Before you can officially launch a new website, there are a couple of technicalities you need to take care of. And those are your domain and hosting. While these words may seem like a foreign language to you, the set up is actually fairly simple. And to make things even more simple, I’m going to break it down for you step by step.
First of all let’s get clear on what domain and hosting are and why they’re important. I like to use the analogy of where your website lives. A web host is like the landlord. They own tons of server space on the internet and they rent it to you and your site. The server space you pay them for is like a big loft apartment where all your website files live. And your domain is the address of your sweet digs. Unlike an actual apartment, you have to pay for your custom address in the digital world. But luckily it’s very affordable (about $8-12 a year!). Depending on the website platform you choose to use, you may get a domain (address) for free. But it won’t be custom and can make you appear quite unprofessional. It’d be like openly telling your audience that you live on your friends couch.
So let’s get you set up with a fancy new internet apartment and a custom address to go with it! I’ll be walking you through how to set up your hosting with SiteGround. There are plenty of other hosting companies to choose from, but these guys are one of my favorites and who I use for my own site. Not only are they affordable, they are reliable, fast and secure. They also have fantastic customer service that is available around the clock.
Sign Up for Hosting
- Begin by going to siteground.com and click Sign Up.
- Next choose a plan. The “StartUp” plan is generally enough space for a small to medium sized business. If your website is rather large (more than 15 pages), you expect high traffic (more than 10,000 visitors a month), or you plan on hosting more than one site, then I would up to the “GrowBig” plan.
- Next, register your domain. With SiteGround you will receive a free domain for one year. Bonus! You can choose anything you’d like for your domain and choose its extension (.com, .net, etc.) If your domain is already taken, they will inform you and recommend something different and similar instead.
** If you already have a domain purchased through someone else, choose the “I already have a domain name” button and enter your domain.
- On the next page, you’ll set up your Site Ground account and enter your payment information.
- Then review your Purchase Information. Keep in mind that although SiteGround lists their prices as a monthly expense, you will be paying upfront for the entirety of your plan. You can choose a longer plan for a cheaper rate. You’ll notice that a couple Extra Services are automatically checked for you. It’s up to you if you want to purchase these additional services. In my opinion, the only Extra Service worth your money is the Domain Privacy. Without it, you’ll receive solicitations from marketers, advertisers, and other unwanted pain-in-the-butts (trust me).
- Finally, click Pay Now and you’re hosted!
If you’re using WordPress as your website platform, you’ll need to install it onto your site. SiteGround makes this super easy for you. After your purchase is completed, you should be redirected to your Account page.
- On the My Accounts page you should read at the top “MANAGE ACCOUNT:YOURDOMAINNAME.COM”.
- Under here click the red “Go to cPanel” button.
- Under AUTO INSTALLERS click the WordPress icon.
- Then click blue “Install” tab.
- Under Site Settings name your Site and enter a custom description if you wish. You can also leave this field as is, the “site description” is not usually visible anywhere on your website. Leave Enable Multisite unchecked.
- Under Admin Account create a username and password and enter you email. When creating a username and password, remember that you’ll need to share it with your web designer. Once your project is complete, you’ll be able to change your password.
- Keep everything else as is and click Install.
- Once installed, you’ll see an Administrative URL link to access the backend of your new site. In the future you can log in to your site at www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.