In order to have a website online you need to own/rent some web real estate. You can do this by employing the services of a web hosting company who will provide you a space to host your site for a monthly/yearly fee.
Along with hosting you also need a domain name. A domain name is your websites address online. Without a domain name visitors to your website would have to type an IP Address like http://126.96.36.199/. If you click on that particular IP Address you will see that it takes you to Google.
IP addresses aren’t exactly easy to remember or very meaningful to people and that is one of the reasons why we use domain names like http://www.google.com.au.
Web hosting companies often also offer domain name registration services. Domain names range in price from around $9.00 into the the thousands for highly sort after names. Before registering a business name its a good idea to check if your desired domain name is available for registration.
Registering a Domain Name
There are hundreds of places to purchase domain names online. You might have heard of some, such as Crazy Domains before and may even have a domain with them. If so that’s fine. Most offer fairly similar services at a reasonably similar price.
You will notice that for most of these companies, domains aren’t their primary business and so they often try to up sell you on stuff you don’t need. If you are purchasing a new domain I cannot recommend Hover (referral link) highly enough.
They don’t sell you anything you don’t need and have a few add-on services for email that make things very easy. Plus they offer registration for a lot of the new Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .io, .restaurant etc.
Once you have a domain you need to sort hosting.
Types of Hosting
There are two primary types of hosting. These being Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. You may also hear companies talk about VPS or Cloud Hosting solutions as well.
For most small business clients I would recommend a simple Shared Hosting plan. They are cheap and you can always upgrade latter if you ever need to. If money isn’t an issue and you expect your site to attract a large amount of traffic you might want to consider companies that offer a service, sometimes called Cloud Hosting, that will easily scale as your traffic grows.
- Site5 – I recommend Site5 for basic Shared Hosting. Plans start at US$4.95 per month for one site and provide more than enough for most small businesses. I’ve been using them for myself and clients for years with no complaints. For $11.95 you can also get an account where you can host an unlimited number of sites. Up until recently they had servers in Sydney but unfortunately don’t offer that for new accounts anymore.
- Media Temple – These guys have been around forever and are the real deal. They offer all types of hosting from shared hosting (best shared hosting around) right up to managed AWS accounts. Plans start around $30 a month.
- WP Hosting – These guys are Australian (based on Sydney) and specialise in WordPress hosting. They are not cheap but have a solid service.
- Servers Australia – I’ve hosted a few client sites with these guys. The specialise in VPS service, so larger sites, but also offer more basic accounts. They have excellent customer service and are based in Australia.