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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Starters’ Guide To Domain Names and Web Hosting

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  • Abubakar Muhadi

A basic understanding of how a website works is very important, and this piece will be taking us through the meaning of a domain name, how a website is hosted and how to keep your site secured. 

What is a domain name?

A domain name is like a location identity you are giving your business on the internet, the world wide web (www) so that users and visitors can locate you. This is an address that people type in the browser address bar to visit your website, to check what they want.

Computers are known to use IP addresses, which are a series of number like 292.168.15.81 and because remembering string of numbers may be difficult for human beings, domain names were developed in human-readable form to access the internet.

A domain name (freeweb4sdgs.com) can be in form of any sets of letters, usually formed from the name of the business going online and are used in combination with various domain name extensions like .com, .net, .org.ng (Nigeria), .co.ke (Kenya), .africa, .edu.ng (Educational Institution) and many others.

It should however be noted that domain names are unique identifiers and so it is peculiar to the business that registers it.

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Web  Hosting

When you pay for hosting services, it’s like renting a space on the internet server where you will store files, images, videos and codes that relate to your website. So with the hosting plan you have paid for, an Hosting Service Provider will make provision for a place on one of their web servers to store all your information. The responsibility of their server is therefore to serve the files, images, videos and codes in a visual form when requests are made on a browser (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Apple Safari, etc.) on any part of your website by typing in your domain name url (universal resource locator) like freeweb4sdgs.com.

In choosing a Web Hosting Provider, it is always good to compare the services being offered by several hosting providers, and the following must be in the front burners:

  • Capability to host your website whether it is an eCommerce site, a blog, a portfolio, etc.
  • The storage space available for your website files.
  • The bandwidth (limited or unmetered) to be offered for easy and quick access by your visitors.
  • The type of available email addresses (Professional or cPanel) .
  • Provision for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate.
  • The uptime, the amount of time that a server has stayed up and running must be taken into cognisance.

There are different types of web hostings:

Shared Hosting – This is the most common and allows many online businesses to share the same space on a web server. That makes if affordable, easy to use, and the hosting company will be responsible for the maintenance.

Dedicated Hosting – This allows you to have a whole server all by yourself, and this makes customisation flexible, with unlimited resources and you will be in full control. It is usually expensive.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting – includes all the features of a dedicated server, and offers better functionality, one-click features for frameworks and easy navigation.

Cloud Hosting – This is often said to be the most reliable of all of the available hosting services. They rely on several resources instead of a disk space of a single server, scalable and you need not worry about outage due to server failure.

SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates when installed on a web server, activates the https (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol to allow for secure connections from a web server to a browser. It will place a padlock (secure) key image on the left-hand side of the browser address bar and is used to safeguard logins, payment card transactions and data transfer on the internet.

SSL certificate is becoming a norm and very soon it would come standard with every hosted website. There are premium SSL certificates that can be paid for but many cPanel web hosts integrate the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate that can be utilized by website owners.

If your webhost does not provide a free SSL certificate and you are not willing to pay for one, you can use zerossl.com to install the free Let’s Encrypt for your website, just that you need to remember to renew it, still for free, every 3 months.

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