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What is the first step to creating my own website?

Choose a domain name.

Are you thinking about launching your own website? Are you wondering what the very first step is to creating your own website?

Hello, my name is Christopher Tate. I am a Red Hat consultant and I love open source software. I will help you create your own successful website, on your own computer, using open-source software. The first thing you should do is choose your domain name so you can get started in the right direction.

Is it important to purchase a domain name ahead of time?

You need to know now what your site will be called so you don't get lost.

You can start today with your very own computer building your own website, but you must figure out what it will be called. The fate of the name of your computer depends on it. The directories where you will be putting your website are waiting for it. All the applications that are part of the website will need to know it. So go take some time and think of the perfect .com, .org or .whatever that will represent your vision, and then come back here and I'll help you from there.

Where can I purchase a domain name?

There are so many domain name registrars to choose from, but you might try brinkster.com or gandi.net.

I can't tell you where the cheapest place or most trustworthy place is to purchase your site's domain name. But I can tell you where I purchased mine 12 years ago, which is https://secure.brinkster.com/Domains/. But brinkster.com is not the cheapest ($19.83 this year). You may also want to try https://www.gandi.net/en. Their prices vary, but they have very cheap promotional domain names, and many more options to choose from.

What do I choose for a domain name?

Find a domain name that will reach your audience.

I don't know your passion, but find a domain name that will reach your audience. It's good if it is short and sweet. Whether it is a .com, or .org, or .net or whatever is up to you too. Just make it a place you will be proud of someday!

What do I do after I bought a domain name?

Manage your domain.

Let me show you what it's like to manage a domain name. I will log into my own registrar's site, https://secure.brinkster.com/.

  • If I click on "Update Domain Registrant Information" I can update my name and address information to make sure I receive spam from everyone on the Web who noticed I created a new domain. I would recommend a P.O. Box for your business, rather than your home address, for more privacy.
  • If I go back and click on "Update Name Servers" I can point my website to a different DNS company than my registrar, brinkster.com. This is handy for me, because I actually use my email SMTP provider fastmail.com as my DNS provider, so I put in the name servers of my DNS provider there. You don't need a different DNS provider, you can usually use your registrar for email as well, but I choose fastmail for their privacy and excellent email interface.
  • In a future lesson, we'll talk about creating a static IP address so that users can find your web server, on your computer, at your domain. When you have this, you can ask the support team at your registrar, to create for you some "A records" at your static IP. For example, I would ask for two A records to be created for "computate.org" and "*.computate.org" to my static IP address. But since I use fastmail for my DNS, I can actually create my own A records for any of my domains in my account, which is nice.

Can I start developing my website locally before deciding on my domain name?

The hostname of your computer will depend on your domain name.

If you don't know your domain name, it's going to bite you later. Having a hostname that is a subdomain of your domain name makes it easier to develop and bring your site live. You can give your computers hostnames that are subdomains of your own domain name to make it easy to develop and view your site locally and publicly from the same URL. I like creating a directory for your domain name for storing SSL certs and other domain specific files together in the same place to be synced to all your computers. So instead of making it harder on yourself, take this exciting opportunity to buy your domain name, it's less than $20 per year! Now you can continue to launch your own successful website on your own computer.

To review:

April 23 2019 First step to create a website? Choose a domain name. By Christopher Tate
Questions Answers
Should I buy it ahead of time? Know what your site will be called.
Where can I purchase a domain name? Try brinkster.com or gandi.net.
What do I choose for a domain name? Reach your audience.
What do I do after I've bought a domain name? Manage your domain.
Can I pick a domain name later? Your computer hostname will depend on it.

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