your website yourself, then you really only need to follow the steps above to create the accounts. Then you can hand all the logins over to your website developer, and they can take care of the rest. If you are not comfortable handing over the login credentials, then you can always use a password management service such as LastPass to share passwords safely.