How to register a domain name and web hosting

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This is the third part of our post series on how to set up an online art shop using WordPress and Printful/Woocommerce integration. For the full list of topics covered in these series you can head to the Printful Implementation Plan.

You can skip this step if you already have a domain name and hosting and would like to dive straight into installing WordPress and customizing it.

As a form of introduction…

If you came to this page in search of some answers on how to set up an online art shop that will allow you to use Printful then you are on the right path. It’s a lot easier than you think it is and I will lead you through the process one step at a time.

While it might sound daunting at first, starting an online shop is really not that hard and you don’t need to be an IT professional or even be able to do any coding to have your blog up and running in a couple of hours.

While most people start a website with a view to post articles and share ideas, it can be hard to actually put pen onto paper (or fingers on keys) and start wiring that great content that everyone wants to read. As a creative professional you don’t have this issue because you already have all your content ready to go. All you need is a website that would allow your future fans to come, see your paintings and hopefully pick a print or two to keep.

There are, of course, variations of what you may want to put onto your website depending on what want to share with the world. Irrespective of what route you will take, the first that needs to happen is you need to register your domain name and web hosting.

So how to go about it?

Step 1: Pick a hosting provider

We are located in Ireland and in the spirit of supporting local we have used the local hosting provider – Hosting Ireland. Hosting Ireland is an integrated hosting and domain registration services provider so you can buy your domain name and get all your hosting requirements set up in one place. We have been using them since 2010 and have been extremely satisfied with them.

We would expect that most of our readers would be at least budget conscious, so here are the four key reasons why Hosting Ireland is a good place to set up your new website:

  • they are completely reliable
  • they provide the best value for money
  • their hosting packages are optimized for WordPress, which was great news and
  • their customer services have the most patient people on Earth (that one tested many times and at length!)

Step 2: Pick a domain name

Head straight to www.hostingireland.ie and see their front page where you need to first press on “Place an order” button to be directed to the domain selection page :

Hosting Ireland Front Page

This is the fun part – pick a name for your blog! (Also called a domain name)

A domain name is the address your site is going to be located at on the internet. We have two domain names: www.soapsandroses.com and www.soapsandroses.co.uk

The first contains our digital gallery and the second is the business blog you are reading at the moment.

As you can see, the only difference is .com versus .co.uk. These are called “extension” and generally point to a different location of the website in the world and which audience you are aiming for.

When we started our blog we wanted to not only create a name, but create a brand that sounded snappy and a little strange. So we looked around our interests for inspiration and figured that “Soaps and Roses” sounded interesting.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of businesses already registered and some of the popular domain names are gone. Think about what you want to describe your brand. Come up with a few ideas, as they might be taken and do not delay reserving that domain name you really like – the law of the internet is that they are sold on the first come first served basis!

CLICK HERE to head on over to Hosting Ireland and make sure your domain name is available. Type in your ideas under “Search for a domain”. Make sure to specify the extension we have spoken about above. If the address with the extension you are looking for is unavailable, Hosting Ireland will offer you available alternatives or you can pick another name

That’s it! Add the name to cart and press “check out” to move onto selecting your web hosting package.

3. Pick the hosting package

Once you have selected your domain name and added it to cart, go ahead and press “check out”, which will lead you to the following screen:

Hosting Ireland Hosting packages

Here you can pick the hosting plan that would suit you best. The personal package is normally the best starter package, but HostingIreland are running a promotion for their WordPress package and you can get the first 3 months of hosting for just €3.95 a month. As with any offer, its best value if you buy a 12 months subscription in one hit and concentrate on building your business rather than having to re-new your hosting every month. It really is a personal choice, but if you are serious about building up your presence online, this is not at all a big investment.

Click “Add to cart”, and move onto the next screen where you will be offered to pick the domain you would like to link to your hosting plan. In our examples it is the domain name we have just selected a few minutes ago, so go ahead and press the big “Use” button.

Hosting Ireland "Use the domain in my cart" screen

You are going to move onto the hosting package summary page, which will offer you some “add on’s”. Personally I always add the SSL certificate package to make sure my web-site has the added security and trust that little lock at the top of the page brings with them. The page will look like this:

Read more about SSL certificate and why is it important to have one on your website in my post here!

The 5GB back up is included as a standard add on, but you can remove that option. Once you have chosen your hosting package, you will be put through some queries depending on the type of the site extension you have chosen. (Remember the .com and the .co.uk?) This is because different site extensions are governed by different registration bodies and thus have rules of who can own them and what information needs to be collected about the owner.

Similarly to signing up to any service, you will need to provide some basic information about yourself and your business for the registration to go ahead. Once processed (which normally takes less than 10 minutes) you will receive an email confirming your purchase and the access details for your website management panel.

That’s it! Domain name secured and the hosting in place. Ready to go ahead and start building your online art business!

On the other hand one may ask – what is it really that we just spent money on?

I have read a nice analogy somewhere on the internet (I hope the author would forgive me for not remembering the exact origin of this analogy!).

If we think of building a digital business, it is very similar to building a brick and mortar business. A business needs a place to trade from. That place would have an address (the domain name). The address should have a building where our shop is going to be located (the hosting).

Once we have signed the lease agreement for the building, the next step would be so customize the building by putting up our own sign and re-decorating the place just the way we like it. That is what we are going to do in our next step when we install and customize our WordPress.

If you are ready to go ahead and customize your website, then read my next post about installing WordPress!

Hope you found this post useful



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