Serving up your site
Think of a server as a big computer somewhere. Your site — all its files — reside on it. When we upload files for your site, they go to this server to live happily there with the rest of your site.
When someone types your domain name into a browser, what happens behind the scenes is a little like a phone call… which the server answers by — you guessed it — “serving” up your site.
A whole lot of things can go wrong on the server end if your host isn’t top notch: power outages, software glitches, etc. Even in the best of circumstances, there may be times when assistance is needed. That makes reliability, uptime, service and expertise crucial in your choice of a host.
I’ve had many excellent experiences with Bluehost in terms of responsiveness, uptime and speed. Despite their reasonable prices, Bluehost offers all the bells and whistles larger providers do, with no compromise in service.
As for the latter, I recently wrote an article on Siteground and its services (see it here). After working with a trial account and running some tests, I can vouch for their claims of speed and uptime. I also was impressed with their fast, friendly customer service. Bonus: They offer specialized WordPress site hosting packages for just $3.95.
Name it and claim it
You’ll need a domain name, of course (something.com). Domains are purchased by the year, with the option to renew when the term is up; in other words, you can buy an available domain name for a year, two years or more, and it’s yours to use exclusively for that time. If you want to keep it, you renew it. A few dollars a year isn’t a bad price to own a web-home! A bazillion domain registrars are out there clamoring for your business. My preference is NameCheap because purchase and setup is easy, and they’re straight up with their fees. Some clients opt to go with a well-known company — in this case, GoDaddy is a popular choice.