Need a website for your business but don’t have a clue about where to start? What is hosting about? Is that the same thing as a domain name? What is a server? What is a CMS? Does it come with email? Are you utterly confused? Then this article is for you.
The Website Basics
We’ll assume you know what a website is, so here’s what you need to know as the bare basics. In order to build a website for your business, you will need:
- A domain name
- A hosting server
- A content management system (CMS)
Let’s cover each of these in more detail.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a website address. It is what people type into a web browser in order to find your website. For example, at Custom Built Websites, our domain name is www.custombuiltwebsites.com.au
Every domain name is unique. It is like your fingerprint and no-one else can register the same domain name as yours for as long as it belongs to you.
A domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers, and it can be used with extensions such as .com or .com.au and many more.
Domain names are normally bought and renewed on a yearly basis and typically cost about $15-$100 per year on average, although some highly sought after domain names are like rare vehicle number plates and can cost thousands.
What is hosting?
All websites require a hosting server to work. A hosting server provides the digital space needed for your website to live in and be displayed to the world.
Your website is basically a collection of code files, images and links, but all these files need a physical location to reside in. A hosting server provides the space and infrastructure to house your website’s files.
Web hosting providers rent the digital space on their servers required by website owners for a monthly or yearly fee. This is what is knows as a “Hosting Plan”.
At Custom Built Websites, we have partnered with one of Australia’s largest and most reputable hosting service providers who employ in-house technicians to make sure your website is up and running 24/7.
What is a CMS?
CMS stands for Content Management System. As the name suggests, it is a system that will assist you in managing your website content.
A website typically consists of several pages, such as:
- Services pages
- About us page
- Contact us page
- Blog/news article pages
Every page on your website will have a mix of content including text, images and videos. One of the things a CMS does is it simplifies the process of publishing and managing this content.
WordPress is the most popular CMS on the planet. For good reason, it has shifted website management away from the world of geeky code developers and brought it within the reach of the average user, allowing people to publish content on a regular basis without knowing a single line of code.
What about email?
If you’re running a business, having your own domain email adds that extra edge of professionalism – which one looks better to you? email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
When you purchase a domain name and hosting plan, you can also have your own business email associated with that domain. This is easily done by your website developer via the hosting infrastructure in your hosting server and you can use an email client such as Microsoft Outlook to sign in to your email.
One thing to keep in mind though is that hosting your email in the same server as your website is not the best solution for a business as your emails can take up a large a mount of space over time – especially if you are in the habit of sending or receiving attachments in your emails. This will mean you’ll soon run out of space on your hosting server.
By far the best solution is to purchase a dedicated email service such as Microsoft Exchange or Google’s GSuite. These services offer you 30GB (for Google) and 50GB (for Microsoft) of space just for emails. They also permit you to integrate your emails with your custom domain and create aliases such as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” for no extra cost.