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How to choose a domain name and a host

Setting up a website/blog/forum can be challenging, so here are some helpful tips!

If you want to set up a website or a forum, it can be a process which takes a lot of time. Setting up a blog is usually a bit quicker thanks to blogging platforms, of which there are many free ones on offer.

If you are self coding your blog like I did with my old technology blog, it will probably take just as long as a website to set up. However if you are going to use a blogging system to do all the hard work for you, like Blogger, WordPress, Typepad,Β Movable Type, Drupal etc. setting up your blog is likely to be a lot quicker.

WordPress prides itself on its famous ‘5-minute installation‘ but before you get there, and this is the same for any type of site, you need to choose a URL (domain name) and host.

The Official WordPress LogoSome places offer you free URL’s, like WordPress(.com) and Google Sites, however they often restrict the control you have over your site – for example you may not be able to have ads on the site, or you may not be able to edit themes.

Assuming you want to have a unique URL/web address, then you have the challenge of choosing your URL, and where to host it.

Deciding upon a URL

Choosing a URL can be very hard, however my best advice is to go with your brand. If you are setting up a computer review blog, and it is called ‘ComBlog’, then try to find a URL with ComBlog in it.

Some people would say work out what keywords you want to show up in the search results for, and choose your domain taking those into account, e.g. freecomputerreviews.net; yes such domains may help you in the short term, however once you are established, I think that a branded domain is always best.

Going back to the ‘ComBlog’ example, domains like ComBlog.com and ComBlog.info would be great for your site, as they are short – therefore easy to remember and simple enough to spell.

The type of hosting

The next step is choosing what type of hosting you want. Do you want Windows or Linux? If you just want to run a simple website, I would suggest a Windows powered domain, however if you want to run something like WordPress or many other blogging platforms, you will need a Linux server.

Your host

After that you have to choose who is going to host your site. If you have a server at home/work and that is running 24/7 (as if it goes down, so will your site if it is hosted there) then you could host it there. However for more bandwidth, space and security, you probably want to get someone else to do it.

The problem is, who to choose! You could go to individual hosts websites, and try and work out which one is best for you. Alternatively, you could go to a web hosting comparison site, like Web Hosting Search. Such sites can offer you a very detailed overview of different hosts and what they can provide. They also contain users opinions – helping you further to choose the right company.

One useful tool that such sites offer (specifically Web Hosting Search) is a WordPress hosting comparison. This can help you find hosts that offer WordPress hosting – if that is what you are looking for.

Things to check

Before choosing your host, look at what they are offering you. Are your emails free, and can you have as many addresses as you like (e.g. talk@ComBlog.info, hello@ComBlog.info, John@ComBlog.info etc.)?

Also, how much traffic can your site receive each month? I recommend that you have it unlimited (or as high as possible) as there is nothing worse than your host cutting you off because you are too popular! This happened to Chadrack, owner of WebIncomeJournal.com not so long ago.

Also how reliable is your prospective host? Is your site likely to go offline a lot, or do they have a 0 down-time policy?

Some hosts offer you your domain free if you host it with them, so do look out for offers πŸ™‚

Are you looking to set up a website? What is your advice to those who are, or if you are, is this helpful?

0 replies on “How to choose a domain name and a host”

Avoid using hyphens in domains if possible. Which looks better? technology-bloggers.org or technologybloggers.org? Although there are many successful sites with a hyphen in them but the hyphen is easily forgotten by users who enter your domain name and can lose you traffic. Very helpful article indeed Chris πŸ™‚

Yeah! Rightly said peter. For the same reason I changed my domain recently. I was using a Hyphen and it seemed like I was missing something.
Also looking for the new gTLD’s that are going to be launched next week, as there are not many good domains left in gTLD’s currently available.

I look forward to seeing what new top-level domains there are Narender!

Thanks for your comments, welcome to the Technology Bloggers community πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

I was going to mention that, but they aren’t really that bad, it’s just aesthetics.

For the record Peter, it’s Christopher not Chris!

The shorter url the better as it is easy to remember. As for hosting, it is better used the recommendations as they usually work and they help to avoid problems in future. Still word-of-mouth advertising is quite strong.

It’s always best to choose short, interesting and easy to remember domain name. As far as hosting is concerned you need to choose a webhosting which has great customer support plus has reliable hosting so that your site don’t keep down all the time.

Use domain names related to your niche. If you are writing about computers then you can use the word “computer” as a part of your domain name like computerworld.com. Always go for .com instead of any other domain extensions.

There is nothing wrong with other domain extensions too John – it depends largely on your site. For example, .org for Technology Bloggers, as we are an organisation of bloggers. Localised domain extensions like .co.uk and .fr are a good idea if you have a localised site. Also, .info and .net are not bad ideas for domain names either.

Thanks for your comments John, I see what you mean, however I believe that .com is not the only answer, and in many cases, not the right answer.

Welcome to Technology Bloggers community πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

There’s not much difference, but after I purchased a .IN domain, I came to know that search engines do rely on country specific TLD’s to filter content.
If I use a .IN, I won’t be getting that much international exposure. Also, I preferred .com because its the first extension a person will type if he doesn’t remembers the exact one. I also stumbled across a study recently that a .com makes a person have trust. There are more chances of a person opening a .com link in an email than any other.

However the UK government would look a little silly with a .com domain, as .gov is available, as the EU would look silly with a .com, it has .eu. The same for schools, .sch, colleges and universities .ac etc.

Yeah David you are right real problem is to find the right hosting service, and yes there are choosing right domain for your website is very important. Domain really depends on the nature of website, like informational school/university website .edu is chosen as domain; at every website .com is not necessary.

Very true, as I was trying to tell John, .com isn’t always the answer πŸ™‚

Thanks for your comment, welcome to the community!
Christopher – Admin Team

I’ve lost count how many hours I’ve spent thinking about a domain name, only to find it’s already been registered, then to find it’s just “parked”, that drives me mad! I’m not sure how much a domain name helps with search results, but I guess it can’t do any harm..BTW I didn’t go for .com as I’m UK based – not that I have content that’s specific to UK, but my amazon links are to the .co.uk site, so it made sense for me..
Regards,
Graham

People who grab domains just because they can with the hope of selling them off later annoy me sometimes too Graham.

Thanks you for your comments, welcome to the community!
Christopher – Admin Team

Choosing a short url is good but it requires a lot of time. When I tried to start a technology blog on “Blogger”, I tried every possible short name but failed and finally I dropped the idea. I will try again soon. In the free blog providers, I like WordPress a lot as it provides a lot of plugins which can make your blog more attractive and user friendly.

WordPress.com is a nice free service, but it doesn’t allows you to place any ads, so you’ll surely mis that πŸ™‚
It will be only preferred by someone for a personal blog, and who doesn’t wants to earn some money from his blog.

Very true Gordon.

Good to hear from you – as you probably know, we currently use your service to monitor the blogs downtime and ping πŸ™‚

Thanks for the comment.
Christopher – Admin Team

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