You need a website. You’re thinking of getting your own website. You’re not sure how to get a website. No matter where you stand in this issue, I’m here to help you out. Creating a website is dead easy. Don’t believe me? I walk you through the steps of getting a website, showing you how to build a strong foundation for your website. Be it a blog or a webshop, every website starts with hosting. And you are at the right place to learn all about it.
A small but important note
I placed some affiliate links in the article. If you would like to support Project Muslimah, you can buy a domain/hosting by clicking on any of the links (and signing up through those links). We get a small fee for anyone who signs up, you don’t pay anything extra. So, it’s a win-win situation. Because it helps us put aside time for Project Muslimah, and give a lot of information away for free! We’d appreciate it! Jazakallaahu khayr.
The Definite Guide to Hosting:
From picking a business name to installing a WordPress blog
Do you have a business you want to take to another level?
Or finally start the blog you’ve always wanted?
Websites are popping up like mushrooms, but people rarely share how they did it.
Who did they go through? How did they create a site or web shop like that? Which resources did they use?
More importantly, where do YOU need to start?
You want to expose your ideas and products to the world. But, the process of getting a website online can stop you dead in your tracks.
But, this is not the time to self-sabotage or feel like a failure. You can have a site up within the next 30 minutes. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it’s not too technical either. There are only a few steps involved and you can then be the proud owner of a website.
Take the first step. For yourself, your business and for others, waiting to explore your ideas.
Why you should get your own domain
Most of us don’t own a website. It’s something that seems nice to have, but very few people take the leap. Why?
One of the main reasons is because they either lack the know-how or they feel insecure. Their ideas feel insignificant. Never good enough or not polished enough.
If you don’t feel ready to own a website, that’s okay. You can bookmark this hosting tutorial for later.
But, a website can give you and your passion the initial push it needs to grow.
Here’s how it works.
No time to read the entire article and tutorial? Do you want to jump right in and explore the world of web hosting, all by yourself? You can!
You can increase your credibility and trustworthiness by having your own website. It comes off professional, and it shows people that you value your own ideas, projects or skills.
You stand out from the crowd when you have your own website, it’s like taking your work or passion to the next level.
Do you struggle with valuing your ideas? When you buy a domain (host a website) it can motivate you. A reminder to take yourself seriously. And to carve your ideas in stone, rather than writing them in sand.
Sure, your ideas may not be perfect, but they don’t have to be. You cannot give birth to a business that is perfect from the get-go.
When you only focus on your end goals, and not on the process, you can feel unnecessary pressure. Things will never feel finished or perfect.
But big established businesses tweak their products, services and strategies all the time. So why shouldn’t you? You can always improve, tweak, edit or omit later down the road.
Take the first step. Value yourself, your (Islamically appropriate) skills, passion and all your other marvellous ideas.
By realising the benefits attached to having your own site and simply going for it. The investment is small, and the setup process is easy.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your project or business, let’s get to it.
How to pick a great domain name for your halal business
Now that you know why having your own domain is a great idea, you’ll have to keep a few things in mind first:
A domain name, once purchased, will be valid for a year or two. In other words, you cannot change it after you have purchased it. You can always buy another one of course, but it’s better to make sure that you pick a name you are happy with.
Picking a name for your halal business is not always easy. Names are either unoriginal or taken already. So how do you come up with a great name?
Here’s a short checklist to come up with the right name:
Make sure that your domain name is not difficult to pronounce or remember.
You don’t need to cram every keyword into your domain name. Some sites don’t give away what they are about in their name, but are able to build a brand around their name.
A memorable domain doesn’t have to be bland. Go for something unusual and fun!
Be patient. Sometimes you won’t find a suitable name straight away. Do extensive research. Look at the brands and business you like and analyse what elements attract you most.
Think about your ideal audience: what would resonate with them? What is the message you want to give, and what are your goals?
Don’t stress and don’t overcomplicate it. You can rebrand any time, if you think of a better name later down the road.
There are different ways you can buy a domain, and the prices vary. In this tutorial, I walk you through 2 ways, which I both use:
Purchasing a domain name with the same hosting company of your choice
Purchasing a domain name from a different registrar (and hosting it elsewhere)
The first method is the most convenient but sometimes there is a catch. When you buy your domain, you want to be the owner of the site, right? Well, in some cases you’re not. That’s why it’s important to read terms & conditions of a hosting company. And to look at reviews to make sure the company is credible.
Now, when you buy a domain, there’s an organisation that checks domain registrars. They also check the validity of your domain and your details. The organisation is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) . They send you an email to confirm your details, when you’ve bought your domain the right way.
But, ICANN doesn’t check hosting companies. Some hosting providers let you buy a domain name through them, but register it under their name, NOT yours! You don’t want to spend months building your business, only to find out you don’t even own your site!
In the case you want to switch hosting providers, they may not want to transfer your domain. You could lose your domain and all your work, stats etc. in the process.
Method one does work but you have to make sure there are no pitfalls.
Getting a domain with a different registrar
Keeping your hosting account and domains separate is a common recommended practise. It means that you buy a domain from a domain registrar (such as Godaddy) and host it elsewhere. (Such as hosting company Siteground).
Why do people recommend this? There are a few reasons:
Keep everything organised. All your domains are in one place.
Protect your domains from hackers. So that hackers wouldn’t have access to your domains as well as hosting account. Hackers can still try to hack you or any of your accounts, so it won’t protect 100%.
Prevent losing your domains. In case a hosting company turns out to be unreliable, fishy, dodgy and you want to get away ASAP.
Both methods are useful and have their pros and cons. Before you make a decision, make sure to read trusted reviews, ask around, read T&C’s to avoid nasty surprises. You also don’t want to go for the cheapest hosting options. You’re making an investment and laying the foundation for your business.
The only web hosting company I trust all my sites to
I have been hosting websites for quite a few years, for clients as well as my own personal projects. I’ve dealt with pesky domain transfers, daunting website backups and technical hiccups.
I have used several hosting companies, and by far, the one I am most pleased with isSiteground.
Many of you know WordPress. You may even have a WordPress blog or plan to use WordPress.org for your business. WordPress even highlightedSiteground, as one of the best hosting companies out there. So you know you’re in good hands!
Having your own website doesn’t come without problems. We can feel stuck, enter wrong information, mess a site up and need dire help from an actual human being. Someone who listens and understands. Instead of a static FAQ page with answers that are irrelevant, unhelpful.
Siteground Unequalled Customer Service
Whenever you need help, you can reach the Siteground customer support in a few different ways. You can call them. You can open a ticket. Speaking from experience, they usually respond within 10 minutes. But, there’s also a live chat option which I love the most.
It spoils people a little. The Siteground support team consists of knowledgeable people who help out instantly. Their answers are helpful or they try to look for a solution together. Fun fact: they even pick the best ‘Customer Service Representative’ each month. These guys take customer support to a complete different level!
People often have to wait hours or days (or sometimes even longer!) before resolving an issue with their site/hosting company. Sending messages back and forth without a clear solution or not knowing what to do next. Let’s be frank. It’s still quick if you get an answer within that time frame. Alhamdulillah for technology! But it’s not always that convenient. Especially if you allocate some time in your busy schedule to work on your project. You cannot waste most of your time waiting for others to get back to you.
With Siteground, I know I’m talking to another human being who understands the issues at hand. You can even give it a go yourself. If you have pre-sale enquiries for example, you can find the Siteground live chat button on top of the page.
There are many other features I could praise, but it gets too technical and detailed, too quick. Here’s a concise overview of some of their features and achievements:
1-click WordPress installer (steps below)
One free website transfer/migration
WordPress auto-updates (optional)
Instant chat and phone support, 24/7
Free SSL certificate
Rated 4.98/5 based on 800+ customer reviews
Easy to use interface and Cpanel
Check out there uptime rate, WordPress compatibility and security measures (Sucuri) here instead. I would recommend you to have a look at it, and see if it’s something for you.
Side note. Siteground makes use of Tucows for domain registrations. Tucows is a domain registrar, making you the only owner of any domains you buy through Siteground.
Now onto the tutorial! This is the easiest part! You can almost do it with your eyes blindfolded. Almost.
As mentioned before, there are 2 ways you can buy a domain.
The first method is to buy a domain name via Siteground directly. It’s quick and there’s no hassle involved. An overview of the steps:
Research and pick your desired package on Siteground
Buy a domain name through Siteground. You pay for an entire year, so no hassle with recurring payments.
Finish your website setup and install WordPress. You can also connect your domain name to Shopify, for example.
Picking your desired package on Siteground
There are a few packages you can choose from: Startup, GrowBig and GoGeek. Remember: you can always upgrade or downgrade your package, so no need to complicate this step.
If you only need one site for now, I would recommend getting the StartUp package. It’s good for small blogs and web shops that are just starting out.
The GrowBig package allows you to create multiple websites with ease. These are all included in your annual hosting fee. You only have to pay for extra domain names. They make free backups of your site, too (please note, it has a limited).
If your site or webshop gets a lot of visitors, the GoGeek package would suit you. It gives you more space and speed.
Cloud Hosting: Your Own Cloud Server
If you are serious about hosting, you can get your own Cloud server (£40+ per month or so), instead of a shared server. The packages above make use of shared servers. The Cloud package gives you a lot of web space and more security. But, it can be costly (and unnecessary) for people who are just starting out.
There are only three steps, here are the screenshots:
Please note, the checkout process can sometimes look slightly different. The short explanations below apply to both, as the steps are still the same.
Get a New Hosting Account
Select this if you haven’t purchased hosting with Siteground before.
Upgrade an existing account to a higher hosting plan
Select this if you have an account already and wish to upgrade.
Register a New Domain:
This is where you choose your domain name. You can choose from all kinds of TLDs; this it the last part of your domain url, that follows after the “dot”. So .com, .org, .co.uk, .nl etc. If the domain is already registered, Siteground notifies you. You can also check the availability of a domain name through other sites like Godaddy.
I already have a Domain:
If you have purchased a domain elsewhere already and want to transfer it, this is where you enter the domain url. Siteground offers a website migration service, for free if you haven’t used it before. You can contact them through their live chat (top of the page) and they will assist you.
Account Information:The login details you want to use for Siteground. Make sure it’s an email address that you can access.
This is information that anyone can see, by default, using WHOIS. If you don’t want your details to appear, you can add domain privacy to your account (annual fee).
Extra Services: You can check SG site scanner, if this is something you would like to have. It’s not a must to get started, and there are other safety measures you can take too (once your site is up).
How to buy your domain directly via a Domain Registrar (Godaddy)
When you buy a domain via a different domain registrar, the process is a bit more advanced. It could save you money though, as domain registrars like Godaddy often have offers.
In fact, I came across a£0.99 domain name offer from Godaddy, valid until July 2017. (Only valid for 1 single domain, not multiple, as far as I’m aware). (UPDATE: This offer is expired, I will update the link with a different offer, when available).
How advanced does this method get? Well, it’s not that hard.
Settle on a name for your business and domain
Buy it via Godaddy (create an account, follow the steps)
Log into your Siteground hosting account and add your new domain via Cpanel
Log into your GoDaddy account (example) and head over to DNS settings
Point the DNS settings of your GoDaddy url to Siteground Nameservers
Finish your website setup and then install a platform such as WordPress, Joomla, etc.
Pros of this method:
You can keep your domains separated from your hosting, if you prefer this. Think of security reasons and keeping things organised.
You can save some money by using offers on domains.
Slight hassle to set up, compared to buying one from Siteground May have to wait a day for the nameservers to change SSL is not included by default, so you get what you pay for. Siteground gives SSL wildcard with some packages. (More info on SSL, for those interested).
The purchase process is easy as pie. Just add the domain name you want to your basket and proceed to check out. (I’ll add a gif here later if needed) If you use the offer above, you can get your domain for £0.99 cents (plus 0.11 cent ICANN fee). You can also choose to add domain privacy here, for only £3.99,- for an entire year. This is to keep your name, address, email and phone number hidden in WHOIS search results.
I make use of both methods, so I sometimes buy sites via Siteground, and sometimes via Godaddy. There are a few more reasons why I make use of both, but those are more related to client work. (I’m thinking of creating a small course on the different ways you can make money online with hosting. If you’re interested, let me know! Alternatively, you can sign up to my email list. You can be the first to know about any upcoming courses)
Transferring your site to Siteground
Bought your domain? When you buy your domain through Godaddy (or elsewhere) you can easily access them. Hop over to your ‘domain manager’ page to see a complete overview. (Click: “Manage my domains”)
This is where you will see the nameservers of your domain. Currently, these point to Godaddy’s servers. But in order to host your site with Siteground, you need to change the servers. Either click on the nameservers (in the overview), or click on ‘DNS’ in the menu, and ‘Manage DNS zones’.
How to get the right nameservers
Log into your Siteground account. Click on ‘My Account’ and there you’ll find Siteground’s nameserver addresses. Replace the Godaddy servers for your chosen domain, and then voila! Save the details, you’re almost done. If you cannot find the nameservers, you can always fire up the livechat, and they’ll help you out for sure.
DNS changes can take some time. So you may have to wait a little, before it has changed. It usually doesn’t take longer than 24 hours.
The difference between a domain transfer and website transfer
Now, one thing to know first. There’s a difference between a domain transfer and a website transfer.
Imagine this. You already have a site up and running and you want to switch to a different hosting company. Then you need a website transfer. All your files (stored on one server) move to another server.
A domain transfer, however, is when you move and “erase” your domain from your hosting company. You won’t access it from that hosting account any longer. But only from the one you’ve transferred your domain to.
So, what does ‘add a new domain’ mean? You are basically creating a folder on Siteground’s servers. You store your files here, and your website goes live. Your domain details (server settings, domain privacy etc.) are still with Godaddy.
Addon Domains: How to add a domain to Siteground
In your Siteground Dashboard, go to My Accounts > Cpanel > Addon Domain
Insert your domain name there. FTP and Document Root can remain untouched for now. Choose a strong password, as this will be used for FTP. (Again, I may make a course later to delve into hosting a bit deeper, for those interested). Click on ‘Add domain’ and you’re done! Simple, eh?
There’s not much to it, to be frank. These are the first steps for your site, you can now do anything with it. As a bonus, I briefly share below how you can install WordPress via Siteground, so you can jump right into it.
You can outsource all these steps of course, but the prices people ask for this vary. If you just want to start and keep your investment at a minimum (for your blog or business) I hope these steps help.
BONUS: Installing WordPress.org via Siteground
I’ll share more in-depth information about WordPress some other time. I can almost hear a sigh of relief on your side! : )
All you need to know for now: WordPress.org differs from WordPress.com. It has packed with more features and used by 70+ million sites, from businesses and webshops to nonprofit sites. WordPress.org is a CMS (content management system) you install on your domain’s server. It’s easier than it sounds, trust me!
WordPress.com does allow people to use a custom domain for a small fee. This seems ideal, but it is a stripped down version compared to WordPress.org. Many useful features are unavailable (for security reasons). For now, I share how to install WordPress onto your fresh domain name. For other WordPress news and info, sign up for the email list below.
In your Siteground Dashboard, go to My Accounts > Cpanel > WordPress (‘Autoinstaller’)
Here is a quick gif, showing the options you’ll see (click on the blue ‘install’ button if you cannot see the steps).
A few notes, before I wrap it up:
Leave the directory empty (unless you want a separate/second installation of WordPress. *advanced stuff)
Site name and description can be changed later in your WordPress settings. You cannot change your url, just the name and description that appears in your header.
Admin username: Go for something other than ‘admin’, something more descriptive. When you usethe default ‘Admin’, it makes it easier for hackers to get into your site.
Password: Choose a strong password. You can use Lastpass to generate and save your passwords.
You don’t need to install the Loginizer plugin or a theme during setup. Plugins and themes can be added later, after installing.
Advanced settings can be left untouched.
Proceed and don’t refresh your page until it has finished the setup. After this, you can login to your fresh, new domain.
That’s it! I hope this tutorial demystifies the entire hosting process. Especially for those of you who have always wanted their own nice-looking site. Be it a blog or webshop. It’s where you start; it’s the next crucial step you can take for your business and projects.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop them below or let me know in the Facebook group!