Let me guess...
Free = Subdomain?
Pass.. I want a free domain
How to Make your Website ‘Live’ on the Web
So you have created an awesome website that you want to get up and on the internet? How? Firstly this is not a post on how to create a website. I am not going to go to in depth about this, if you need any help don’t hesitate to contact me.
Buy a Domain Name
A domain name is basically your home/address on the internet. This is the key to looking professional to have a domain such as yourname.com, instead of yourname.someone.com as this can easily link to someone else’s site, which will detract traffic from your site and help either your competitors or domain name provider. I am not going to go into detail about choosing a good domain (that will be covered in another blog post). A good domain provider will be reasonable (no more than $15 USD a year) and provide a great service. I use Dreamhost which is a great site for all my needs, they provide Domain name forwarding (forward your website to another), URL Masking (make your visitors think they are still on your original site) and of course Domain name servers (the link with your domain and hosting.) If you buy your domain and hosting from the same company you shouldn’t have to worry about this. There are also other popular Domain registrars/hosting sites such as GoDaddy, BlueHost and Homestead.
Buy Website Hosting
Website hosting is the place on the internet where your website is stored for everyone else to view it. Here are 5 important points to choosing a great webhost.
1. Don’t be cheap – This never works. Before I found Dreamhost I had been through around seven different webhosts that seemed great but had false promises and never suited my needs. Such as too little space, wrong programming languages, banned file types etc. This brings me into my next point.
2. Assess your needs first – Think of what you will need for your website and go with that. If you need any special programming languages such as java or Perl make sure your webhost offers it. If you think that you need 150mb of space, go with 250mb as your website can rapidly grow and you don’t want to be left with no more space. As mentioned earlier be sure that your website doesn’t ban selected file types such as .zip, .doc, .pdf or .exe. As you may need those file types and will have to resort to hosting them on an external website.
3. Don’t pick a site that sounds too good to be true – Because it probably is. Website hosting sites that offer unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth often are dodgy. They are either are too expensive, can steal your credit card details or have another catch. Stick with what you need not what you want.
4. Thoroughly read through the Terms of Conditions/Service – This is where most Web hosts sites catch you out. You are probably paying for something you don’t want. Such as if you wanted to create a proxy server or a secret forum, web hosts often don’t allow that and will cut your website with no refund. Stay safe and read through the Terms of Conditions to know exactly what you are signing up for.
5. Read many reviews on your potential web hosting sites – This will help you greatly as most users have experienced the advantages/disadvantages that you will experience. It is also great for others opinions on what you are going to put your hard earned money into.
Again I use SmokyHosts for my web hosting as well. The other sites mentioned above also provide great website hosting services.
Download an FTP Client and Upload Your Website
To transfer your website to your webhost you must use a FTP client, (FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol) this is your door towards uploading and updating your website. There are many great FTP clients out there, (they should all be free) my favourites are FileZilla (made by the people who make the popular browser Mozilla Firefox) and SmartFTP. These are both free and very easy to use.
Once you have downloaded just enter your FTP details that you should have received in an email when you signed up for a webhost, enter those into your FTP client and add your sites files to the relevant directory. For updating your website you can change/add/replace different web files and reload them.
It may take 24-78 hours for your website to become live (depending on your hosting company and ISP) then your website should show up at your chosen domain name. Just sit back and watch traffic increase. You may also want to add your website to Google.