Building a Website
All websites begin with three basic elements: a domain name, hosting, and a platform.
Your address on the web. It's the part that comes between "http://www." and
Where all the data and information about your site is kept. If the domain is your street
address, hosting is your house.
The tools with which you make your website and the space in which it's created.
Every website needs a domain
name. Your domain is like the street address for your house. It will allow people to find your
website and link to you.
But what should your domain name be? If you have a business, that should be an easy question to
answer, since your
website should match your business name. If you're creating a personal site or blog, though, you
can get a little more creative with your name.
I already have a domain name. I want to learn about hosting →
How to Choose a Domain Name
A domain name will look something like http://www.yoursite.com. It's common to use your
organization or business name here. For example, if you own a bookstore, you might choose
The same format would work for pretty much any other business name.
If you don't already have a business name, it's good idea to choose one based on what might be
available as a domain. This is a great opportunity to match up your business and online identities from
Curious to see if your ideal domain is available? Go ahead and type it in here:
For more help on choosing a domain name, check out our articles on Why Your Domain Name is Your
Business and the Right and Wrong
Ways to Register your Domain.
Now that your site has a name, you'll need a place to keep all the stuff that's going to go on
it–some "real estate" upon which you can build that beautiful virtual house with all of your photos
and stories and products. We call that real estate web hosting.
All web hosting happens on a server, which, in the simplest terms, is a remote hard drive connected to your computer by (you guessed it) the Internet. This
server stores all of the documents, images, data, and files associated with your website.
Since the server holds all your important stuff, it's important to choose a reliable provider that
ensures your content will stay live and protected. When you bought your domain name, the registrar
(the company that sells domains) may have offered to include a web builder plan which included
hosting. Alternately, you can install software, such as WordPress, to help you create your site.
Site Builders and WordPress
If you're building your first website, you may not have the time or expertise to create it
completely from scratch. That's okay—we all need a little guidance and inspiration to help us along.
That's where site building platforms come in. They provide the practical tools and resources used to
build and design your site, from layout templates to text editors to design elements. This is a great
option if you have limited or no experience with web building and design, or if you just want a
quick, no-nonsense setup process.
However, if you want more control over the customization, functionality, and personalization of your
site, and you've got a little more technical know-how (or even just the time and desire to learn!),
we recommend installing WordPress. An entire ecosystem, complete with plugins and add-ons, WordPress
offers an all-in-one site creation option. Learn more about why WordPress is a great option and how to get started.