Deploying your Website on the Internet

webdev

In the previous chapter, we showed you how you can set up your blog using WordPress. But it was set up in the local system. Our main intention is to put it online where it is publicly accessible. Today, we’ll see how to deploy your website on a hosted server and put it online. This tutorial will guide you through the steps needed to deploy and run your website on the Internet.

Page Contents

Domain name

The very first step for launching a website online is to get a suitable name for it. The domain name (e.g. www.google.com) is the name by which people can refer to your website on the Internet. There are many domain name providers who let you choose a suitable name. Some domains are also available free of cost, but we do not recommend you to go for a free domain since you have no authority over such domains. These domains could be deleted without your prior consent or knowledge.

A few points to consider when selecting a Domain Name

1. Make it short and catchy. It will be easier for visitors to remember the website if the name is short and catchy at the same time.

2. It should be relevant to your website and its contents. Try a give a name that clearly says what your website is about.

3. If a desired name is not available, try to be creative and look for other relevant names.

4. Try to get a unique domain name which is uncommon and isn’t similar to other popular domain names. A unique name stands out from the rest and is easy to locate.

Choosing your Domain (TLD)

The Top Level Domain (TLD) determines the type of website you want to run. This depends on what you want to do with your website. There are many TLDs available and each one has its own meaning. Given below are some commonly used generic TLDs.

.com: This domain stands for “Company” or “Commercial”. It is the most common type of website used for commercial websites.

.org: This domain stands for “Organization”. This is suitable if your website represents some Organization.

.biz: This domain is best for business oriented sites.

See the entire list of available TLDs

Domain Registrar

A domain name registrar is an organization or company which keeps track of registered domain names. These organizations maintain data that determine who own which domain. Once you buy a new domain, the Registrar automatically enters your domain into a global database.

GoDaddy, Dotster, The Network Solution some of the companies where you can buy and register your new domain. We do not specifically recommend any company in particular. You may choose any one, or even go with some other provider. Paid domain names will cost about $6.00 per year.

Hosting Service

The next step is to find a hosting service on which to deploy and launch your website. You will find several companies offering various web hosting plans. Choose one that is most suitable for you. Make sure you pick a hosting service that supports all the technology that you plan to use in your website. For a WordPress blog, for example, choose a host that supports PHP and MySQL.

Types of Hosting Services

There are various types of hosting services available. A few basic types are listed below.

Shared Hosting: In a shared hosting service, a single server hosts multiple websites simultaneously. Each website resides on a different location of the hard drive and hence is separated from the other websites. However, the server’s resources are shared among all the hosted sites and your site’s performance often depends on them. As starters, we would recommend you to opt for this type of hosting because it is generally the most economical option available. You can get a shared hosting server for around $4.00 per month.

Dedicated Hosting: A dedicated hosting service provides dedicated resources (server, hardware, OS, etc.) to its clients without sharing them with anyone else. This gives a lot of flexibility to setup your website the way you want. But it also requires a lot of skill and experience as you need to configure everything by yourself.

Virtual Private Server (VPS): A VPS can technically be considered as a hybrid between dedicated hosts and shared hosts. Like a shared hosting server, a VPS also runs multiple websites in the same server but here each site runs inside a separate virtual machine with dedicated resources. The virtual machines run in their own allotted space. The performance of a particular website, thus, will be independent of all other websites sharing the same server.

Web Hosting Control Panel

Your hosting service provider will also give you access to a Control Panel which lets you manage your website from one place using a graphical user interface. CPanel is a popular control panel provided by most UNIX/Linux based hosting services. Some hosting services like GoDaddy have their own web hosting control panels. Common services found on a typical web hosting control panel include.

– Access to server logs.

– Bandwidth and Space usage details.

– Email account configuration.

– FTP user accounts.

– File Manager.

– Database Management.

GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost, BlueHost and MediaTemple are some popular hosting services.

FTP Access

FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a way to connect to your hosting server and transfer files for deployment. Most hosting services will also include FTP Access along with its Web Hosting Control Panel. You need to create an FTP account first in order to use FTP service. You can then connect to your web host by logging in with your credentials (host name/IP address, port number, username and password) and access or modify your files on the server. Any web document you want to put on your server will be uploaded via FTP. You can use any supported online file manager or an FTP client like FileZilla, for transferring files to and from your server.

Configuring DNS

After you have obtained both the domain name and the hosting service, you need to link your domain to the website which is being hosted on the server. For this, you need to map the files in the server to your domain name and configure your domain’s IP in the DNS. However, if your domain and hosting are both provided by the same company/organization, this configuration is already done for you.

Buying your domain and hosting plan from the same company also gives you some more advantages. For, instance, if you are facing any issues regarding your website, you can call your provider for tech-support.

Setting up WordPress on the Server

You can follow the similar installation process used earlier, to WordPress on the Server. Refer to the official codex page for more detailed instructions on setting up WordPress.

After WordPress setup is complete, you can import a theme by using the Install Themes options on the Appearance >> Themes page. For now, open the website from the browser and view the website. If you want to make changes to it, append “/wp-admin” to your site URL in the address bar and hit Enter. You will now be taken to the Admin Dashboard where you can login to your Dashboard using your WordPress credentials and add, delete or modify your blog posts.

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