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How do I Register a Domain?

When I first started back in 1997 … ( see History External Link to PaMidstate MEDIA History ), you could really only use Network Solutions.  And they STILL (2009) charge about $35 per domain!

Once the domain market opened up to more registrars (those that manage the domain name registries), you could easily find other companies and get a much more competitive price.  I found GoDaddy – and really haven’t looked back.

GoDaddy

Although I have heard of nightmares from others around the web, I have not had these same issues.  So – I can recommend them for a decent price, continuing service, and no real outages that I have noticed.

You can start your domain search right here if you would like to ( [HTML1] External Link to GoDaddy )… but picking a domain name is not as easy.

Choosing your Domain Name

This can be difficult and is becoming increasingly difficult every day as the ‘normal’ domains that are words become taken/used/squatted on.  If you are creating a site about New Mexico, how do you decide what domain you want to use?  NewMexico.com is taken – and has been for quite a while.  You could pickup something like MyNewMexico.com (not anymore – and no, I am not using it), but those are not too creative and (to me) overused.

If you are not creative enough, try a domain name suggestion service (just search, there are many) and see what you get.  I got lucky with some domains, pushed my luck with others, and for the rest, just concentrated on building content.  Search engines find valuable content – ‘almost’ regardless of the domain name itself.

Almost Regardless?

Well, I say almost regardless because engines like Google saw a trend of hyphenating keywords for domains, a tactic used by spammers.  Think, ‘my-hotel-and-motel-site.com’ (available as of 10/12/09 – but I don’t want it).  They are not easy to type in because they are built for the search engines.

Off Topic

I kind of got off the real topic of this article, but it really turns out that registering the domain is easy.  Coming up with something you will want to use and is easy for a visitor to find/type/remember; that is the hard part.  Good Luck!

Why I Use Dreamhost

I have been using Dreamhost as my main hosting provider for over since the fall of 2006.  This was shortly after they had some major outages.  The problems were fixed and they were very transparent about the issues.

Doesn’t that seem risky?

Well ok, maybe.  But I planned to move a couple domains over to Dreamhost, see how it went and make my decision from there.

Why was I looking for a new provider?

The current hosting provider I had at the time was more expensive than other similar hosts out there.  I still use them for a couple of sites, since their uptime has been excellent, but as I planned to build more sites, I could not afford a set price per domain.  Dreamhost offers multiple domains – as long as you are within your alloted space and traffic restrictions.

So what are the restrictions?

Well – when I signed up, I got 4,000 Gig of bandwidth [traffic] and 250 Gig of disk space.  It grows each week – and I barely scratch 1% of my available resources.  [I don’t build huge sites…]

Now – They have unlimited bandwidth and disk space for $8.95/month – and unlimited domains.  I recommend that you check Dreamhost out.

Other ‘ease of use’ benefits

Most hosting providers offer some type of installation services.  Dreamhost offers a 1 Click Install for quite a few open source programs, including WordPress.  Since WordPress is my current choice of software, this is a great benefit.  Install once, then everything else from within the WordPress site.  Excellent!

My Latest Experience

Just yesterday (which is what finally prompted me to write this) – I upgraded a site for a customer… WITHOUT HEEDING THE WARNINGS about backing up your site before upgrading.  Well, yep, I overwrote the wrong files.

Dreamhost has automatic backups (like all other hosting companies) – but, without cost, I was able to restore my latest backup, right overtop of the mistake.  Within 10 minutes, the site was back online and my client never knew that anything had even gone wrong.  Save my butt?  You betcha!

If you are looking, you should check out Dreamhost.