Websites not only need to be designed. They need to actually "reside"
on a computer somewhere that is accessible from the Internet 24 hours
a day. That computer is called the host computer, and website
hosting is the associated service.
Just as actual
businesses have mailing addresses, websites need to have a web address.
For all kinds of Internet marketing reasons (including the fact that
you will tend to do better on the search engines if your web address
is a domain name that contains your product type, "widgets",
"cars", etc.), the best kind of address you can have requires
having your own domain name, yourcompany.com. The most common web address
then looks like "http://www.yourcompany.com", or, as it is
more usually abbreviated, "www.yourcompany.com". (Your browser
will automatically fill in the "http://" part of the web address.)
In order to "obtain" your own domain name, you need to register
it with the Internic. The Internic is the government organization that
maintains a database of all domain names on the Web. It is something
like the Post Office. When someone types in your web address, www.yourcompany.com,
part of the process of finding your website involves consulting the
Internic's database, to figure out exactly where that domain name resides
(i.e., on which host computer). The Internic charges an initial $70
for the first 2 years of registration, and then $35 each year thereafter.
name set-up. The Internic needs
to know the host computer on which your website is located in order
for its database to direct someone to the right page when they type
in your web address. The Internic also needs to be able to find your
website on that host computer. That is the job of domain name set-up
on the host computer. This is a one-time service done by the hosting
service, prior to actual hosting.
about domain names. That ".com" at the end of the
usual domain name stands for "commercial". The most established
Domain name availability. Check out now whether your favorite domain names are still available! Click here.
Alternative domains. Because so many of the best domain names have already been "used up" on the "com", "net", and "org" domains, several new country-specific domains have become popular:
hosting versus ISPs. These
two services are often confused by newcomers: The former rents out a
location for your website; the latter ("Internet Service Providers")
links your computer to the Internet. Obviously different, right? But
what confuses things is that many ISPs provide services above and beyond
just the connection to the Internet, which generally include a personal
email account, and often some free web hosting space. While this is
a great deal for beginners, it is usually not the recommended choice
for businesses, since it is very difficult for companies to be good
at both; excellent-performance web hosting requires broad bandwidth,
high-speed connections to the Internet via T3 and T1 lines. (Click
here to see more of what is usually required for excellent performance.)
Many ISPs do not provide this kind of performance.
Let's put all this together! In the most common case, you are
starting from scratch. That means you must do the following:
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