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What do I need to start my own website?

Getting your own website online is not as difficult as you may think. Below are some simple steps you need to take in order to have your own website online. I’ve also included general questions I usually get asked by my clients. A good first step to take is purchasing a domain and hosting.

A domain is the ‘name’ for your website. It could also be described as the link to your website. For example, mine is c-e-marx.co.za. You can purchase a domain for a yearly fee from a hosting provider. They are usually around R75 a year.

Hosting is the space you purchase on a server so your website is on the internet. It’s like internet real estate that will store your content, images and website files. Go with a host that is physically closest to your target market so the files can be delivered to them quickly. My target market is South African so I go with a host with servers based in South Africa. There are hundreds of hosting providers out there.

Where do I register for a domain and hosting?

There are lots of hosts out there. Don’t be overwhelmed by choosing one – if you hate them you can always move later. Personally I use Xneelo because of their excellent customer service.

How much do domain and hosting usually cost?

It depends on the provider. Hosting is a monthly fee anywhere from R30.00 to R4 000.00 depending on the package you choose. I would say the average hosting for a static business website is about R100.00 a month. You should choose a bigger package if you want to host an e-commerce website. A domain is a once-yearly fee that is around R75, but each provider will choose the cost.

Do I have to purchase my domain and hosting from the same provider?

No. You can purchase domain and hosting from different providers, should you want too. The host will point the DNS records to your domain to ‘connect’ the two.

Will my web hosting include my emails?

That depends on the host. Some hosts put both your website and emails into one package but others don’t. For example with Xneelo they come in the same package – but with 1-Grid you have to pay for separate hosting for your emails. be sure to ask your potential host beforehand how many email accounts you’re allowed on the package and how much storage they come with.

If I hate my hosting provider can I change to someone else?

Yes. Luckily transferring your domain and hosting from one provider to another is usually easy. Some may charge to move you over, but that really depends on the provider. Be sure to ask them before you sign up so you’re not hit with annoying fees you didn’t know about later.

What if the domain name I want isn’t available? 

If the domain name you want isn’t available you could try different variations of it by adding a hyphen. Otherwise you could do a domain registrar search to find out who currently owns the domain you want and bargain with them. I recommend the former.

© Christie Eveleigh Marx 2020

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