Block #1: Virtual Real Estate
Just as you need land for a real house, you need some virtual real estate for your website. Before you can start building, you need two things: a domain name and hosting. That’s the first WordPress Building Block.
What’s a Domain Name?
The domain is like your street address on the World Wide Web. When someone asks where you live, you tell them, “I’m at 123 High Street,” or “900 Second Ave.”
Your website’s address is the domain name. For this site it’s wpbuildingblocks.com. The biggest search engine’s address is google.com.
Your web address, also known as a URL (uniform resource locator), doesn’t have to end in .com. It can be .net, .org, .info or .mobi. Or it can include a country code like .us or .pa. If you’re curious, you can see a complete list of these endings (also called top-level domains) here.
Before you can use a domain name, you need to register it. There are lots of approved registrars who can do that for you. I like to use a company called Namecheap. Their service is good, and their prices are reasonable. They frequently run specials or offer coupon codes — I’ll post those when they’re available.
The Basics of Website Hosting
Once you have your domain, you need somewhere to put your website.
Your web hosting service provides the computer servers and other necessary equipment so that internet traffic can reach your site using your domain name address. Think of it like your own computer — before you can use a program, you need to install it.
You’ll install or upload your website to your host, and they’ll make it available to the online world.
Most hosts will also provide email for your domain. If you’re in business, you probably don’t want a gmail, hotmail or other free personal email service, you want Me@MyCompany.com. Many hosts will handle that for you.
There are lots of excellent hosts, and lots of terrible hosts. Choosing the right company can be a challenge. I provide links to several that you can look at. Some of them are affiliate links, which means if you purchase hosting from the link, I receive a small commission.
- For shared hosting: Siteground. (Here’s my review of Siteground.)
- For managed WordPress hosting: WPEngine or Rocket (where this site is currently hosted).
What’s the Next Building Block?
Once you’ve registered your domain name and purchased a hosting plan, you’re ready for Building Block #2: WordPress.