Getting everything you need to set up a website can be daunting and confusing. Each service discussed below is a little different, but sometimes people get them confused with an entire hosting package. We hope this helps a bit and will get you on track to understanding all the components that make up your site, especially when it is built with WordPress.
Domain Name Registration
Your domain name registration will be the web address that people use to get to your site. Although some services include a free domain name registration when you host a site with them, the domain name registration is not the same thing as hosting.
The domain name registration is managed by different services called registrars and provides the URL for your site. Your registrar is responsible for notifying you when the domain is about to expire so that you can renew it. Be sure to keep up with your renewal dates, because if they expire someone else can easily grab your domain name and use it for their site or they can hold your domain name hostage for a very high price.
Once you have a domain name, you will need a service that will provide a server (computer) connected to the internet that will serve up the pages and files for your website. Nowadays it is best to find a reliable hosting service that will deliver your pages with speed and reliable uptime. Be careful who you choose, cheaper is not always better, so pay attention to speed and uptime. When you are working with WordPress sites, speed is very important because WordPress is a dynamic CMS and builds the page every time it is called (unless a cache has been set up for the site). If you plan to use WordPress for your site, make sure the hosting service offers up-to-date PHP and MySQL services in their packages. (We still see some hosting services that just provide antiquated verisions of PHP which will not efficiently run a WordPress site.)
Many services provide free email hosting when you get domain hosting with them. Others charge additional fees for your email hosting. Be sure you know what you are getting when you set all of this up. We are seeing a movement with hosting companies to remove email hosting from their domain hosting packages. Recently (2020-2021), a very well-known hosting service discontinued their free email hosting.
If you want your site to appear safe to users and to search engines like Google, an SSL Certificate is an absolute must. Some hosting services include an SSL certificate free through services like Let’s Encrypt and Cloudflare. Depending on your site requirements a paid SSL certificacate may be needed and sometime these can seem expensive. We personally prefer to use hosting services that provide the SSL certificate free. Just for reference, the SSL certificate allows you to use an https:// protocol that encrypts the connection between your hosting server and the browser a person uses.
WordPress CMS, Themes, and Plugins
WordPress is a popular (free) content management system (CMS) that can be installed on your hosting to help you create and manage pages for your website. As of August 1, 2021, WordPress.org reports that 42% of the web uses WordPress to build websites. That makes it the most popular website builder on the internet. There are a variety of themes (layouts for your site design) and plugins (software to add functionality to your site like shopping carts, payment gateways, etc). Some themes and plugins are free, others have a cost. WordPress does require an up-to-date version of PHP and MySQL to run properly, so make sure your host provides the adequate versions of these.
WordPress Management Services
Once you have your WordPress website up and running, you shouldn’t leave the site sitting on the server expecting it to work for you and your business.
The site will always need frequent software updates to the WordPress Core CMS, Themes, or Plugins. There are usually frequent updates to add functionality or improve security on the site.
We also suggest you have services that scan the site for malware or vulnerabilities.
You will also want to keep a regular backup of all the files that make up your site. It is best that the backup be placed somewhere different than your hosting service.
Don’t forget to use complicated passwords for administrative access to the site. Be sure you include something to deter would-be hackers from gaining access to the site through your administrative section.
Your site database can become rather bulky over time, so a good maintenance procedure to regularly optimize the database is important.
Comments can be a great source of reviews on your site, but more often than not they get used by people maliciously trying to direct you elsewhere on the internet. You will want to monitor and remove comments that may be malicious in nature.
Proactive WordPress Site Management from 7 Mile Web Studio
We offer services that can help keep your WordPress site running smoothly. Be sure to check out our WordPress Management plans as well as other services especially designed for small businesses.