To have a working website you need three things: the website itself (d’uh), hosting, and domain name(s). The website consists of various files that define the structure, look, and feel of the website. This is what you hire a web developer to design and put together for you. These files need a specialized computer, or server, to live on. Hosting refers to rental of server space and resources for your website. The domain name is the URL that people enter into the browser, which is linked to the particular server where your website files are stored.
Your client asks for the website by entering the URL, the web browser requests that URL from the server, and the server responds with the appropriate code and files for your website, which the web browser renders as the web page. These are the three legs of the website stool – take any of them away and you’ll be hitting the deck.
Domain and hosting is something that is typically paid for every year, although longer commitment terms are available. Various companies offer different plans and include different things in their plans. Many will offer introductory offers with expiration dates. In most cases, introductory offers aside, you will pay at least $10 a month for hosting for a decent package. One domain name will often be included in the price. All the administration of the account is on you.
We charge $15/month, but do many of the administrative tasks for you. We’ll set up the website, add email addresses, set up FTP access, etc. It’s really not a money maker for us, but rather a way to deliver a better service. In our humble opinion, the extra $5 is well worth it.
Some people choose to buy multiple domains, for example dot-com and dot-ca, or several variations of their company name. There are many new domain names available now, like dot-food, dot-property, and dot-directory, but unless you can get one that is a great fit for your business, it’s probably not worth it. We try to secure the dot-com and dot-ca for our clients if the two are available. Both domains would point to the same website, so there would be no need to develop multiple websites.
Hosting accounts typically come with email, allowing you to have a professional looking email. However, a server optimized for hosting is not the same as the one optimized for email. Think of these as one being a truck and the other a sports car. As a result, sometimes your email will not be as reliable as you may like it to be. This is where dedicated email services come in.
Currently there are two good services, one from Microsoft and the other from Google. Both are cloud based, both are pretty much bulletproof, and both cost $5/email/month. With several email addresses it can become costly, but if you are after reliability, this is the way to go.
We can help you sign up for either service, but we recommend Google because we like Gmail. You can easily access it via an internet browser or through the Gmail app on your phone. You can also set it up to load your email into your Microsoft Outlook or Mac Mail.
Note: we are not an IT company. This means that we are not good people to ask about adding the email to your phone or your computer. We can supply you with the values you need to set up your email, but the actual set up is up to you or whoever you use for IT.