Domain NamesWeb DesignWeb Hosting

Three Step To Your Own Website

Over the next few weeks, I hope to publish about 5 articles about getting your own website. This first article summarises the points. The others will go into greater detail about each area introduced in this summary. I hope you will find the information useful.

Creating your own website involves understanding and acquiring three essential components: a domain name, the website itself, and web hosting.
Let’s explore what these are, how to get them and current approximate costs.

Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

1. Domain Name

A domain name is the unique address people use to find your website on the internet.
Examples: ‘example . com’ or ‘yourchurchname . or . ke’
It’s what users type into their web browser’s address bar to reach your site. Think of it as your website’s home address.

– Uniqueness: Each domain name is unique, meaning once it’s registered, no one else can use it for the duration of its registration.
– Extensions: Domain names come with various extensions, such as ‘. com’, ‘. net’, ‘. or. ke’ and many others.
– Registration: To get a domain name, you need to create or ‘register’ it through a domain ‘registrar.’ (e.g., GoDaddy, Namecheap and local web hosting companies).
If you want a . ke address, you will generally need to have it registered through a Kenyan registrar, though I remember seeing a non-Kenyan registrar that offered this.
– Costs: Registration usually involves an annual fee. This fee depends on the extension.
. com currently costs roughly KShs. 2,000/ a year.
. xyz tends to be very low cost. I have just seen an offer of $0.99 (Yes, just under a dollar) for a year.

2. The Website Itself

The second thing you need is the website itself. This consists of the collection of the content, design, and functionality that visitors see and interact with. This includes text, images, videos, and any applications or tools you provide on your site.
This is where things can vary greatly, depending on what you want.

Websites can be static (with fixed content) or dynamic (with interactive elements and databases).

– Design: This is the visual aspect of your site. When creating a website, you can use website builders like WordPress, Wix, or hire web developers to design and develop a custom site tailored to your needs.

– Content: This includes all the information you want to present to your visitors, such as articles, product descriptions, contact information, and more.
– Functionality: This answers the question of “What do you want your visitors to do on your website?” It includes all interactive elements on your site, such as forms, shopping carts, and user accounts.

– Costs: Again, this varies greatly depending on what you want the site to do, if you are using a web design tool, if you are hiring a developer, the individual developer, etc. But I will be brave and say if you want a basic website where only you (the owner) update information and your visitors simply read it, then charges can start from as low as KShs. 5,000/- This is basically a one-time fee.

3. Web Hosting

Web hosting is the service that stores your website’s files and makes them accessible to users on the internet. Think of it as renting space on a server where your website’s data is stored. When someone types your domain name into their browser, their computer connects to the web server where your website is hosted, allowing them to view your site.

– Functionality: Choose a reliable web hosting provider that can support your website’s functionality and traffic and that provides adequate storage and bandwidth.
Web hosting providers offer different types of hosting such as shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. Each type offers different levels of performance, control, and cost.
– Reliability and Speed: A good web host ensures your website loads quickly and remains accessible with minimal downtime.
– Support: Many hosting providers offer technical support to help you manage your site and resolve any issues that arise.
On this point, international providers tend to offer 24/7 support (with varying response times) while local ones tend to offer support during regular local working hours.

– Email: Web hosts usually come with provision for email addresses [at] yourdomainname. I was surprised to come across one host that charges for this separately.
– Costs: Again, this varies. International hosts charge from about US$ 5 to $10 per month, mostly paid annually.
Local hosts charge from about KShs. 3,000 per year/ There is even one that charges KShs 800/- a year.

Putting It All Together

In conclusion, to create a functioning website, you need to choose and register a domain name to identify your site, then develop the website itself to show your content and provide functionality, and finally get web hosting to store your website’s files and make your site accessible to visitors.
By understanding these three essential components, you can effectively launch and maintain your own website.