If this is your first experience building any sort of website, this will be a bit of a learning curve, but it's very simple once you get into it, so that's what we'll do... just before we do that...
A Quick Word On Web Hosting Companies
Hosting and related services are a very competitive industry, and you will see a lot of amazing deals.
Just keep in mind most of these are resellers... people buying 'space' with a major hosting company and then reselling it to their own customers... so they are all paying the same base price for the product, adding their margin and selling it on to you...
So if they offer you an amazing price up front, it's a loss-leader to get you in.
You can be sure they will be planning to recover that loss later on... usually with higher-than-average renewals. This is particularly common with Domain Name registrations... if you're offered anything under $10, check the fine print to see how much you'll pay next year. It might be a bit of a shock!
So we recommend the company below, Bluehost. They are one of the major hosting providers, and more often than not, this is the service the other guys will be reselling on to you.So long term, you will do much better if you deal directly with them.
For my money, they offer excellent value, a good range of features, good speeds, service is great and they even include a free domain with your hosting package. Shop around if you like but I doubt you'll find a complete package that compares to Bluehost.
You could register a domain and set up hosting with different companies and then connect them, but we want to keep this super-simple, so the guide below uses the one company for both...
These days you have a lot of options for domain types... .com, .info, .biz etc.... It really doesn't matter too much which one you pick, as long as it works with your brand name.
Some of the newer and more exotic options are quite expensive so be careful not to pick one that's going to cost you more to renew next year.
The main focus should be your brand … so write out a few different combinations of keywords and you brand until you find something that works for you.
It should also be simple though... as short as possible, easy to remember and nothing tricky in there that your customers might get wrong typing it in.
Be prepared to try some different combinations... and some different suffixes... until you find one you like that is available.
You can do that below then come back here before you start the next step...
Once you've found a domain above you'll be prompted to set up your Hosting Account with BlueHost.
We set this up so the link above will send you to the entry level hosting option... which is the cheapest and but still offers everything you need single small website.
You can get started on that package with total confidence, and if your needs change you can easily upgrade your package later on. For now, enter your contact details, choose your preferred payment term (longer prepayment = cheaper monthly rate!) and then enter your payment details.
Once you submit, BlueHost will set up your hosting and email you your account details. Once they arrive you can continue below...
3. CPanel Settings
CPanel is a standard hosting account Administration Dashboard used by most hosting providers. There's a lot there but you really won't need to do much with it at all.
Check your account info for the login URL ( usually your http://YourDomain/cpanel ) and your login credentials.
Once logged in, the first thing is to set up an Email Forwarder... Find that icon and click it, enter a 'username' such as your first name and an address to forward all mail to... ie your usual email address. Save that and all mail to email@example.com will now be redirected to your main email account. You can use this throughout your website.
If you need WordPress, you'll find an installer for that further down the page... just look for the logo, click on that and follow the prompts to choose a location, ie top level if it is your website, or you can install it in a new directory if you have other files to host on your site.
For any of our download packages, you should make WordPress the main website by installing it in
the top level directory, then create a sub-directory for each additional product you want to host.
4. Install & Configure FTP Software (Optional)
If you need to upload files directly to your Hosting account, you can attempt to do it with the FileManager inside your CPanel, but it's generally quite slow and doesn't handle large files all that well.
So the better option is to install FTP software on your computer.
FileZilla is a good free FTP Client for both PC and Macs. You can get the appropriate download here. Just install that and then refer to your Hosting Account Information for your FTP login details... usually it will include the following...
Host (or Hostname or Account)
Usually an IP address or possibly your domain with ftp. added to the front.
Ie 123.234.345.54 or ftp.photographersplace.com
Username and Password... as supplied
Port: Usually 21, but check your account info.
Once you enter those and connect (save the connection) you'll be logged into the top level
of your account... shown in the right hand side of FileZilla.
Look for the Public HTML folder... open that by double clicking... it should be empty but
might have a couple of default files you can ignore.
In the left hand panel of Filezilla, you navigate through your computer to locate the files
you need to upload.
Simply drag those to the right hand panel and they'll be uploaded to your hosting account.
That's all you really need to do or know to Register a Domain and set up your first Hosting
Again, for a personal website, we really do recommend you use WordPress as the easiest option... easy to set up and easy to manage.
When it comes time to set up the various reseller packages, FileZilla is a good option and after a few uploads
you'll be an expert.
You should also have a good look through your CPanel at some stage... you have a lot of options and features there that might be useful or give you some ideas on how you might add to your website...
For now though, focus on getting your first website package installed and configured... and making you money... before you get sidetracked!