It’s time to get serious with your forum project so let’s go ahead and go about picking and buying a domain and web hosting plan. This week in our Forum How-To Guide, Admin Loop will help guide you through the process of choosing the perfect domain and hosting plan for you and how to go about purchasing it.
How to choose a domain?
In the planning stage of creating your forum, a name would have been picked for your brand new forum. Your forum name will be the main part of your domain, as it should with any type of project.
Whilst it may not seem crucial, a domain can make a huge difference to your forum. In a lot of occasions, it’s essentially a user’s “first impression” of your forum and more importantly, it can affect SEO for your forum.
If you didn’t look at the domain availability when picking a name and find out that it is unavailable, you may need to, unfortunately, change your name slightly or come up with something new to be able to purchase a domain for your project.
So what should you remember when choosing a domain?
- It doesn’t always have to be an exact match to your name, feel free to add new words to make your domain more interesting (and help get an option that’s available!)
- Keep it short and easy to type – no one wants to spend ages trying to remember what your domain is and then tying it out. Keep it short and easy to type so that’s it memorable for your users.
- Avoid special characters – Try to avoid using hyphens and numbers in your domain. No one wants to try and remember where a specific hyphen goes when they want to visit your site by typing in your domain.
How to choose a web hosting plan?
Finding the right web hosting plan right from the start can make a huge difference for your forum. With the right host that offers reliable and high-quality services, you won’t have to ever worry about moving to another host. That gives you the ability to fully concentrate on your forum and improving it.
Whilst the wrong host may not cause the death of your forum, it will cause headaches both for you and your community. High renewal fees, frequent downtime and the inevitable moving of your forum to a new host isn’t great. So what should you consider when looking for a web host?
- Type of hosting – The type of hosting that you go for can make a huge difference to your community. If you’re looking to create a small personal site then shared hosting would be perfect for you. But, if you’re looking to have a site with a large number of resources and traffic, a dedicated server may be more suitable for you.
- Resources – Make sure to find a web hosting plan that has sufficient resources for your forum. Does it have enough storage space for your files? Is enough bandwidth offered? Are you allowed to create an email account for your forum?
- Pricing – For some, the pricing of the web host will be the most important aspect when choosing one. Whilst it is important, make sure that you don’t forfeit certain benefits like support or performance.
- Customer Service – When you encounter a problem, whether it’s with your forum or a query in regards to the hosts, it’s important that the customer service available to you is up to scratch. Make sure that your hosting service has good avenues to contact them and that they respond quickly. There is nothing worse than having an issue and not receiving a response for days. A host with multiple methods of contact is perfect – email, telephone and live chat!
How do I buy a domain and hosting?
With your domain picked and your web hosting plan selected, it’s time to go ahead and buy it so you can get started on setting up your forum.
However, the first step you should take is to check if your web hosting plan comes with a free domain. Certain plans will offer a free domain for you if you choose to pay for a full year of hosting. Additionally, having your domain and hosting with the same registrar can make everything easy to handle.
If not, then you find need to find a great domain registrar that offers a great first-year price and affordable renewal costs as well. A large number of domain registrars will attract you with extremely cheap first-year prices and then push their large renewal costs later on. Make sure to read the Admin Loop Comparison of Domain Registrars to find the best registrar for you.
In terms of your hosting, you can go ahead and purchase the plan once you have your domain. It’s important to remember that a lot of these hosting companies will try to push some added features/products for an extra cost. Whilst some may be useful to you, the majority of forums will not require these added products.
Before going ahead with your purchase, make sure to check the latest coupons & deals available to Admin Loop users as you may be able to bag a great deal on both your domain and hosting from the company you chose to go with, saving you some money.
Once you have your details entered, you can go ahead and pay for your hosting. If your domain is from another company, you will be provided with some information about DNS servers that you will be to configure so that your domain points the right way.