Your Domain Name is the start of your website journey. This is the one piece of information that you need to own, as it’s your online “sign above the door”.
Getting your Domain Name set up is a fairly straight forward affair, although there are a few considerations you’ll need to take care of before you get your credit card out.
Part 1 of my Free E-Guide; The Straight Talk Web Guide explains the planning and a few key points you need to be sure about before you set your Domain Name up, but on this page I want to share with you the steps I follow.
How To Set Up A Domain Name
Step 1 – Search For Your Domain Name
You need to know up front if the Domain Name you want isn’t owned by someone else. So the first thing to do is to run a quick search to see that it is not already in use.
Open up your web browser of choice and select a Domain Name Registrar. I use Namecheap as I find their interface easy to manage. Then enter the Domain Name you want to create in the search bar.
This is the Namecheap home page, you can see I selected the Individuals option at the bottom of the screen, but you can make your own choice here depending on your business set up.
Here, I wanted to see if my Domain Name is available, so I typed it in the search bar in full, including the .com bit.
Next, I clicked on the red search icon to start looking…
In this case, the Domain Name I searched for was already in use (by me) .
This is why it is important for you to search for your preferred Domain Name to see if it’s available, or if it’s for sale within your budget
If your first choice of Domain Name is gone, then you’ll need to search through alternatives.
As the .com is taken (by me), I changed the search to the .net option and at the time of writing, it was available for purchase if I wanted it.
Step 2 – Make Your Purchase
Once you’ve found the Domain Name of your dreams, the next step is to grab it for yourself.
After adding your Domain Name to the cart, you’ll be given some options to ponder over.
- Web Hosting
Out of these four, I would only select PositiveSSL. I like to keep my Web Hosting and Email set up separate from my Domain Name, because I have a preferred Web Host different to Namecheap. More importantly, I’ve found that it is less painful to move a website from one hosting provider to another when you DO NOT have your Domain Name registered with your web host.
Again, this is my preference.
The only thing I would select as an extra is the PositiveSSL. This will make my URL more secure by giving it a HTTPS prefix instead of HTTP.
This makes my site more SEO friendly and identifies it as being secure.
To add this item, I clicked on the add to cart button
Once you click on the add to cart icon, your overall total will update.
Then you just need to checkout to complete your payment and get your Domain Name.
If you do not have an account with Namecheap, you will be asked to set one up at this point. This will enable you to add your payment details and provide access to your own personal dashboard.
In this example, I have already set up my account, so you will not see this part here. Rest assured, it is a simple process, no more difficult than creating an Ebay or Amazon account, or registering your store card. All you need is your preferred email address and credit card details.
Step 3 – Confirm Your Order
You are almost at the finish line, you just need to review your bag of goodies and click Confirm Order to secure your Domain Name.
Here’s a quick run through of what Namecheap currently offer as checkout options:
Domain Registration: Select how many years you want to keep your Domain Name. Just as you would register an online business name for a set length of time, when you select your .com or .whatever, you only get to keep it for as long as you want to register it.
WhoisGuard: This option hides your registration details from the general public. There is something called a whois search that tells you who the owner of a Domain Name is. If you want to keep this bit to yourself, then select this option.
PositiveSSL: You’ll want to have the HTTPS prefix as part of your web address, especially if you are collecting any kind of personal data. If you select this option, remember to keep the number of years the same as your Domain Name registration.
Web Hosting: Although Namecheap offer web hosting, I use a different service provider. The main reason is to keep my Domain Name and Web hosting separate. If any shenanigans crop up with my hosting account, I can move my site to a different host, without too much trouble.
VPN: Oh dear, we’re getting a bit techy here. VPN is a Virtual Private Network. It is an option to consider if you are sending sensitive data across the internet or if you use public wi-fi to conduct business on your website.
Email Hosting: This will be set up as part of my Web Host services to begin with. If/when my site grows, I may opt to select a dedicated email provider such as Office365 or Gmail G-Suite. In any event, I would not select it here, but of course, you are free to decide otherwise.
Once you click confirm, you’ll be taken to a confirmation page and an email like this one will be sent to the address you specified earlier.
You are then free to wander around your dashboard, or move to the next step which is setting up your Website Hosting.
Don’t forget you can read up on Domain Names in my free E-Guide (if you’ve not grabbed your copy already).