Web Hosting Tips | HostGator Blog

HostGator Blog

Web Hosting Made Easy!

  • How To Buy A Website Domain

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by
    how to buy a website domain

    How To Buy A Website Domain

    If you want to establish yourself online and build up a personal brand or online business, then buying a domain name is going to be one of the first places you start. Without a domain name, you won’t have a website. Plus, buying the wrong kind of domain name, or paying too much, is only going to set back your online success. Below you’ll learn why your domain name is important, how to get a website domain, and learn the answers to common questions about purchasing a domain name.  

    Why Is a Domain Name Important?

    Choosing the right domain name is important for a few different reasons:
    1. Your domain name tells your visitors what your site is about. Choose a poor domain and you’ll send visitors scampering for the back button. On the other hand, choosing the right domain can inspire trust and confidence in your visitors.
    2. Your domain is the embodiment of your brand. It’s the foundation for your online efforts moving forward, so choose wisely.
    3. If you’re in the local arena choosing a domain with the right keywords can actually help you rank in the search engines. Plus, it’ll give you a leg up by letting your visitors know exactly what your site is about.
    Now that you have a better understanding of why your domain name is important it’s time to get started on the process of actually getting a domain name for your new website.  

    How to Get a Website Domain Name

    When the time comes to get a website domain name you’ll have a few different options. You can often get a free domain name by signing up for a new hosting account, or you can purchase a domain name separately through a domain name registrar. Many hosting companies also act as domain name registrars, however, there are also registrars that focus solely on helping you secure a domain name. If you want your hosting and domain name all under one roof then it’s recommended that you find a hosting company that also lets you purchase a domain name (HostGator is one of these!), as companies who function primarily as a dominant name registrar, but also have add-on hosting might not be able to offer your site the hosting performance you require. register domain name Now that that’s out of the way it’s time to buy your very own domain name.  

    1. Purchase Hosting With an Add-on Domain

    One of the easiest ways to purchase a domain name is to buy it through a hosting company that also offers domain registration services, like HostGator. Since you’re going to have to purchase hosting anyways, this can be one of the easiest ways to do it. In some cases you may even be able to get a free domain name included with your hosting package, depending on the specials being run at that time. To buy a website domain from HostGator, just follow the steps below:
    1. Navigate to https://www.hostgator.com/domains
    2. Input your URL of choice to see if it’s available
    3. Go through the steps to purchase your domain and set up your account
    You’ll also have the opportunity to add hosting to your existing domain before checkout if you don’t have a hosting account already. register domain name with web hosting

    2. Purchase a Domain Without Hosting

    If you’ve decided to purchase a domain through a stand-alone registrar then you’ll need to purchase hosting separately in order to have a website live on the internet. When choosing a domain name registrar make sure that you pick a reputable registrar. The last thing you want is the registrar to go out of business, and lose your domain name, or have to go through the domain transfer process. One common domain name registrar we recommend is Domain.com. To purchase a domain from one of these sources just type in your domain of choice on the home screen, see if it’s available, then go through the purchase and account setup process. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to forward your nameservers towards your hosting account (that you purchase separately), and add the domain to the backend of your hosting account. If this process sounds too technical for you, then it’s recommended that you purchase a domain from a provider that also offers hosting.  

    Common Domain Name Questions

    Chances are you probably still have questions related to getting your domain name. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions:  

    What’s the best domain name extension?

    A domain name extension is the part of your URL that follows the period, so, .com, .org, .net, etc. There are tons of different extensions for you to choose from, but the best is still .com. It’s one of the easiest to remember and is the most authoritative out of the bunch.  

    What are nameservers?

    Your nameservers will forward your URL to your host, so it can display your website’s files. To change your nameservers you’ll need to navigate to your domain manager within the registrar you’ve chosen. Next, find the nameservers for your current domain, select, ‘use custom nameservers’, and change those nameservers to the ones provided by your host.  

    Should I buy a domain at auction?

    Sometimes you’ll be able to find a single word domain that’s available at auction. It can be tempting to pick up these domains, but often they’ll be incredibly pricey. Sometimes they range up into the multiple thousands of dollars. For those just getting started online, it’s recommended to avoid purchasing a domain through auction and instead, purchase your own cheaper custom domain. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why a domain is important and the steps you can take to get your very own domain name.
  • How Do You Create A Domain?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by
    how do you create a domain

    How Do You Create A Domain?

    If you want to have a website, then the first thing you’ll need to do is create a domain name. Without a domain name, there won’t be a way for users to actually access your website. Beyond actually choosing a domain name, you’ll need to pick a domain name that is short, memorable, and represents your business. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Below you’ll learn why choosing the right domain name is important, common domain name selection pitfalls, and finally, you’ll learn how to go through the process of actually creating a domain. register domain name

    The Importance of Choosing the Right Domain Name

    Your domain name is going to be the name of your brand. It’s something you need to spend time thinking about and researching. For example, without proper research, you could end up with a domain name that is very closely related to one of your competitors. Or, you could end up with a domain name that doesn’t stick in the minds of your visitors. A lot of people rush the domain selection process, and once their site takes off they wish they spent more time up front. Having to go through a website re-brand isn’t the end of the world. But, it can be avoided by choosing the right domain name from the start.  

    Domain Name Do’s and Don’ts

    When you're creating your own domain name there are a few best practices you’ll want to keep in mind, as well as some pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Learn what they are below.  

    1. DO Be Descriptive

    Although a lot of large brands have domain and company names that don’t really reflect what they’re doing, you can give yourself a leg up by choosing a descriptive domain. Some domains are merely descriptors of the company values. While others help to illustrate exactly what their company does. You want your domain to give your visitors a subtle hint of what your website or brand is about. It’ll either improve or detract from your brand, so choose wisely.  

    2. DO Create Something Short and Memorable

    Long domains aren’t only a chore to type in, but they can be hard to remember and come across as spammy. When in doubt, go with a shorter domain. This doesn’t mean you should cut letters out of the words, but instead to use fewer words or come up with a combination of phrases that’s much easier to remember.  

    3. DO Research Your Domain

    Spend time looking into your domain's past. Someone else could have purchased it a long time ago to build a site in a separate space, or it could have a shady past that you’re unaware of. Keep an eye out for competitors that have similar domains, or other businesses that have a similar company name. You’ll want something that’s completely unique and free of any existing negative association.  

    4. DON'T Use Dashes, Abbreviations, or Numbers

    Think about telling someone your domain name. Which sounds better? “My domain is “dogs dash life dot com” or “My domain is “dogs life dot com” By adding dashes, abbreviations, and numbers to your domain you make it that much more difficult for people to both pass on, and remember your domain name.  

    5. DON'T Choose the Wrong Extension

    The wrong domain name extension can reflect poorly on your website. For instance, going with something like .biz or .info, simply because it’s the only thing available, will reflect poorly on your website and make it come across as less credible. Whenever possible, choose a .com, a .net, or a .org.  

    Creating a Domain Name

    By now you’re well equipped to create a domain name that’s a perfect reflection of your business. With a few different domain options in mind, it’s time to get creating. The first step is deciding whether or not you want to purchase hosting at the same time. If you don’t already have a hosting account, then it’ll be much easier for you to purchase both at the same time. First, navigate to HostGator Domains, and enter your domain of choice. Then, select your TLD and purchase your domain. search available domain names If you’d like to purchase hosting at the same time, then head over to this page and select your hosting package. On the next screen you’ll have the ability to add a domain to your purchase too. And that’s it!  

    How to Set Up Your Domain Name

    Once you’ve purchased your domain name and hosting you’ll need to sync the two together in order to have a functioning website. The first step is to point your domain name towards your web server. If you registered your domain through HostGator, then this step is already taken care of for you. For those who registered their domain at a different registrar, read on.
    • Navigate to your domain management portal, and look for a section called DNS records.
    • Here you’ll find an area titled nameservers, click on it and choose custom nameservers.
    • Now, enter the nameservers that were given to you by your hosting provider, and click save.
    • Your domain name will now be pointing towards your host, where all of your website’s files are stored.
    The final step is going to be adding your domain to the backend of your hosting account. If you’re using HostGator hosting, then navigate to your cPanel and click on the icon titled Addon Domains. Manage domains in cPanel On the next screen you’ll be able to add your domain to the backend of your hosting account, so you can start managing and building your site. Congrats! You’re now the proud owner of a new domain name that’s ready to be transformed into a beautiful website. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how the domain name creation process works and the importance of choosing the right domain name.
  • How To Sell A Domain Name

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by
    how to sell a domain name

    How To Sell A Domain Name

    Maybe you’ve gotten in the habit of purchasing domain names. Now, you have a ton of domains that are doing nothing but collecting virtual dust. Instead of just letting them sit there, there is a way to make some extra cash from your unused domains. Now, not every domain you own is going to sell for a huge fee. But, you might be sitting on some unexpectedly valuable domains. Below you’ll learn how to sell a domain name, the best ways to find buyers, and places online where you can list your domain for sale.  

    How to Sell Your Domain

    Selling your domain is going to be a lengthy process, and you might not get any bids straight away. It depends upon the existing value of your domain and how well you market it. The process will differ from selling a website, however. Below we cover the process of discovering the value of your domain name and hopefully selling it for a nice sum.  

    1. Determine the Value Of Your Domain

    The first thing you’ll need to do is properly price your domain. A lot of people end up overpricing their domains and wonder why they never have any interest. Just because you’ve owned a domain for a while doesn’t mean that it has any inherent value. For example...
    • Is your domain a .com, or does it have some other random suffix? A .com domain will carry a higher price.
    • Is your domain name short? Or does it contain a lot of words? Shorter domains tend to sell for a lot more.
    • Is your domain easy to spell? Or have a common abbreviation? Domain names that include common words or regular abbreviations will fetch a higher price.
    • Do you have hyphens or other elements in your domain? Domains that contain fewer words (preferably even one), and don’t include hyphens will sell for much more.
    Spend time researching what other related domains have sold for. You can use the tool Namebio to determine what other similar domains have sold for. There are a variety of online estimation tools you can use, but these don’t tend to give very accurate quotes. You can use them as a general indicator, but not as a true measure of value.  

    2. Decide How You’d Like to Sell

    With a better understanding of what your domain is worth, it's time to start looking for buyers. You’re going to have a few different ways to find buyers for your domain. The first is to locate a domain broker. They will work on your behalf to sell the domain and take a percentage of the total selling price. Another option is to list your domain on a popular selling site, some of the most popular sites are shown below:  

    3. Prepare Your Domain Listing

    Once you’ve chosen your marketplace it’s time to optimize your listing. A lot of sellers just upload their URL and call it a day. However, you can maximize your chances of selling your domain by making it more attractive. For example, does your domain have any existing traffic? Does the domain have considerable age? Does your domain have any existing authority? By highlighting the current and potential value of the domain you can help to justify the price and make it more attractive to buyers.  

    4. Use an Escrow Service

    One way to safeguarding the selling of your domain is to use an escrow service. This will help you avoid being scammed or tricked by a potential buyer. An escrow service will act as a neutral third-party that will safely hold and process the funds. Some selling platforms like Sedo have a built-in escrow process for every transaction done through the site. This will take a percentage of the final price, but safeguarding your domain is well worth it.  

    5. Transfer the Domain

    Finally, it’s time to transfer your domain to the new owner. The process you use will differ depending on how you decided to sell your site. However, the general process is outlined below:
    1. The seller will submit the authorization code to start the transfer process.
    2. The seller will them transfer the funds from escrow once the transfer is completed.
    3. There might be restrictions on the amount of time the funds must stay in escrow, so double check this before you initiate the transfer.
    Learning how to sell a domain name is a lengthy process, but one that could be potentially financially rewarding. Hopefully, the tips above have given you some guidance on evaluating your own domain names, and maybe even selling a few of them.
  • What Is A Domain Name?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by

    How Domain Names Work

    What Is A Domain Name?

    So, you know you want to create a website, but you’re a little confused by all the terminology. You know you need a domain name, a web host, and a way to build your website. But, how do all of these pieces work together? It’s easy to confuse web hosting with a domain name. This post exists to clear up that confusion. Below you’ll learn what a domain name actually is, how they work, and how domain names differ from your website.  

    What Is a Domain Name?

    A domain name is the address that people type into the URL browser box to access your website. You can think of it like your website’s address or your personal phone number. When someone wants to reach you they either type in your phone number, or click on your contact information, and call you up. Or, you can look at it this way: If your website was your home, then your domain name would be your address. Understanding the above information will help you grasp the basic concepts. However, the explanation can get a little more technical as well. Each computer is assigned a unique IP address. This IP address allows other computers to communicate with one another. However, an IP address can be more difficult to remember. For example, what would you have an easier time remembering 62.546.69.2 or “dogfacts.com”? Domain names came to be to solve the problem of difficult to remember IP addresses. Instead of having to type a complicated string of numbers into the URL bar, you just type in a domain name instead. Some examples of domain names include:
    • Wikipedia.com
    • HostGator.com
    • Whitehouse.gov
    • NYTimes.com
     

    Components of a Domain Name

    Domain names are composed of several different parts. They read from right to left. At the far right of the domain name, you’ll find what’s called a TLD (top level domain), or the domain name extension. These are the .com, .org, .net, or other extensions you find after the final period in the domain name. The mid-level domain is probably what you’re most familiar with. It’s the part after the www, but before the top-level domain. This is the part of your domain name you’ll have the greatest level of customization. The final aspect of the domain name is the www aspect. This is standard for every domain name and is referred to as the machine name.  

    How Domains Work

    Now that you understand what domain names are, it’s time to understand exactly how they work. When you type in a domain name into the URL bar, it sends a request out to the DNS (Domain Name System). This is basically a giant phonebook that lists all the IP addresses and the associated domain names. The domain forwarding process is outlined below:
    1. The server will look up the nameservers that are associated with the domain name and then forward the request to those nameservers.
    2. Your hosting company is in charge of managing your nameservers. It’ll then forward the name server request to the server where your website’s files are stored.
    3. The web server will then gather the requested information and send it back to the web browser.
    As you can see there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes just to display your website!  

    The Relationship Between Your Domain Name, Web Host, and Website

    In order to have a functioning website, you need both a domain name and a web host. When you purchase web hosting you’ll get access to a server environment. This server is where all of your website’s files will be stored. After all, your website is simply a collection of files. Your domain name is the address where all of these files are located. Type in your domain name into the URL bar, and your web host will serve up the files stored on the server. You need both a web host and a domain name to have a website live on the Internet. If you’re just getting started online it can be beneficial to purchase your hosting and your domain name from the same provider, as it’ll cut down on the technical tasks you need to perform to get your website online. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a domain name is, and the role it plays in the online ecosystem. register domain name
  • How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by
    Tips for Choosing Best Domain Name

    Choose A Domain Name for Your Business

    Choosing the right domain name for your business is a big decision. Your domain name is more than the words you type into the browser, it’s the foundation for your online identity. Choose the wrong domain name and you’ll end up doing your business a disservice. But, choose the right domain name and you’ll make your online success that much easier. But, how exactly do you choose a good domain name for your blog or business? We’ve got you covered. Below you’ll learn how to choose a domain name for your business, and the most important factors in getting your domain name right  

    1. Go with “.com”

    When it comes to choosing your domain extension you’re going to have a lot of different options available. It can be tempting to go with a TLD that’s innovative and creative. However, if you can it’s always a good idea to go with .com. The .com TLD is by far the most commonly used and recognized TLD. So, people already have a built-in association with .com being the primary TLD. You can use this to your advantage and build a higher-quality brand by choosing .com You can also think of it this way. If your website does become very successful and you decided to start with something like .co, then you’d probably need to eventually purchase the .com too  

    2. Scoop up other domain extensions, too

    When you register your .com domain name, pick up top-level domain variations like .biz and .net if you can. Redirect them to your .com site so visitors who type in the wrong domain will still find your site. For example, sephora.biz, sephora.net and sephora.info all take you straight to Sephora.com. Sephora TLDs redirects

    As the number of domain names registered continues to increase, good names are becoming more and more competitive.  For this reason, it’s possible to have a competitor snatch up the “.net” or “.biz” version of your URL – even if you’ve secured the “.com” version.

    Because this can lead to lost traffic – especially if your competitors wind up outranking you in the search engine results pages – consider buying up popular TLDs (top-level domains) for your chosen domain, if they’re available.

     

    3. Keep it short

    When in doubt, make your domain as short as possible. This will help with making your brand more memorable. The fewer characters your domain has the easier it’ll be to type, say, and share with friends. Now it might be hard to find a single word domain that’s related to your business, especially today. However, consider combining two or three shorter words together to make something memorable. Plus, since more internet users today use their smartphones to browse the web, you need to make it easy for them to type your domain into their browser  

    4. Avoid “cutesy” names and abbreviations

    Don't use cute shorteners like 4U and 2U in your domain names because:
    • They're hard to remember.
    • They look unprofessional.
    • Only Prince could get away with that, and 4 real UR not Prince.
    If you think people might have trouble remembering long URLs, know that they’ll have a field day trying to remember your text-speak domain name!  Steer clear and look for alternative domain names that convey your company’s brand messaging without resorting to tricks like these.

    Domain Name

     

    5. Don't make it awkward

    Domain names don't include spaces, and using hyphens in domain names is a terrible idea, so whatever you choose shouldn't look awkward written as one word. 

    To see what we mean, consider the real-life URLs for the following legitimate company names:

    • Pen Island – “www.penisland.net”
    • IT Scrap – “www.itscrap.com”
    • Who Represents – “www.whorepresents.com”
    • Experts Exchange – “www.expertsexchange.com”
    • Speed of Art – “www.speedofart.com”
    Clearly, carefully reviewing your final selection before hitting the “Register” button is always a good idea!  

    6. Make it brandable

    Brandable means that when you see or hear your domain it sounds like a brand. By looking at your domain name your visitors should be able to intuit what your website is going to be about. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to spell out exactly what your business does with a list of keywords but instead try to capture the essence of what you do.

    When a customer sees a name like billreducer.com, they have one expectation in mind: this website is going to help me save money by reducing my bills in some way.

    Choose a name that is going to let customers know what they are in for from the moment they read it. Your site should deliver what it says on the label, and your domain name is the label.

    For example, if you sell pet supplies in Tulsa, www.tulsapetsupplies.com makes that clear to visitors in a way that, say, www.treatsandtoys.com does not.

    Don’t make it confusing for your visitors to figure out what your business does. Say it all with a great domain name.  

    7. Choose a domain that's easy to remember

    Customers will find your website URL on flyers, newsletters, search queries, and other websites so making the address stick is key.

    Memorable domain names are often short, clever, and avoid trendy humor, hyphens or numbers. The longer or more complicated the domain name, the less likely it is to stick. A good rule of thumb is if you saw the domain name on a delivery-truck sign, could you remember it later?

    Think obvious, catchy, unique, and memorable. Do a quick analysis of your favorite domain names and see what makes them stand out, and incorporate those elements you like into your own business domain name.  

    8. Stay clear of copyright issues

    If you’re pretty much settled on a domain name, then you need to spend some time looking into the past of your domain. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Have there been any associated domain names that have a negative public opinion?
    • Does your domain name contain any words that have a double meaning?
    • Are there any existing trademark issues with the words used in your domain?
    The last thing you want is to find and register the perfect domain name, only to realize that your domain is creating brand confusion, or that you’re accidentally stepping on someone’s trademark. Double-check social media, too. You want to make sure any relevant social media handles are still available. This will help you build brand consistency and make it that much easier for your visitors to find your business on social media.  

    9. Unlock the power of keywords

    Internet search is based on a framework of keywords and phrases when indexing addresses and sites, so why not take advantage of this when choosing your domain name?

    Brainstorm keywords related to your organization and use these in shaping your chosen name. For example, your butcher's shop might name meat, butcher, smoked, cured, savory, friendly, and service as descriptive keywords for your business. An appropriate name might then be SavoryService.com or TheSmilingButcher.com. Either domain respects the fact that search engines work off of such keywords when indexing and fetching information for users, while providing a description of what customers can expect in the process.

    What keywords do people use to search for businesses like yours? Use them in your domain name if you can.  

    10. Protect your privacy

    When you register your domain, the rules of the internet require that you give your
    • real name
    • home or business address
    • email address
    • phone number
    Anyone online can find that information through the global WHOIS database. Don't want randos looking up your contact info? Sign up for HostGator’s WHOIS privacy service when you register. We’ll replace your private information with ours. HostGator Domain Privacy Protection  

    Ready to register?

    It only takes one click to check if your dream domain name is available. Once you've found the right name and made sure it's available, it takes just a few minutes to buy and register it. 

    Check now to see if your domain name is available today.