so you want a website
There are basically three parts that all work together and yet separately. Just what you thought…confusing right? Well let’s try and make it as simple as possible and only stick to some basics, because it can become very involved very fast.
The first part to getting a website up and going is the ‘Domain Name’ you are going to need. And you can only purchase a Domain Name from a “Registrar” on the Internet and of which there are quite a few. For the most part, domain names run close to the same price. But you can find cheaper ‘Domain Names’, just understand that the reason for such a price difference is because that price is usually associated with a special offer or is part of the hosting package you are expected to sign up for and for a specific amount of time. Probably the most important part you need to remember if someone else registers the Domain for you, is that the information for the “Registrant/Owner” is either you or your company’s information. I have had to help others reclaim their Domain Name, who thought they owned their domain, but came to find out that an old employee or their IT company had used their personal information as the “Registrant/Owner” of the domain and now those people were gone. And trying to reclaim a domain is not all that much fun. There’s more we could cover, but that’s the more involved stuff.
The second part, now that you have a domain name, is finding someone to create a website for you, if you don’t want to learn how to do it yourself. We won’t go into all the aspects of websites there are way to many to deal with, but a simple single page (and yes that is still considered a website) or a website with a shopping cart or just multiple pages is going to require a server that displays that site to the world. This is called “hosting”. As you recall, if you purchased your domain name from a registrar that includes the cheap domain with a hosting package, then you will need to use them for that service. If you had a company design your site for you, they will most likely have their own servers and the ability to host your site. Either way, hosting fees can be a recurring monthly charge or yearly fee.
The third part would be email. Now just because you have a domain and a website, there is nothing to say you can’t use a third-party source for your email, such as gmail, yahoo, hotmail and so on. But most professional businesses utilize their domain for their email as well. Like your website, email requires “hosting”. This requires a server that will accept email from the world, has huge drives to store it for you then allows you to have access to it. Some email providers may offer spam checking and/or virus checking, while others may leave it up to you to filter out the spam. And even if they do offer virus protection, you need to have an antivirus program on your computer running at all times, since a lot of viruses are gotten while just surfing the Internet.
So while you need a domain to have a website and/or email, you do not need to have every aspect located at the same place. You can register your domain at one place, have a different company host your website and still another company host your email.
What makes things confusing for some is that you can have separate charges for each part. The Domain Name purchase is a separate payment than the hosting fee, for those not using one company for everything. The website hosting fee may or may not include email. And if it does include email, then there may be additional fees should you exceed storage or bandwidth expectations. So whether you are intending on getting a website or already have one, just make sure you know what your fees are and what they cover.