Buying a domain name and a web hosting

Create your first web page in 5 minutes.
Reading time : 5 minutes

👋,

Welcome to The Tech Guide.

I am Nicolas GAUTRON, freelance web developer.

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Let's get technical 💪

In the previous edition, we saw that:

👉 To load a web page, your browser must send a request to a web server.

👉 A domain name precisely allows reaching a web server.

Today is the big day. After two editions of learning theoretical concepts, it's time to get our hands dirty.

On the agenda:

  • Renting web hosting.
  • Purchasing a domain name.
  • Creating your first web page.

Important note: even if you don't put all this into practice, you will still be able to follow all the editions of this newsletter.


Your first web hosting

As we've already discussed, to make your website available, you need a web server. A web server is software that runs continuously on a machine. Its role is to receive requests, delegate them to something that processes them and then respond. All this in a secure and optimized way to respond as fast as possible.

Sorry for this harsh truth: it's clearly above your level at the moment. So, you're going to delegate this to professionals.

Web hosting providers offer many different solutions. It's not easy to navigate all this jargon as a beginner.

The first question to ask yourself: what is your need?
"Uncle Jean-Michel is a home-based hairdresser. To make himself known in the region, he wants a website presenting his business. It will be able to receive a few hundred visitors a day."
⚠️ If you have a real business idea and already a vision of the technologies to use, do not blindly apply this tutorial.

Shared hosting will be plenty enough for uncle's business. Unlike dedicated hosting, this means you will share the machine and its resources with others. No worries, you will remain in a partitioned space, no one will have access to your data. Portfolio, landing page, blog... you will opt in 99% of cases for shared hosting. The question of a dedicated server arises if you are offering a complex web application like an online store or planning to use particular technologies.

By the way, remember for the future that you will need hosting with a database and support for the PHP language. We will delve deeper into this in future editions.

Luckily, all of what we just described represents the basic configuration at most hosting providers. In other words: go for the cheapest, it will do the job. If necessary, you can switch to a higher offer later.

Personally, I have been using the German hosting provider Ionos since 2009. Ionos is not sponsoring this edition, I talk about them because I am satisfied with their services. If you want to subscribe with them while supporting me, it would be really cool if you used my referral link http://aklam.io/x7PPu4 to give me a few pennies.

Buying a domain name

The most well-known web hosts are also registrars: they register and manage domain names. Some hosting offers include a free domain name or a promotion in their package. By buying both in the same place, the host will automatically configure the DNS so that your domain name points to your hosting.

Note that in the future you will be able to add other domain names. You can have multiple websites on the same hosting.

Not all hosts support all top-level domains and they don’t all apply the same prices. A “.com” costs between $10 and $20 per year while a “.tech” is around $50 per year.

Be careful, some extensions have conditions. For example: “To reserve a .paris domain name, you must meet the following conditions: reside in the Paris region; have a professional, commercial, cultural, or personal activity linked to the Paris region; any other direct or indirect link with the Paris region must be justified.”.

Once the purchase process is completed, you will need to wait a few minutes for the host to set everything up.

Your first web page

You can now enter your domain name into your browser. You might be disappointed with the result though 😬. As the server doesn't know what to display yet, it will return either an error page or a default page from the host.

Log in to your client area. You should find a menu to manage the file hierarchy on your web space. From there, you can upload or create a file.

Create the file “index.html” containing the text “Hello, Uncle”.

Return to your domain name. You should now see “Hello, Uncle” 🥳.

“index” is a standard used by servers. It’s the default file returned if nothing is specified in the URL.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a language for structuring data on the web. It’s essentially the skeleton of the site. You explain to the browser the entire content structure so it can interpret it correctly.

Examples:

  • <p>This is a paragraph</p>
  • <h1>This is a header of primary importance</h1>
  • <a href=”https://the-tech.guide”>This is a link to The Tech Guide</a>
  • <img src=”link_to_an_image.jpg” />

The basics of HTML are very simple to understand. We will manipulate it a bit in the next editions. The goal of the newsletter is not, however, to make you a developer, so I encourage you to delve into this on your own if you are interested.

That's all for today. 🖖


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Questions, comments, encouragement? Don't hesitate to send me a message on Linkedin or directly in the comments of this edition.

See you soon.

😘