A Step By Step Guide with Coupon Codes to Purchase a Domain Name and Hosting.
One of the first things you will need to do when you start building websites is to get yourself set up with a domain and website hosting. In this article I will walk you through how you can do that specifically on GoDaddy. The company has a bit of a checkered past in terms of their marketing and PR and pushes hard on trying to up-sell you products and services you don’t really need, but they are the world’s largest domain registrar and have an excellent track record for uptime. I personally have used them for years and have had no issues. GoDaddy also runs a lot of promotions that can save you money, this page lists all current coupons and is updated regularly:
First things first, you need a domain for your website! As the world’s largest domain registrar GoDaddy features a giant domain search box on their home page. Remember that your first choice may not be available, so you should have at least 3 variations and options to try. You can try adding hyphens (ie. if ‘www.johnsmith.com’ is unavailable try ‘www.john-smith.com’), or different URL extensions. You don’t have to use your name either for your portfolio, you could come up with a company name if you like (ie. ‘www.johnsmithwebdesign.com’ or ‘www.websmith.com’).
Just Stick to 1 Domain Name At First.
Once you have found a domain that you like GoDaddy will try to up-sell you on purchasing the same domain but with different file extensions such as .net and .org. The idea being that this would prevent ‘web squatters’ from tricking people who typed in the domain slightly wrong into visiting their site instead. This really isn’t a concern unless you are a huge company that will be receiving a huge amount of traffic, as a freelance developer for small businesses it’s unlikely that you would catch the eye of any squatters. So just select the domain you want and then scroll down to the ‘Continue to Cart’ button.
The next question that will come up is whether you want to purchase a private registration or not. Again this is up to you, but certainly not necessary. With a normal registration, anybody who types your domain into the WHOIS lookup will be able to see the contact information that you specify for the domain registration, including email and the address entered. You can set up something like a PO box and specific email address for your domain registrations rather than using your personal ones, or you can pay for the private registration if you are uncomfortable with having that information out there.
Tip: Skip the Add-ons.
Scrolling down a bit to Step 2 they will ask if you would like to add a website builder + hosting, or just hosting. Definitely don’t bother with their website builder and select the hosting only option, we will be installing WordPress which is much more powerful and flexible than their WebsiteTonight tool. To start their ‘Deluxe’ hosting package should be sufficient, that will allow you to set up 25 WordPress installs. Later you can upgrade to the Ultimate package or VPS as your needs require. The Deluxe package comes with 500 email addresses included, so don’t bother purchasing any email at Step 3. At this point you can ‘Continue to Cart’.
Domain Registration is How Much?
If you are initially alarmed at the price, don’t worry. GoDaddy automatically sets your domain registration length at 5 years, you can change that to 1 year and they will renew and bill you annually unless you specifically request that the domain be allowed to expire. Your hosting will have been set to purchase 1 years worth, you can change that 1 month, similarly it will automatically renew/bill unless you request a cancellation. You do get a bit of a discount for purchasing multiple years/months of hosting at a time, so if you have the capital and would like to save some money long term it’s not a bad idea. Ignore the ‘Recommended for you’ box at the bottom of your cart and click on ‘Proceed to Checkout’, none of their extra services are necessary for your business.
You will need to set yourself up with a GoDaddy account to complete your purchase, so click on the ‘Continue’ button under New Customers. Fill in your info and click ‘Continue’ when you are finished. On the billing page you will be able to enter any coupons and receive your discount. There are usually some great deals for new customers especially, so definitely check that page out. For example as of the time of writing this article there is a coupon for 50% off of hosting here.
Once you are all checked out you can set up your hosting and get to installing WordPress. It’s a bit tricky to explain without visually showing you, so this video does an excellent job of explaining the whole process from registering the domain to setting up hosting, to installing WordPress with GoDaddy’s 1-click install tool which is very helpful. Since we’ve already gone over how to purchase your domain and hosting, the explanation of how to set up your hosting starts at 7:15 in the video.
Then you are ready to start adding your content! Check this article for some tips on what you might want to include on your portfolio website.