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How To Buy WebSite Domain Hosting

That's an awkward mouthful. Hosting, domain hosting, webhosting, web site hosting, web domain hosting are all the same thing. You're renting space on a Hosting Service's computer and connecting your domain name to your new web space. There are thousands of Web Hosts these days. Some tiny, some in the garage (or bedroom,) some pretty big (1and1.com.)

They all have certain packages that contain various features, usually ranging from a starter packages to dedicated servers. Which one you pick will depend on your needs, but the starter package is a good first stop for most people. Skip the expensive packages for now, you can always move up later.

If you need info on domain names hop over to these articles: create your domain name and how to buy your domain name. Come back when you're done, I'll wait.

Most web hosts are very similar in getting you up and running. Prices and features vary greatly. Ordering is really pretty simple, but let me cover a couple of definitions first.

  • Hosted Domain Names: Most hosting accounts anywhere will allow you to have more than one domain name within the same account. Of course, you only need one to start but you may want more later.
  • Web space: This is the amount of space on their computers that you can use for your stuff. While 100 megs will cover all the web pages you're ever likely to put up there are other things that use that space. The two biggies are email and your web statistics logs. The 300 megs offered in the silver package will cover you for quite some time.
  • Bandwidth: This is a measure of how much data/stuff your server can send over a month. Every page or image on your site takes a certain amount of space. Someone comes to your site and looks at four pages. You've served them four pages of data. 10,000 megs (10 gigs) of bandwith is a good start, but if you start getting lots of traffic you'll want to upgrade. We have two sites that handily exceed the 10 gigs, one by a lot.
  • Cpanel: Cpanel is the interface that you use to manage your site. There are a lot of different user interfaces out there, but Cpanel is pretty common and Ilike it a lot.
  • Fantastico: is a nifty little device. It will let you install software (scripts,) such as a Wordpress blog, into your webspace with a couple of clicks. It can save a lot of work.

Shared Hosting: this is hosting where several accounts share one computer/server and all of it's total resources. This is perfectly fine for most websites. Big sites with a lot of traffic will want to move up to a ....

Dedicated Server: This baby is all yours. One account, one computer, and the hosting company handles all the hardware issues. A dedicated server costs a lot more and is far beyond what mosts sites need. Build that big site with lots of traffic and you might want one, though.

Cloud servers: Your site is hosted in "the cloud." The hosting service has many computers linked together and sharing common resources. This has the major advantage of being able to add or subtract resources to your site on the fly. If a server goes down it's no big thing and your site will not be affected. It's the future of serious hosting.

There are other alternatives, depending on the host. A Virtual Private Server is one. It's a cross between shared and dedicated. Meaning that you get more control and more resources, but you don't get the whole machine to yourself.

Currently my sites are hosted on a cloud server with these guys.

Ok, Here we go

This is pretty a pretty generic procedure for most hosts:

  1. You'll see some kind of Pick the package that you want link and you'll hit a page with the various available packages.
  2. Make sure the package you want has enough disk space, bandwidth, and other goodies for your current site and any expansions you have planned. You can also upgrade at a later time. .
  3. You'll probably be taken to a page where you will create your account. You may be given the option to purchase a domain name at this point. That's up to you, but I prefer to get mine elsewhere. 
  4. Fill out the forms and make sure you use a real email address. 
  5. The next page is where you pick your package and and enter your payment info. Keep in mind that this will be a monthly payment. You're renting space on the system, not buying it.
  6. Once payment is made they'll get to work setting up your account. It's not instant, but it should be live in a few hours, tops.

When the account is live you'll get an email with complete instructions for accessing that account.

Most hosting services are pretty similar to the above. Pick your package and order. Some will offer some added bells and whistles and some will give you a free, a greatly discounted, domain name if you order that domain name through their service.

I prefer to order my domains elsewhere, then point them at the new host. Use whichever method works best for you.