BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2005

  

 

BOOTLOG 003 20/09/05

BUILDING A WEBSITE, part 3

 

It might seem a bit odd to be talking about registering domain names and web hosting at this point in the proceedings but this really is a simple little job that’s only going to take you a few minutes so it really doesn’t matter too much when you do it.

 

However, it’s probably worth saying a few words about what a domain name actually is, why you need one, and why it’s worth paying money to have your web site hosted.

 

Registering a domain used to be an expensive business, especially if you wanted a prestigious .com ending to your web or email address but that’s all changed now. Back in the early days when there were only .com, .edu and country-code (i.e..co.uk) top-level domain (TLD) names demand was furious because of the limited supply and the perceived kudos in owning a .com name.

 

A few years ago the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) -- the body responsible for managing web addresses -- introduced a new raft of TLDs (.biz. .net, .org, .info, .tv and so on). There’s no longer any shortage and you can register your name company name or pretty much anything else without too many problems. Registering a .co.uk domain name typically costs between £10 and £15 (usually for two years), domains ending in .net, .biz. .org  etc. generally work out at between £30 to £35.

 

A lot of companies offer a domain name registration services, prices vary widely and it pays to shop around, but it’s worth shortlisting companies that can also set up web hosting for you as well as this will make your life a lot simpler. I’m always reluctant to make specific recommendations for this kind of thing but I can tell you the company hosting this site (and I have no connection or affiliations with them whatsoever), have done a good job for me over the years. To see if the name you want to register is available go to: www.lowcostnames.co.uk/.

 

In order to publish a web site on the Internet it has to be ‘hosted’ and you need web space on someone’s server computer, where your web site will be stored and made available to the Internet. You may already have an allocation free web space, given to you by your ISP. There’s no reason why you can’t use this to publish your web site -- providing it’s large enough -- but as you know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

 

There are two basic problems with free web space. Firstly you will usually have to share your pages with the provider’s advertising banners or pop-ups, and second, the URL or address is almost certainly going to be long and unmemorable. Obviously this doesn’t matter too much if your site is simply for your own amusement or for the benefit of friends and family, but if you want to get noticed on the Internet and attract visitors to your site then it really helps to have a short or snappy web address.

 

Web hosting isn’t expensive either and you can expect to pay between £30 and £50 per year for around 20 - 30Mb of space. This might not sound much but you can get a lot of web pages into that amount of space and it should be more than enough for most applications.

 

part 4 -- web page authoring programs

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