Take care when choosing a domain name and hosting plan for your new website. Learn about common rookie mistakes and how to avoid them, because changing a primary domain name and hosting is not a fun time!
It’s easy to make mistakes on domain names and hosting, but it will cost you.
Domain names and hosting platforms may seem like a basic task. These early steps to website development are often underestimated. The problem is that choosing a domain name hastily can cause major problems down the road. In the same way, choosing a hosting platform that isn’t a good fit will impact the functionality of your website. Making mistakes like these will stop people from going to your website.
Domain Name vs. Web Hosting
At some point you’ve probably wondered, What is a domain name vs. web hosting? These terms are tossed around and often used simultaneously. Most DIY website building packages include a domain name paired with web hosting. It’s important to define these terms and to clearly understand what purpose they serve. Once you understand domains and hosting you can avoid making mistakes in the early stages of website design.
What are domains?
Your domain name is the web address people will use to access your website. Basically, you can choose www. anything you think of .com but you have to make sure it’s still available. It doesn’t matter if a live website is using the domain name. It only matters if someone has already purchased it. If the domain you want has already been purchased, you can try to buy it from the owner or simply choose from a list of other domain options.
What is web hosting?
Your website development process can be compared to building an office. Your domain name acts as your street address and web hosting is the land your office is built on. In reality, the “land” is just the server a website is hosted on. You can build a website elsewhere and plant it on the hosting server, or use an all-in-one platform that handles both aspects of development. Every website needs a host but not all hosting platforms are the same. Different types of servers and hosting scenarios will impact your website’s speed and functionality.
Domains and Hosting advice to help you choose
Domains- You can get creative with your domain, but don’t get carried away. If your domain name is too specific, you might need change it as your products and services evolve. Try to avoid the headache that comes with changing a primary domain. You need one that is memorable and easy to use. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Use all or part of your company’s name
- Make it easy to remember
- Use words that are easy to spell
- Don’t intentionally misspell words
- Don’t make the domain too long
- Avoid using numbers
- Avoid using hyphens (treated as spaces in Google)
- Consider using your state or city for local business
- Consider using a keyword to indicate your industry
- Avoid names that are confusingly similar to another website
- Buy additional domains that are similar to your own, to prevent others from stealing your traffic in the future
Hosting- There are three different hosting plans available to most website designers. Choosing the right host is absolutely crucial. If you set up your website on a host that isn’t right for you, it’s going to impact your site’s performance and dramatically reduce your traffic. See which plan is right for you according to your particular website.
- Free Hosting Plans: Free hosting is rarely worth it. There are some free hosting options out there, but these are never advisable for business use. Connection speed is slow, and the server will likely have frequent periods of downtime. You have very little control over a free hosting plan, so third-party ads and banners can make a home on your website.
- Shared Hosting Plans: Most startup businesses use shared hosting where multiple websites and email accounts are hosted on one server. Businesses team up to share the space and cost of the server. The downside is that an overloaded server causes websites to load slowly. Security can become an issue, too. If one person gets blacklisted for sending spam, all other accounts are flagged as well. It can be days or even weeks before you know you’ve been blacklisted. During this time, the email messages you send will be automatically marked as spam and blocked before reaching their destination.
- Dedicated Servers: Seasoned businesses, or those with high levels of visitor traffic, should opt to host on a dedicated server. Only one website will be hosted on the dedicated server. This is ultimately the best option, but it’s more costly than sharing a server. On a dedicated server, speed and performance are top notch. Usually dedicated servers require a higher level of security to protect the website’s resources and proprietary information.
Don’t overlook the Domain and Hosting details
Choose a domain extension that makes sense. The domain name extension is the part of a web address that comes after the dot. If your primary domain choice isn’t available, you might be tempted to go with a maintenance domain extension. If you wanted to use dot-com but it’s not available, you might consider going with the dot-net or dot-info or dot-something-else. Don’t blindly settle for an alternative domain extension! This extension indicates the type of website that you have. Before settling on a domain name extension, consider the category and purpose of your website. You can see a complete list of domain name extensions managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). While there aren’t any ironclad rules about domain extensions, with the exception of using .gov, you should pick one that best represents your website and company.
Make sure the hosting server manager is reliable. Before choosing a hosting plan, take a look at the hosting company and make sure the manager in charge of the server is reliable. A good server manager will frequently change passwords and set proper security measures in place. Without this security the backend of your website could get hacked and all of your data stolen. A hosting server manager has four major responsibilities: Backups, Updates, Passwords and Security.
- Backups are important because every one in a while the server crashes. Your website could become erased or irreversibly damaged without proper backup maintenance.
- Updates are an important part of server maintenance, to ensure that the content is accurate and software is functioning properly.
- Server security is a major concern for website owners and server managers.
Set your site up for success with the right Domain and Hosting
Choose an easy, memorable domain name and host your website on the right kind of server, so people will be able to find you and have a good experience using your website.
Do what you can to avoid mistakes that will hurt your website’s potential for success!