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How to make your own website (Part 1 of 4)

How to make your own website (Part 1 of 4)

August 14, 2014 9:04 am0 comments

Hello Everyone,

In my previous introductory post, I outlined how you can make your own website in four steps. This post will break out the first step, buying the domain name and web hosting.

Background

The “domain name” is your website title aka URL (e.g. www.troybouman.com, www.YourWebsite.com, etc..). Domain names originated because people found it difficult to memorize IP addresses of website hosting servers. For example, Google’s web hosting server IP for me is 74.125.129.99. Instead of remembering that, I would prefer to remember www.google.com. If you plug 74.125.129.99 into your web browser or www.google.com the idea is to bring you to the same place (try typing 74.125.129.99  into your web browser and hitting enter). In order to effectively redirect www.google.com to 74.125.129.99,  we need a domain server. A domain server (aka DNS or registrar) is a server (i.e. computer) that sits there until someone types in a URL like www.google.com. Continuing with the previous example, when I type www.google.com into my browser, the domain server will respong back to my browser and say “go to IP 74.125.129.99.” Once my web browser has the IP it will then end communication with the domain server and start talking to the web hosting server at the IP 74.125.129.99. So that is all the domain server does–responds with the IP of a web server when a URL is entered. The graphic below helps to illustrate this point (Note: Domain server=name server).

Image Source: http://www.debonne.net/DNS.htm

Once your web browser has the IP address, it will ask the web hosting server how to load the website. The server will respond with the code (e.g. HTML code, PHP code, Java code, etc..). Your web browser (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc..) then takes that code and interprets how to display it. How a web browsers interprets the code is what makes it unique. It is also why some websites work on certain web browsers and other do not. Ultimately, what we learn from this history is that we need to set up both domain hosting and web hosting for our website to work.

Domain Hosting

There are many domain hosts out there. If you want to read about the current top ones, see the review here. The recommended host there is NameCheap and that is the service I use and prefer. This guide will be focused on setting up a domain at NameCheap.

1) Go to www.namecheap.com and search for your domain name where is says “Find your new domain name” (i.e. type “YourName.com).

2) Once you find one that is available, add it to your cart. The normal sites are $10.69 per year. Some domains, like www.WhiteWindow.com, are premium domains. These can be thousands of dollars a year. If your desired URL comes up as premium, you can be creative (e.g. adding a -) to make it non-premium.

Note: Some people like to buy more than one domain (.com, .net, etc..) and point them at the same web site. I won’t cover how to do that, but if you want to do that post below and Ill let you know how to set it up.

3) Go through the checkout, create an account, and purchase the domain

4) Go to www.namecheap.com and sign in

5) Click “View” next to number of domains

6) Click in the middle of the screen on the domain you just bought

7) Click on “Transfer DNS to Webhost” in the top left.

8) Plug in ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com as your two nameservers. Then hit “Save Changes”

9) Now your domain is all set up.

Web Hosting

For web hosting there are also many options. You can read some reviews here. I personally offer website hosting. It costs $4/mo for all the space and bandwidth a normal site would need. If you want to use me as your host:

1) Complete the section above
2) Send me an email at Troy@TroyBouman.com including your domain name (e.g. www.YourURL.com) and a description of your site (e.g. resume, ecommerce, etc…)
3) Then skip to part 3 of this series (Finding a WordPress theme), because I will take care of the rest!

Optionally, I will describe below how you can set up hosting with BlueHost for $5/mo. If you prefer to do that, follow the below steps and complete part 2 of this blog series to find out how to install WordPress.

1) In a new tab, go to www.bluehost.com and click “Get Started Now”

2) Select the plan you want

3) Say you already have a domain and type it in

4) Next BlueHost may ask you to confirm ownership of the domain. To do this, specify that you set the nameservers to ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com as we did is step 8 of the previous section. I believe it is the first of the three options.

5) Continue through the process to setup the account.

6) That’s it!

BONUS: If you would like to setup YourName@YourDomain.com follow these steps:
Click to see steps

1) Within BlueHost, click   at the top
2) Click 
3) Click 
4) Fill out the form to add an email. Make sure to set it to:

 

Conclusions

After completing these two sections you should now have your domain hosting and web hosting setup (maybe email forwarding too if you set it up). In the next post, I will walk through how to put content on the web hosting so that when you go to the website something actually shows up! We will do this through WordPress. You can get a sneak preview of what WordPress is by watching this YouTube video:

Comment if you have questions or if something doesn’t work right. Thanks!
-Troy

Troy@TroyBouman.com

www.TroyBouman.com

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