There are many ways to set up a live website. Whichever one is considered to be the best is largely subjective. Just like setting up a good development environment, a production environment has to fit the needs. This article will serve to be an outline for our suggested method to launch your very own website.
The internet at its core is a connection between computers. Information is passed around in packets of 1’s and 0’s that are encrypted, decrypted, and served for better visibility of end users. Internet Browsers are a way to make a request for specific data whether is be on your computer or a computer on the other side of the world. Computers that that solely hold data visible to browsers are called servers, and they all have a specific IP Address. A domain name is a more legible assignment for a server, so rather than type out a long incoherent assembly of numbers, you simply have to type out “expertatwebdesign.com” to view this website.
Choose a Domain Name
A domain name is what your website is recognized as by other browsers. The basic outline of it is ‘whateveryouwant’.’domain’. A domain, in this case, refers to a tag that you can assign, be it the most recognizable ‘.com’, ‘.org’, or ‘.net’. There are also more personalized options available from leading domain name serves such as ‘.web’, ‘.io’, ‘.me’, or even ‘.ninja’.
While using a domain is essential, which one you choose has little effect on the visibility of your site. Time was the having a ‘.com’ over a ‘.biz’ actually affected search results, but that is hardly the case anymore. However it does affect the user’s perception of your website. There is still a significant price increase for a ‘.com’ domain over most others simply because they are the most trusted by people. What domain you use does say something about your website.
A .com says “this is a professional company.”
A .io says “we’re more tech related.”
A .me says “I’m more of a personal portfolio or blog.”
Whatever domain name you choose is going to be your website’s reference for as long as you have it. That is why it is important to come up with one that best serves your needs.
A domain name can be purchased through a number of places:
Godaddy.com is one of the most popular and recognizable. It is a good starting place for simple domain registry.
For (in my opinion) a better UI for domain name registry and comparisons, Hover is an excellent choice.
If you are looking for simple and affordable, Namecheap is a great solution.
These are just a few suggestions. It is important to do your research when looking into registering a domain name. Good Luck!
Find a Host
The second part of the equation is setting up a production environment. This can be done through a hosting company, or by setting up your own live server. There is quite a bit of information out there about setting up your web hosting and a lot of nuance to the subject, so it is important to do your research. Unless you are a large corporate entity that can afford to devote resources to the development and security of a private server, or a tech company with the inherit know-how, the most pragmatic approach would be to sign up with a hosting company.
Shopping for server space is a lot like shopping for real estate. It is important that the server environment meets the needs of your project. Page speed matters when it comes to ranking in search engines and being on the right server has a very good chance to boost your website.
The most common types of servers that you will see are:
A hosting server where many websites reside. Bringing back the real estate metaphor, this option is akin to an apartment building. You’ll have other websites in this environment with which are sharing bandwidth. It is the most cost effective, but may not scale well with larger websites that need the extra allocated memory.
This is a server that you have more freedom to personalize as you have the whole thing to yourself. It is dedicated to your project. As such it is the more expensive option. It can depend on which hosting company you go with, but you may also have to configure this server yourself.
Here is a Quick List of Hosting Companies:
From here, there are many more things that you can do to get your live website running the way that you want it. You can set up a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to serve a cached version of your website that is hosted on a separate cloud server. This provides an extra layer of security as well as decreases the load time of a website which can help for Search Engine Optimization. You can also set your website up with an SSL which adds encryption to your website. If you are setting up an eCommerce site, this is required for taking credit cards over the web. It is also important to remember that even though your website is now live, that doesn’t mean that you are done with it. Be sure to monitor it to keep it up-to-date and to make sure everything is working smoothly.