As a savvy small business entrepreneur, you know that today’s market requires a strong online presence. A business website will allow you to keep your customers updated about your newest services and products and interact with your client base and improve customer service. It also allows you to collect data on the demographics of those who visit your site, better allowing you to know your customers. But do you know the process behind getting your website online?
At BuzzAGeek, we offer custom website creation and hosting, working with you to build and support the business website you want. Unlike other IT service and tech support companies, we don’t mind sharing our knowledge! Think of us as your partners in building your business, not as inscrutable tech wizards.
First Step: Registering your domain name.
The first step to getting your small business’ website online is registering your website’s domain name. A domain is just that; the online address for your business. For example, if your business’ name is “Shelly’s Coffeehouse,” you might check to see if “www.shellyscoffeehouse.au” is reserved by any other business. If it is, you may have to settle for “www.shellyscoffee.au” or some other variant. You can check the availability of your desired domain name and get it registered on sites like GoDaddy and Network Solutions, or you can allow us to do this for you.
Second Step: Ensuring DNS hosting.
While a domain name may be easy for your human customers to remember, for computers, it’s all about the numbers. In reality, your domain name is just an alias for your site's IP address —a series of numbers (such as “126.96.36.199” for BuzzAGeek’s site) which allow your computer to find the host server for your website. (More on host servers in the next step.) Consider the IP the street address of your online address, while the domain name is the addressee.
A DNS or nameserver is a server that keeps track of which domain name (“refinery.buzzageek.com.au”) is paired with which IP (“188.8.131.52”) so that your computer will know which website you want to visit and where to find that website’s information. Many domain name registration services nowadays will also provide DNS hosting to cut out a middle step.
Third Step: Hosting your website.
Just like your small business may have a network that allows computers in your office to share files back and forth, the internet is itself a large network of interconnected computers. Some of these computers hold the raw files—HTML files, photos, CSS spreadsheets, and other documents—that make up every page of your website. These computers are called hosting servers.
When you pay a company to host your website, you are paying for them to host these files which make up your website on their computer instead of yours—partially because website files can take up a large amount of memory! This server, like all computers connected to the internet, has a special identifying code which allows other computers to locate it and view its files: that’s right, an IP address!
Fourth Step: Visiting your website!
Once you’ve registered a domain name, secured DNS hosting, and hired a hosting service to keep your website files on their server, your customers are free to visit your website. Now when a customer types “shellyscoffeehouse.au” into their web browser, the registrar knows it’s your website. The DNS host then tells the customer’s computer that the web files for “shellyscoffeehouse.au” are located at the IP address for your host server. The computer then goes to the host server’s IP and accesses the correct files, which brings your website up on the customer’s computer!
If you have any further questions about website hosting, feel free to contact us. Our Geeks are happy to help and answer any questions you might have!