Domain Registration & Hosting
One of the first steps every new business should take is establishing Internet presence. Today Internet presents plenty of options to connect with your potential and existing customers, from email to various social media networks and more. However, launching a company website should be your top priority as the owner of a new business.
To begin creating a website you need to choose a service provider for domain registration and hosting. This guide allows first time users to understand the basics of domain name registration and gives them tools to choose the right hosting provider.
Domain Name Registration
Choosing the right domain name is the most critical yet challenging step in website creation process. Domain name can reflect the name of your company or the type of your business, so it makes it easier for your customers to find your business on the Internet. It also should not be too long or difficult to remember. You can always do a quick search to make sure that the domain name you picked is available by typing "whois" into search or address bar and use one of the services that provide free lookup. If the name is available you can register it.
The service that adds your domain name to the worldwide Domain Name System (DNS) is called "website registrar". When domain name is registered, it's associated with an IP (Internet Protocol) address. When submitting a domain name to a web site registrar, you must also choose one of the extensions (for example: .com, .net or .org). You can prevent others from registering your domain name with a different extension and diverting some of the traffic intended for your site by registering domain name with more than one extension.
There is an annual fee that you must pay to website registrar to retain ownership of domain name, and a variety of payment plans that will allow you to pay the fee for several years in advance (as you increase the number of prepaid years the annual cost decreases). During registration DNS requires your business name, address and telephone number, so anyone can look it up. However, you can pay additional fee for private domain name registration (also called "proxy registration") to protect your account information from anyone who wants to search for it. A proxy service replaces your information with its own name, address, phone number and e-mail.
After registering your domain name you should consider finding a reliable website hosing service. The main function of web hosts is to provide connectivity to the Internet, as well as storage space for all files, images and video that you'll need to run your website. You can include a variety of other services that can be adjusted for your own requirements. Before signing up for a web hosting service consider your budget, the website needs, the kind of server, and the types of services offered by the web hosting service.
The variety of web hosting services can be divided into six types.
Free web hosting: this service can be a good choice if you want a very simple website. Among various disadvantages of free web hosting are low connection speed, frequent down time, and advertising banners which are automatically added to your website pages (often at the top).
Shared hosting: In a shared hosting environment you and other website owners share one server, it means sharing physical server and all software applications within it. The features available with this type of service can be quite extensive, but the amount of sites on one server can be somewhat limited, and you have restricted access to control the server.
Dedicated server: when you rent dedicated server form a hosting provider you'll get your own web server and gain full control over it. The hosting provider however is responsible for buying hardware and a high-speed connection to the Internet for that server. There is also an option of self-managed dedicated server when the customer having full administrative access. This option is less expensive, but you'll be responsible for the security and maintenance of your server.
Collocated web hosting: with collocated web hosting the hosting company provides you with the physical space to store your own server hardware, back up hardware for electricity and internet access. This type of web hosting service is the most powerful and expensive. Typically you'll be able to have access for your own administrator to visit the data center for any hardware upgrades or changes.
Cloud hosting: a new type of hosting platform that allows customers powerful, scalable and reliable hosting based on clustered load-balanced servers and utility billing. Simply saying, the idea behind cloud hosting is in paying only for the resources you actually use (not what you could use), and removing single-point of failures.
Hosting on home-based server: there is also an option to set up home server on your own premises. With that option you will have to finance Internet connectivity, hardware and software, and configure and maintain the system. Some Internet service providers actively attempt to block home servers by disallowing incoming requests to TCP port 80 of the user's connection or by refusing to provide static IP address, so if you choose home hosting it is advisable to obtain an account with a dynamic DNS service.
Choosing Website Registration and Hosting Company
Among the huge variety of website registration and hosting companies that today's Internet search can offer choosing a reputable and reliable one can become a real headache, especially for newbies. For your convenience we have reviewed a number of more established and known players in that field:
GoDaddy.com is the world's largest domain registrar and is the flagship company of The GoDaddy Group, Inc. As a ICANN-accredited domain registrar, GoDaddy has more names under management than any other registrar, offer products at prices up to 70% less than the competition and supports them all with world-class 24/7 live customer service. GoDaddy.com offers a complete product line, including comprehensive hosting solutions, Web site creation tools, Secure SSL certificates, personalized email with spam and anti-phishing filtering, e-commerce tools and more.
As a domain registrar, GoDaddy offers a great variety of domain extensions including international, bulk domain discounts, private registration, GeoDomainMap tool, domain transfers, auctions and backorders. The cost of your domain registration includes a long list of free extras, such as:
- hosting with website builder which allows you to build 1-page site,
- personalized email account,
- GoDaddy photo album,
- getting started guide,
- domain forwarding & masking,
- 100-pack e-mail forwarding,
- auto renewal protection,
- total DNS control,
- status alerts, and
- domain locking.
For web hosting GoDaddy.com provides a range of hosting plans and types of servers. Whether you choose Windows or Linux Hosting, GoDaddy's services also include email, databases, free applications, free access to the exclusive GoDaddy Hosting Connection community and much more. GoDaddy offers affordable web hosting which is fine for most personal and small business sites and Business Hosting packages that offer discount bundles with all the products you need to build, optimize and promote your web site. GoDaddy takes advantage of 4th generation hosting which uses advanced features as Dynamic Traffic, Defense and Server Management, making your site fast, reliable and secure.
GoDaddy has three most common hosting plans. For a $4.99 per month you'll get Economy 4GH which contain 10GB space with unlimited bandwidth, 100 email accounts, 10 MySQL databases and a free ad credits from Myspace and Google. Deluxe 4GH hosting plans will provide you with 150GB space and unlimited bandwidth, 500 email accounts, 25 MySQL databases and the same free ad credits as in previous hosting plan for a $7.99 per month. You can get unlimited space, bandwidth and MySQL databases, 1000 email accounts, free ad credits from google and myspace, free premium DNS, site scanner, SSL certificate and fixed IP address by purchasing ULtimate 4GH for $14.99 per month.
GoDaddy.com also offers Dedicated and Virtual Dedicated Servers which are perfect fro hosting multiple traffic-intensive Web sites on one server, running enterprise or gaming applications, or operating development environments. There is an option of purchasing a preconfigured dedicated or virtual dedicated server plan or the flexibility to build your own server. And if conventional hosting plans can't keep up with your demands, Grid Hosting from Go Daddy puts the power of multiple servers to work for you. With elastic scalability, 99.9% uptime and no need for site migration during growth spurts, Grid Hosting is always at the ready.
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Web.com is a leading provider of comprehensive web services and products that enable small business to establish and maintain an effective Internet presence. Web.com offers a full range of web services on an affordable subscription basis, including domain name registration, website design and publishing, Internet marketing and advertising, search engine optimization and submission, logo design and call center services.
When you register a domain name with Web.com you get the following:
- simple domain management with Web.com's easy-to-use control panel,
- private domain registration that will help to protect business from Internet spammers,
- domain locking which safeguard your domain name from hijacking and unauthorized transfers,
- for advanced users: complete DNS control allowing you to edit your name servers and MX, A, and CNAME records for complete control over your domain.
- 24-hour customer service.
The annual fee for domain name registration is $37.00 per year and decreases depending the number of years you want to register. You can also get a free domain name when you sign up for a Linux or Windows web hosting plan. Web.com also offers some upgrade options for domain registration: private domain for $1.95 per month, marketing bundle which will get your business found on the web with local directory and search engine submissions for $14.95 per month and a hosted exchange that allows your email, files, calendars and contacts to be always synched in near-real time for $8.95 per month.
For web hosting Web.com offers: unlimited storage, unlimited transfer and multi-domain hosting with all of the reliability of a dedicated server and enterprise grade technology in a clustered website hosting platform. All for only $11.95 per month you can build and maintain a great web presence with an assurance that Web.com powers your site. Web.com hosting services are offered as part of Windows or Linux hosting plans that includes:
- unlimited data storage,
- unlimited bandwidth transfer,
- unlimited MySQL databases,
- unlimited hosted domains,
- 10GB web mail storage,
- clustered reliability and green hosting,
- support for development languages,
- unlimited FTP users,
- 24/7 technical support,
- free 1 year domain name
- search engine marketing credits.
Web.com also allows you to protect your domain from expiring if you forget to renew with Domain Expiration Protection for only $1.95 per month.
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Dotster offers a range of innovative solutions to individuals and businesses designed to enhance online brand management. Because of their commitment to customer success, Dotster is one of the world's largest domain name registrars. They serve millions of customers worldwide and have millions of domains under management. From its inception, Dotster was designed to deliver high quality products and services including domain registration, web hosting and do-it-yourself website builders, email, custom web design, online marketing services, security and privacy solutions.
In general Dotster offers domain registration services similar to those of GoDaddy.com described above, but with some significant differences. Dotster offers all general top-level domains (TLDs), many country-code extensions (ccTLDs) and third-level domains. When you register a domain at Dotster, you have the option of adding additional services such as email and URL Forwarding, NameSafe and DNS Management or purchase a Domain tools Bundle and save 10%. Dotster also offers such services as domain renewals and transfer, private registrations and domain sync which allows you synchronize your .com and .net domain renewals to the anniversary date of your choosing.
As GoDaddy.com, Dotster offers different hosting plans and solutions on Windows and Linux platforms, instant website and blog hosting. You can build your website using one of Dotster's hosting plans on Windows platform: Basic, Deluxe and Ultra, with a $6.75, $9.45 and $17.95 per month fee respectively. Prices for the same Dotster's hosting plans on Linux platform are little bit lower: $5.75, $8.75 and $15.99 per month. Dotster also offers a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting services which provide you with the speed and flexibility of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost.
Dotser is committed to becoming a more sustainable business and one of their primary initiatives is to purchase renewable energy credits equal to 150% of their hosting server power consumption. This means that by hosting your website with Dotser, you're supporting renewable energy programs. Dotster.com purchase a tree from Trees for the Future program for every new Dotster web hosting customer. Dotster hosting customers can add Eco-friendly hosting badges to their websites to promote that they are powered by renewable energy.
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About The Author
Robert Kowalski is a seasoned incorporator and business filing specialist with over 10 years experience consulting emerging companies with their business filing needs. Robert served as the chief editor and one of the top contributors to Answers @ MyUSACorporation.com.