How to I get my own Domain Name & Server?Originally Posted by ronrdrcr
I made the offhand comment Ron should get his own server, then he can host all of his own videos, and he was smart enough to fire back, well how. So instead of just replying to his pm, thought I'd do that here instead in case someone else might have the same question.
First off, it's easier than you think. And not too expensive. If you want to go the basic route, here's my experience (although bear in mind there are multiple ways to do this).
1. Obtain a domain name. Like http://www.pashnit.com. The 'pashnit.com' part is called a domain name. If you apply basic small business rules, you should choose something unique, catchy, short, and easy to remember. Other suggestion is a domain name that describes what it is that you do. Domain names have no spaces, and aren't case-sensitive.
You can buy them anywhere, but it has to be through a service/server/company that sells them. I have used iPower.com to host my servers for years, and you can obtain a domain name and a server all at the same time. This is not so much a plug for ipower.com- I can't even recall how I found them, and these basic hosting companies are a dime a dozen- everyone has their favorites and in all the homework I've done on hosting companies, the basic ones don't seem all that different. As long as you stick to basic stuff, they've been great for me. (As a sidenote, once sites get really big with huge traffic like this one, these basic hosting companies may not work as well, and you may find yourself at a more professional level (read big $$$).
Log on here: http://www.ipower.com/domain-names.html to see if your domain name is taken. Remember that while the '.com' is most common, you can also get '.net', '.org', '.info', and so on if the catcy phrase you've come up with is taken. You also will register the domain name for a set amount of years, and it must be renewed periodically. If you plan on keeping the domain name for a long time, mine as well register it for as long as they offer. Domain names are sort of like public record (if you know where to look) and bear in mind your home address & even phone are attached to that domain name which people can look up.
2. Buy server space. Now that you've got your domain name all set up, you need a place to store your website & files. A 'server' or 'hosting company' is basically a computer located somewhere that you are going to rent space on to store your files. The server company will store all your files and website, plus provide a toll-free help line, and typically an on-line control panel to manipulate the file structure, track your traffic, etc.
Server space for basic stuff is super cheap. Not sure how much space you need? How much bandwidth you'll use? Then start with the basics, you can always upgrade later. For example, again using the ipower.com site as the example, the 'iPower Pro-Plan' will run you about $100 a year. Takes $250 to put a set of tires on the Hayabusa (which a set may last as little as a month) so that doesn't seem all that much money for a whole year.
I'd reccommend a year just in case you want to cancel hosting or switch servers in the future. Click the 'Buy Now' button and away you go.
3. How to get started building a Homepage. Now that you've got your own domain name (Congradulations btw!), and you've got your hosting all set up, you need a computer program to build the html website for you.
In the old days we wrote the html by hand (I even took a class at the local community college to learn how to write basic html). Nowdays, I use a web creation program. Again, there are tons on the market, but I've used MS Frontpage which is an easy transition if you are familiar with MS Office products. Say about $100-200 for a basic program like Frontpage. Can get it anywhere from Best Buy to eBay.
I also use 'Dreamweaver' which is a much more sophisticated suite of 5-6 programs. It was reccomended by one of my web guys and very similar to Frontpage, much more expensive, so you might want to start with something simple at first, or look on eBay or TuCows.com for the software you want.
Also note that even MS Word has a 'save as html' feature. Conceivably, you could just whip the page in MS Word, save as html, and upload. But if you want to get serious, may want to invest in one of these programs.
4. How to create a homepage. I'm not much of a design guy, so the pashnit.com homepage has remained very basic for years. So you can easily do something like that. Quick, easy, and zero cost.
You can also begin by working from a pre-made web tempate. There are multiples of websites that sell these, some are basic, others are rather complicated with pretty pictures, mouse-over buttons, Flash and all sorts of sophisticated programming language probably not suited for the beginner. Just google 'web templates' and be inundated. Templates may run free, a couple bucks, or average about $60-70 and up. You can also modify an existing template. The PashnitTours.com website is based off a template I bought, then heavily modified to my liking. This I hired a designer to do though, so not cheap.
5. Creating File Structure. The homepage you've created is called the 'index file' so when you create your homepage, it'll have the file name of 'index.htm'. As you create more and more webpages, they would presumably all go in the same directory as the 'index.htm' file, however, you need to plan for the future.
For example, in Rob's case of creating moto videos, he'd create file structure like 'robsvideosite.com/video/'. The '/video/' folder is where all his video files would go. Also best to make sub-folders in the /video/ folder that break his videos down even further into categories.
6. Obtain an FTP Program. And FTP Program is the program that will upload your files to your server. Now bear in mind, the server company has a built in 'control panel' that will do this for you, but generally more time consuming. Also, the WebPage Creation Program (like Frontpage & Dreamweaver) will have an ftp program built in, but after doing this for years and years, I prefer to have a separate program for this.
The very basic ones are free. You can go to a well-known website like http://www.tucows.com to get free software. Do a search for 'ftp program' and look at the zillions of options. How do you decide? Everyone you know will reccomend something different, and the main difference to me is really just features and the sophistication of the program. I have tried several of the free ones, but mainly use Cute 7.0 (about $100 I think) which offers me a few more user friendly features. Free should work just fine for you.
Once you obtain the FTP Program, you'll need to configure the program so it knows where your server is, the address, username and passwords, that sort of thing. Also not too hard, I'd reccomend to just call the help lline of your server company and they'll walk you through it.
I'll stop there for now, hope that helps Rob! Any questions, let 'em rip.