Now you have chosen an address – or domain name – for your site, you need to find hosting – or a home – for your site. Again, there are many options, and have most of my domains hosted with HostGator. For about $6 a month you can host your site on a “Hatchling” plan with them, and I have found their customer service to be excellent. You can call them, text them or use chat to ask questions, and have been able to get really helpful advice every time.
Another option is once again NameCheap, and if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, buying your domain name and hosting here is an easy option. Generally the idea is not to have “all your eggs in one basket”, but for a first site (and there will be more, it is addictive!) it is OK to keep things simple. NameCheap is currently offering a hosting rate of $3.45 per month if you pre-pay 24 months of hosting, or if you prefer a shorter commitment, it is $3.95 a month for a year. (If you choose to get your domain name at the same time, choose NameCheap.)
You will find that you can save more on the monthly rate if you commit to longer term hosting, but chose a price and term you feel comfortable with.
When you have paid you will get a confirmation email with your two “nameserver” links – the way Hostgator or NameCheap knows exactly which bit of the web is now yours. Save this information safely where you can find it again!
Either of these hosting options comes with a many potential email addresses that you can use with your domain, and which are easily set up. This means you can create ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as your business email address, and then add ‘email@example.com’ or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org” for other uses. You can either access the mail from these addreses through the cPanel from your hosting, or set the mail to be forwarded into another email account.
Generally if you pre-pay a lower level of hosting and then decide you want to build a forest of sites, you can upgrade to larger scale hosting, and apply the pre-payment to the new hosting. The advantage of having the more expensive hosting is that you can host multiple domains (“add-on” domains) within one package of hosting, which brings the per-site cost down dramatically. Be warned that ‘Unlimited’ hosting does have some limits, but it will take time and a few huge , or a large number of small sites to reach them!