Web Hosting & Domain Registration
If you are interested in a little primer on Web Hosting & Domain Registration, feel free to read the info that following the next paragraph. This information was adapted from one of Kevin's Techville articles written back in the Stone Age (2003), but most of the info still applies.
What you need to know as far as ZolMedia is concerned is that if you hire us to help you build your website, we will help you register your domain name and we will set up a web hosting account with one of our hosting partners. What this means to you is that although you will know who your web host and domain registration company are, and will have all of the pertinent user account info should you need it, you really don't ever have to contact them if you prefer not to. We are your first line of contact for ANYTHING regarding your website, and we are your liaison for all of the 3rd party vendors that we recommend.
A little Web Hosting & Domain Name Primer
A web host is a special computer that makes your website files available to the Internet.
Depending on how many extra features you need, and how big the web host company is (larger national companies tend to be cheaper than smaller local companies), the fees can run from free (this usually requires that your site include advertising from the web host on it), to hundreds of dollars per month.
If you need more advanced features, such as a shopping cart or website statistics (how many visitors it receives, where they came from, which web pages they visited, etc.), you'll need full-featured web hosting.
(Note: Be careful not to end up with a "cut-rate" web host at the lower end of the price spectrum - there are web hosts that offer full-service hosting and great customer support at reasonable prices, you just need to know where to look!)
One of the biggest benefits of using a third-party hosting service is that you'll be able to use your own web address. This leads us to the subject of domain names.
Addresses on the Internet are called domain names. Domain names are comprised of the last two parts of a web or e-mail address (e.g. YourCompany.com). Having your own domain name is all important, because it enables you to keep the same web and e-mail addresses forever (assuming you pay the annual renewal fee to the domain registration company, of course). This means that you can change to a different ISP or web host whenever you want.
We recommend that you obtain a domain for yourself ASAP, even if you don't know when you'll start using it.
To register a domain name yourself, all you have to do is visit a domain registration company's website, pay their fee, and tell them to "park" it (which means that you're just obtaining ownership of the domain, but aren't ready to start actually using it yet).
Or have a trusted web designer register it for you (we include this in our web design service).
Once upon a time, there was only one registration company, Network Solutions (who are a part of Verisign now). They charge $35 per year for a domain, but they've got competition now that's much cheaper. Two companies that we've had good experiences with are www.GoDaddy.com (around $10/year) and www.Dotster.com (around $15/year). Prices subject to change of course.
Customer service warning: Some registration companies are much easier to work with than others, so be careful about using one just because it's well-known, advertises a lot, or has the cheapest rates.