I’ve been helping people out with their websites recently (as well as starting HowIBuiltMyBusiness.com) and a recurring question I hear is “What do I need to start a website?”
There are two things that every website owner needs:
If you look up toward the top of your browser you’ll see an address bar. The first part of the address is aaronhardy.com. That’s a my domain name. Other domain names you’re likely familiar with are amazon.com, facebook.com, and google.com.
In order to make it easy for users to visit your site, you’ll want to purchase a domain name as well. They’re quite cheap at around $10/year. I use NameCheap to register my domain names. In the past I used GoDaddy but several years back moved all my domains to NameCheap because I got tired of GoDaddy’s constant up-sells and user interface quirks.
Now that you have a domain name, you need a server connected to the internet that can host your website’s files and potentially any databases. I’ve used DreamHost to host multiple websites for over ten years. I love their management console along with its one-click install tools that allow me to install things like WordPress in a jiffy. I’ve also found their customer service to be good and they’ve kindly helped me through problems that turned out to be my fault. I’ve helped others who were using providers like Bluehost but I find DreamHost to be superior. Be sure to use the promo code
aaronhardy at checkout to receive the largest discount available.
Once you have a domain name, change the domain’s settings to point to the nameservers provided by your hosting provider. If you’re using DreamHost, the nameservers will be
ns2.dreamhost.com. Once that is complete, upload your website files to your hosting provider (or install something like WordPress) and you’re on your way! Good luck.