Kevin Wood, Author at HostGator Blog

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  • Do You Need to Transfer Your Domain or Change Your Name Servers?

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by

    Changing Name Servers

    When you own a domain there’s a lot of things you’ll be able to do with it, beyond building a website on the domain. Naturally, talking about domain name transfers and name servers can get a bit technical and overwhelming, so we’ll bring the process down from the clouds for you.

    Below we’re going to examine the differences between transferring the domain to another registrar or user, and changing the name servers altogether. HostGator customers can learn more here.

     

    What Are Registrars?

    When you register a domain you choose a certain registrar to register your domain with. Usually, you end up choosing a yearly contract where you’ll have ownership of that domain for a year before you need to renew it again.

    Some common domain name registrars include: HostGator, Domain.com, and GoDaddy. The domain name registrar you choose doesn’t matter all that much, but most will differ based upon pricing and the benefits included with your domain.

    Remember, your web host and your domain name registrar can be different companies, in which case you’ll just need to change the name servers, which we’ll get to below.

    Domain Name

     

    Why Would You Want to Transfer a Domain?

    There are a variety of reasons for transferring your domain, but we highlight a few of the most common reasons below:

    • You want to merge your host and domain name registrar together.
    • You’ve bought a domain that’s currently registered at a different registrar.
    • You’ve sold a domain name and need to transfer the domain to the buyer.
     

    Domain Name Transfer Prerequisites

    Before you begin the domain name transfer process you’ll want to review the prerequisites below to ensure that you’re not creating any additional headaches for yourself.

    • Your domain must be over 60 days old and not have gone through other transfers with 60 days.
    • You must know whether or not the name servers will also need to be changed when you switch to a new registrar.
    • In some cases, you might need an authorization code and remove WHOIS protection before making the switch.
    • Make sure you update all of the domain contact information, as this will be needed to complete the request.
     

    The Domain Name Transfer Process

    The domain name transfer process will begin with your current registrar. You’ll put in a request to transfer your domain to a new registrar and be given a set of processes to follow on their end.

    The steps required will differ based upon the registrar you’re currently using, and where you’re moving your domain. The transfer usually takes a few days to complete, as there are steps in place to prevent unauthorized transfers.

     

    What Are Name Servers?

    Name servers are the secret key for your website to actually show up when people search for it. Essentially, when someone types in your domain name, the name server will then point to the web host where your site is hosted.

     

    Transferring Name Servers

    Transferring name servers is the process of pointing your domain to a specific host. Your existing name servers will usually look something like this:

    ns1.yourhostsdomain.com

    ns2.yourhostsdomain.com

    To change your current name servers all you have to do is change the existing name server information to your new host.

    Name servers allow you to point your domain towards whatever web host you’re using currently, while transferring a domain deals with the registrar where your domain lives.

    Hopefully the post above helped to clear up any confusion between actually transferring a domain and simply changing the name servers.

  • Best WordPress Plugins for Wedding Websites

    Monday, April 24, 2017 by
    Best Wordpress Plugins for Wedding Websites Your wedding is an incredibly special day in your life. Building a beautiful website around the day is a great way to keep guests informed and it can help commemorate the magic. With a wedding website you can communicate the details about your wedding like: location, directions, accommodations and gifts. All the needed information will be in one place, there is no need to spend hours on the phone speaking to each guest. Beyond highlighting certain wedding details, you can use your site to showcase beautiful pictures, videos and more, so you can remember your big day anytime you’d like. If you’re utilizing WordPress for your wedding site, then there are all kinds of plugins you can use to extend the functionality of your website and make it do whatever you wish. Below you’ll find five plugins that are invaluable additions to any wedding website. HostGator WordPress Hosting  

    1. WeddingPress

    Wedding Press WeddingPress is the perfect all-in-one wedding plugin for your WordPress site. This plugin is great in that you’ll really only need this single plugin to make your wedding site more functional and useful. Whether you’re looking for a way to add a gift list, create a way for guests to RSVP, or even create meal lists, then this plugin is a good choice. Some of the most useful features of this plugin include:
    • Creating an online gift list that syncs with PayPal for easy payment
    • Social media and email list integration
    • Easily create an online guest list for quick RSVP
    • Let guests choose their preferred menu options
    WeddingPress will run you $30, but is a great way to provide a seamless registrations experience for your guests.  

    2. Events Planner

    Events Planner is a free plugin that’ll help you manage any kind of event. Although technically an event management plugin, it’s perfectly suited to the wedding environment where you have things like a reception, rehearsal dinners, the actual wedding, and the after party all occurring in close proximity. Events Planner can help you plan and manage your wedding guest list, while keeping them in the loop about the latest details related to your wedding. Some of the main features of this plugin include:
    • Easy event registration
    • A built-in form manager
    • PayPal integration (if payments are necessary)
    • Confirmation emails for all registrants
    There is also a pro edition of this plugin, which will unlock features like: availability of an unlimited number of dates, prices and times, the ability for both individual and group registrations, a visible attendee list, and ability to send emails.  

    3. WP Google Maps

    Google Maps Your visitors need to be able to easily locate your venue, especially if you’re expecting guests to travel for your wedding. What better way to do this than to utilize the power of Google Maps? WP Google Maps is a great plugin that will help you provide exact wedding location details via Google Maps. This is an incredibly easy plugin to use, but is still quite rich on features. The free version of this plugin has features like:
    • Classic Google Maps and Street-view support
    • Widgetized for easy placement
    • Re-sizable to fit your site
    • Can add map markers, animations, and images
    If you upgrade to the paid version of the plugin you’ll access additional features, like the ability to create more than one map, show the locations of your visitors and icon upgrades.  

    4. Bean Registry

    Wedding gift registries are an important part of any wedding. But, instead of sending your guests a random assortment of links to different websites, why not host them all in one place? With Bean Registry you can use their list of shortcodes to easily add your registry links to their supported stores to anywhere on your site. Some features of this plugin include:
    • An easy process to add items to registry and link to existing stores
    • Large number of stores to choose from
    • Easily add your URL through a shortcode
    This plugin connects you to over 15 current stores, and is a great way to create a registry for your wedding site without a lot of hassle. Wedding websites are becoming more and more popular; with the plugins above you’ll be able to transform your existing wedding site into something useful and beautiful. Any plugins we missed that are a must-have for your wedding site? Please share in the comments below.
  • Setting Up Your World of Warcraft Server

    Friday, March 31, 2017 by
    set up world of warcraft private server World of Warcraft is an incredibly popular roleplaying game that’s enjoyed by millions of gamers around the globe, and if you’re a player, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to play on your own server. Private servers can emulate the experience of an online game, but they allow you to change certain aspects of the gameplay for your own enjoyment. Below we’re going to show you how you can create a private WoW server that you can play on. Let’s get to it!  

    What is a Private World of Warcraft Server?

    At the core a private server refers to any server that’s privately owned. Most private servers will allow you to play a version of the game that’s different than those commonly played on the official servers. Sometimes you just really want to play an older vision of the game, or include certain character or gameplay modifications, or even include custom items in regular gameplay. A private server allows you to create a custom-tailored gaming experience specifically tailored to your preferences. Private servers can also allow you to play games that aren’t offered in your region of the world, or even play discontinued versions of the game, this makes private servers very popular. Keep in mind that creating a private WoW server is in a legal grey area, and you should by no means charge for the server, or include micro-transactions. Dedicated Server  

    How to Setup a WoW Private Server

    The steps below will help you install your very own private World of Warcraft server. However, before you jump in you’ll need to install a program called AC Web Ultimate Repack. You can choose the repack that works best for you; we used this one for the tutorial below. You’ll also want to install the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack, which you can install from this link. Once you have those installed we can move forward with setting up your very own server. Special thanks to Instructables for the configuration help.  

    1. Map Data

    You’ll need to collect the Map Data from your existing WoW install. If you don’t have the game downloaded to your computer, then you’ll need to do this now. You can access the download from your existing WoW account. Open up the WoW folder and locate the file titled ‘maps’. Now you’ll need to go to ‘C:/AC Web Ultimate Repack/ Tools/Map Extractor enUS’ and copy the ‘maps’ folder and the ‘ad.exe’ to the folder. Then, run the ‘ad.exe’ program.  

    2. Logon Database Configuration

    Now you’ll need to find the file called ‘ascent-logonserver.conf’, open it, and find the area that begins with, ‘LogonDatabase Hostname=’. Now, make sure you change the information, so it looks like the text below: ‘LogonDatabase Hostname = "127.0.0.1" Username = "root" Password = "ascent" Name = "logon" Port = "3306" Type = “1”’  

    3. Configure Ascent Realms

    Navigate to the file called ‘ascent-realms.conf’, and locate the portion that starts with ‘<Realm1 Name=’. Then, change the details, so they mirror the options below. ‘<Realm1 Name = “The Name of Your Server“ Address = "127.0.0.1:8129" Icon = "RP" Colour = "1" Population = "1.0" TimeZone = “1”>’  

    4. Configure Your World

    This is the fun part where you’ll be able to customize certain elements of your world. To get started with this navigate to the file, ‘ascent-world.conf’. With this file open you can then adjust the values under the ‘<Rates Health=‘ section to customize the gameplay experience.  

    5. Change the realmlist.wtf File

    Navigate back to the WoW directory and find the file called ‘realm list.wtf’. Now, delete the contents of the file and replace it with ‘set realm list 127.0.0.1’. You can then start your server by running ‘Control Panel.exe’ within your ‘SC Web Ultimate Repack’ directory. Once that runs, just click on the first three buttons and your server will be live. You can now enjoy your very own private WoW server. Happy gaming!
  • 6 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Podcast For More Traffic

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 by
    Optimize your podcast for more traffic The podcast revolution is upon us. The total number of podcast listeners continues to grow every single year. This means the chances are high that your ideal audience is listening to a podcast right this very second, which is probably why you started podcasting in the first place. Below we dive into a two-fold approach for sending people from your podcast to your website. First we’ll show you how to optimize and get more listeners to your existing podcast, and then we’ll show you a few tricks to encourage these people to head back to your website.  

    First, Optimize Your Podcast For Search

    Your podcast isn’t doing your business any good if it’s just sitting there on iTunes, not gaining any new listeners. One of the more effective ways to improve the chances of people actually finding your podcast is through proper optimization.  

    1. Optimize for iTunes

    iTunes will crawl your podcast, similar to how Google crawls your website, to determine which keywords to rank it for. This means you’ll want to optimize your podcast title, subtitle, and description fields. You can even add certain keywords, and name drop guest names, to increase the amount of traffic flowing to your podcast page.  

    2. Optimize your Metadata

    Your episode metadata is automatically created by iTunes, but you can still go in and change the data to tag the information yourself. This will help your podcast rank even higher, as you’re giving each episode more information to work with.  

    3. Create Catchy Episode Titles

    Think of your podcast titles the same way you view blog post titles. Your titles must be catchy and provoke curiosity in the eyes of your listener. Having lackluster titles won’t encourage your readers to listen to your episodes. Create Your Blog  

    Second, Take People From Podcast To Website

    Once your podcast is optimized within iTunes, it’s time to encourage those listeners to visit your website. Below we offer a few ways you can get the most out of each episode.  

    1. Promote Extracts on Social Media

    Social media can be a great way to drive traffic back to your website. But, you need to share a steady stream of engaging and relevant content if you want your strategy to be effective. You can put your podcast audio to good use by finding sharable quotes from your podcast (bonus points if they're tweetable). Then, load those up into your social media queue using a tool like Buffer. This will provide intrigue to your podcast episode, and drive more clicks to your website as well.  

    2. Offer a Free Download to Accompany Your Podcast

    You should always create a free download that accompanies each episode. This will give listeners a reason to head back to your website. The free resource should enhance the information that’s already been presented in your podcast. For instance, if you just had an interview with a startup founder about their new productivity app, you could create a free ebook on your website called 7 Hidden Secrets to Get The Most Out of This App. You could even giveaway a free subscription or coupon to the visitor who leaves the best comment.  

    3. Create Podcast Show Notes

    Show notes fulfill two needs. They can help increase your search engine rankings and they provide value to listeners who prefer reading over listening. Publish your show notes on your website and offer an outline that extracts all of the hidden gems from each podcast episode. This might seem like a lot of time spent, but this will give the search engines something to rank you for, and beef out your podcast episodes on your website, to the benefit of your listeners. Sounds like a win-win to me. Your podcast can be an integral part of your marketing strategy. We hope the tips above will help you get the most from your podcast.
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding cPanel

    Monday, March 27, 2017 by
    cPanel guide If you’re just getting started setting up your very first website, then you’re probably going to need to use cPanel. Most current web hosts use cPanel, so if you’re not using it now, you’ll probably need to use it eventually. cPanel can be used to accomplish a lot of website-related tasks. Uploading files, creating a domain email address, adding more domains to your hosting account, and installing WordPress can all be done in your cPanel. Even basic knowledge of cPanel can be very beneficial to website beginners. Let's dive into cPanel and walk through how you can accomplish a variety of hosting related tasks.  

    What is cPanel?

    cPanel is the control panel that allows you to easily manage your hosting account. cPanel doesn’t manage your billing preferences (go to your portal account for that), but rather the technical aspects of managing your website. When you log into your cPanel you’ll find a graphical interface that’ll enable you to manage your website. For the purpose of this tutorial we’re going to be using the HostGator cPanel for reference. Below we highlight a few things you can do from your cPanel dashboard. Get your cPanel login ready now, as you'll need it to access cPanel and perform the activities listed below. Your hosting provider should have provided you with your login credentials after you signed up for hosting.  

    1. Updating cPanel Preferences

    Before we jump into actually managing your site in cPanel, let’s get a little familiar with the backend. Once you login to cPanel you’ll be taken to the dashboard. HostGator cPanel dashboard At the top, you’ll find a search bar you can use to locate the plugin you want to utilize, or you can just use the ctrl+f command to find what you’re looking for. We'll be focusing on these sections of cPanel:
    • Mail
    • Files
    • Domains
    • Software and Services

    2. Managing Your Domain Names

    The Domains section of your cPanel will be useful anytime you want to add another domain to your hosting account, manage redirections, or create a subdomain that can be used to build a new site. Manage domains in cPanel To add a new domain, click on Addon Domain. This will allow you to add another domain that you’ve purchased to your existing hosting account. Now all you have to do is enter the necessary domain information and your new site will be ready to build! You can also manage redirects and create subdomains under an existing domain within this section of cPanel.  

    3. Managing Your Email Accounts

    Want to create an email address that matches your domain name? Navigate to the Email section. Click on Email Accounts, and you’ll be able to create an email under your desired domain name using the drop down tab. cPanel email management If you want to access your email for the first time, scroll down to where your email accounts and click on Access Webmail from the More drop down. Bookmark your inbox for easy access next time.  

    4. Understanding File Manager

    To manage your website’s files, navigate to File Manager. Then select the website you want files from and click Go. This will open up the list of files that make up your website. It’s important not to mess with these unless you know what you’re doing, as deleting just one of these files could render your website inoperable. cPanel File Manager  

    5. Getting to Know One Click Installs

    The final tool we’re going to look at in this tutorial is under the Software section and it’s called QuickInstall. cPanel QuickInstall With QuickInstall you can easily install WordPress and other popular content management systems on any domain you own. Below we’ll show you how to install WordPress with just a few clicks. With QuickInstall open, click on WordPress. Scroll down and you’ll see a box that looks like the one below: WordPress cPanel Click on Install WordPress, then select your domain name and populate the fields with your admin email, title of your site, and admin username. After the install is complete you’ll receive an email that allows you to login to the WordPress backend. Obviously, there’s a lot more you can do within your cPanel. But, the five items above are commonly requested by beginners.   Any other common tasks you use cPanel for? Share your favorites in the comments below.