William E Hamilton, Jr.@Iman Fiqrie
Website hosting and how do you buy a domain: your first domain?Not so fast! If you’ve really read the first of my two articles; My CPLP Journey and Training and Development Line of Sight you probably can’t wait to start hosting your own domain. If not, go back and re-read articles one and two. I’ll get to web hosting rather quickly because it’s been quite some time since the first article and I know you want to get going, I’ll then double back and help fill in some needed gaps. Let’s get going…
If you realize anything from the first two articles, it’s that– you kind of have to have a “line of sight” in order to get where you’re going; however, I’ve also said a good plan done now is better than a perfect plan done late or not at all–something like that. My Captain on board ship used to tell us when we were trying to make detailed calculations before we executed a ship turning maneuver, you know where you’re going– in that direction right?”…put the #$%@ rudder over and steer in that direction, now!”. We would do so, calculate and revise our course and speed en route to our ultimate destination. This analogy works well here because what one ultimately needs is a domain name and website hosting at a minimum. Believe it or not, that part’s extremely easy! Just go to just about any website hosting company, create an account, search for a domain name that’s available for purchase and buy it– done! Problem, you have no place to put it or host it. It’s like having a name tag or card with no office space, place or desk to put it.
How to buy a Domain Name walk-through
How to setup web hosting
So what you saw and what this means is that one needs to purchase a webhost plan or package before or around the same time you purchase your domain name. Usually if you try and purchase a Domain Name– you’ll be asked about hosting. But, you don’t know what to purchase? You don’t know what to do with it when you get it? What you don’t necessarily want is to purchase a domain from one site and a web host from another (not good form); then you get into what’s known as domain name transfers to another account and some other messy stuff you won’t need as a beginner. Also watch out for the extra add-ons as you make your way to the Cart Checkout; like picking up candy on the way to the check-out counter at the grocery store– looks good, but costly. The alternative for an organization is to just buy the whole package with learning management system (LMS) from a vendor (not necessarily a consultant, different) and forget about how it gets done– maybe a $300 – 500,000 dollar mistake with training, certifications and add-ons (candy). Buy the domain name and web hosting package at one time and place. Once you have the equivalent of “a house,” “apartment” in the case of Shared Hosting, you can put almost anything you want in it you desire– almost; all web hosting packages are not the same.
In web hosting or website hosting (not the same), you have Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Dedicated Servers– whether it’s in the Cloud or not. According to SiteGround, Cloud Computing is, “…hosting …based on the most innovative Cloud computing technologies that allow unlimited number of machines to act as one system. Other hosting solutions (shared or dedicated) depend on one machine only, while cloud hosting security is guaranteed by many servers. The cloud technology allows easy integration of extra resources, such as space or RAM and thus enable website growth.” (https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/cloud/cloud_hosting.htm). In other words, for those of us down here on earth, practically cloud or otherwise is the same, however, the price, services and amenities may be better because of economies of scale. But don’t always look at price, for a beginner– one will need to get a lot advise, help and guidance until one learns the actions and behaviors of web hosting and server management– in time. So to begin with, one wants Shared Hosting for about a year or two until you get your training wheels on, don’t rush it. Also, don’t bother with Virtual Machines (VMs) on your computer or Ubuntu (another type of VM) because it’s all in your laptop or computer and you can’t use it like a real hosting site unless you leave your computer on all the time or can get a few IP addresses (from where?).
Until the training wheels are off, one needs to ensure they have a “managed” or better yet, “fully managed” web hosting plan or package. For a beginner, that most likely means Shared Hosting! Shared Hosting also means restrictions like moving into a rental apartment with many tenants– you can’t just do what you want because you effect other people with what you’re doing.
Shared web hosting explained
According to Wikipedia, Shared Web Hosting is, ” Shared web hosting service refers to a web hosting service where many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. This is generally the most economical option for hosting, as the overall cost of server maintenance is amortized over many customers.”. Notice the keyword, many websites or hosting sites– probably at least six “tenants” if you’re lucky. This isn’t bad, but after about a year or so you’ll want to move out on your own into something more where you can explore your knew knowledge and “flap your wings”.
How to buy a Shared Hosting plan walk-through
If you get too brave and go straight away for VPS or Dedicated Hosting– unless it’s Fully Managed, you’ll get little to no help from the Help Desk because your expected level of knowledge is supposed to be greater. You’ll call, they’ll ask or tell you the server is up and running and that’s it– generally. The problem with Fully Managed is that they may take away your “root” access– the whole point of getting VPS or Dedicated Hosting in the first place? Root access is more like having real control when leasing or owning the space vice just renting– too many rules and such with renting.
You could also consult with a trusted third party whom you give access (admin, not keymaster, but admin) to your site and therefore, you could ask and consult on most things. If a consultant starts the process for you, he’ll probably know the keymaster name and password. Have him create another admin username and password, give you the keymaster username and password and then change the password. Having a consultant or third party manage your site is like Fully Managed, but maybe two times less expensive and you get to keep root access. Also like having a Rental Manager help manage your properties. For Shared Hosting, however, you will not have root access so no need to ask and then even the consultants hands are tied!
Last Thoughts on Web Hosting and Domain Names
Get your Domain Name and Web Hosting plan or package (Deluxe or equivalent) under the same web hosting company to avoid problems. Experienced people won’t have problems with this as there are a few work arounds for this. My personal opinion, get the Linux plan and not Windows plan as you need to learn how to talk to the server directly for your next level VPS or Dedicated and Linux is better way to do it.
In the beginning, trying to figure out about Domain Name Servers (DNS), CNAMES, IP addresses and more will be a bit stressful– learn, that’s why it matters where you get your package from; the Help Desk, knowledge files, chat and call-in services are a must have. You can also email me directly at email@example.com and I can help point the way. I may not know all the answers to your questions right away, but with the help desk, Mr. Google and the World Wide Web– I’m sure we’ll get it done.
There’s probably no need to pay $200-500k for a LMS whose site is probably a VPS or Dedicated Host that has been leased out to about six tenants (ideal) and they’re making 10s if not 100s of thousands on one tenant alone. Look, Moodle is free or Open Source, yet you’ll get charged easily $30 -50K or more for that because of ICT labor, hosting and other services. How can this happen? Because people don’t want to learn about web hosting, they’d rather outsource it and pay to do it– and that they will. The question is, how much are you willing to pay?
In the next article, we get down and dirty with server business and talk. If you have a question before then, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org– virtually yours…