Buying a domain name is perhaps the most crucial part of launching a website, in that it requires choosing a suitable name and ensuring the top level domain has sufficient gravitas or industry relevance. However, this swiftly leads to another vital stage in setting up a new website. Domain registration and hosting go hand in hand: registering a website is important, but hosting its related files is what enables the world access the site.
Once a domain name is registered, it is yours to use however you wish. However, entering the relevant web address into a browser won’t reveal any content. Even if web pages are fully designed and ready to be launched, domain hosting is required to make them publicly visible.
Filling a store
Think of domain hosting like the stock and furnishings in a store at the mall. Domain registration acquires the building, but hosting adds content that people will be interested in looking at or buying. And displaying this to the world costs money. Website content is hosted on a large server, or ideally on multiple servers dotted around the world. These need to be constantly online, ready to pipe information to destination devices without delay. Servers are expensive to buy and run, while physically transmitting information to recipient devices isn’t free either. Email accounts cost money to host and maintain, too, quite apart from the cost of creating webmail software.
So how do you add hosting to your domain registration?
The simple answer is to use a company like WestHost. We bundle domain registration and hosting together, making it easy for our customers to register a new site and upload content. We’re currently offering a Personal hosting plan for just $1 per month, which includes the following features:
- 50GB of web hosting space – storing the files, folders, databases and documents needed to populate and maintain a live website.
- 100 FTP accounts – subdividing this 50GB for up to a hundred users to access specific portions of the space.
- 1,000GB bandwidth – the amount of website data our servers will distribute, which is more than enough for most small businesses.
- 100 email addresses – so everyone from the receptionist to the CEO has a dedicated email account.
- An SQL database – used for storing and retrieving data ranging from blog posts to product stock lists.
- Ten subdomains – ideal for splitting web content across different addresses, like blog.yourbrandhere.com or canada.ecommercesite.com
It’s also possible to access advanced features by opting for one of WestHost’s Preferred or Business domain registration and hosting packages. High-level attributes include a dedicated IP that improves both SEO and security, plus SSL certificates for https browsing – essential for ecommerce platforms. As the world’s most popular content management system, WordPress hosting is a popular choice for designing and building flexible, stylish websites.
What should I look for?
Domain registration and hosting should always be entrusted to a company able to demonstrate a dependable track record. It needs to have data centers dotted around the world containing modern servers, rapidly feeding data to clients in neighboring regions. An optimal hosting company must provide its clients with a control panel through which they can modify their site or add/maintain features.
Other important attributes are round-the-clock technical support in case something goes wrong, though your website should be guaranteed to stay live 99.9% of the time. Above all, a good hosting partner has to handle domain renewals smoothly and courteously. It’s commonly assumed that buying a domain name entitles you to lifetime ownership, whereas the industry standard is a one-year contract with the option for automatic renewal.