The importance of identity: domain name, hosting accounts

Get your own domain name

Regardless of the purpose, size, or budget for your web site, we urge you to obtain your own domain name.

What is a domain name? A domain name is the unique name you give to your web site – no one else can own it or use it (nor can you use the name someone else has reserved). There are a multitude of companies who are authorized to reserve and manage your domain name for you. Some registrars will offer you a free or inexpensive hosting package along with your name; we do not recommend that you go this route.

Domain names are inexpensive, and are paid for on an annual basis (average fees range from $6 to $20 a year). You can check the availability of the domain name you want by visiting www.betterwhois.com. Many hosting services will also have a tool on their web site allowing you to check availability of names.

Get a hosting account

We also strongly recommend a paid hosting account.

What is a hosting account? A shared hosting account (the most likely type of hosting you will need) offers you rented space on a server that is accessible to the Internet. Most hosting accounts provide you with certain software already loaded to make it easy for you to manage the code on your web site. You pay an annual fee for the use of the server space, and the hosting company identifies your account by your domain name – so that the public can find your hosted space via that name.

There are still some free services out there, but most will include their own advertising on your site. We do not advocate using this type of service.

We urge you to consult with us before signing up for a web hosting service; there are many excellent services, but just as many who will give you endless headaches.

Email accounts

Most hosting accounts will automatically allot you a certain number of email boxes that are linked to your domain name; use them. We discourage you from using a free email account (such as yahoo, hotmail, or gmail) for business purposes. By always sending mail out via yourname@yourdomain.com, you not only present a consistent identity for your business, but you reinforce your brand name with everyone who receives your emails.

All photographs taken on location by A. E. Shroeder

TIP

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