This chapter is intended for people new to web hosting. If this is your first time creating a website, start here.
Taking your business online has the following benefits:
- Makes it easy for customers to find your business.
- Advertises your business and provides important information.
- Acts as a convenient feedback form.
There are a number of ways you can present your company on the Web. Web presence may be as simple as a contacts page, or as complex as a large company website with access to an ERP system. Getting your business online is as easy as following these three steps:
- Register a domain name.
- Purchase web hosting from a hosting provider.
- Create your website.
These steps are explained in more detail below.
Registering a Domain Name
Think of the domain name as your business' address. Your customers will use it to find you online, so make sure that it is a good one. The best domain names are short, easy to type, and easy to remember. An example of a domain name is www.example.com. Registering a domain name can be done through one of the many organizations called domain registrars. Your hosting provider will usually be able to assist you in registering a domain name as well. Web hosting services are often bundled with domain name registration offers, and vice versa.
Caution: When registering a domain name through a hosting provider, make sure that it is registered in your name. Otherwise, you may have trouble if you decide to change your hosting provider in the future.
Purchasing a Customer Account from a Hosting Provider
Purchasing a customer account is much like leasing business premises - it is the space and infrastructure that will house your website. It includes Internet connectivity, disk space to store your website content, and so on. For more information about customer accounts in Plesk, refer to the Customer Account Administration chapter.
Creating Your Website
There are three ways to create the content for your website. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is a short summary of all three:
- Use Presence Builder. The Presence Builder tool that comes bundled with Plesk allows you to create websites using a web interface. You can use one of the provided templates to create a professional-looking website in a matter of minutes.
- Use a Content Management System. Content Management Systems (CMS for short) are third-party applications that enable you to create and maintain a website. They are highly versatile, and come with a large number of optional add-ons. CMS offer greater degree of customization as compared to Presence Builder, but demand more technical knowledge from the user.
- Employ a Professional Designer and Upload Content. This option guarantees you will get exactly what you want. However, it is also the most expensive one. The web designer will provide you with the files you will need to upload to your hosting account. You can do it using FTP or the File Manager.
In this chapter we will review all three methods of creating your website in greater detail. We will also explain how to create mailboxes for users of the site, and view the site visits statistics.
Advanced Hosting Features
Once you are comfortable with basic Plesk capabilities, try out some advanced hosting features: Expand website functionality by installing web applications, secure your sites with SSL certificates, employ databases, and much more.
Note: Hosting providers can turn off some of the advanced features to make your Customer Panel look simple and user friendly. We have used the (Advanced) prefix to designate the sections about features that may be turned off. If you require one of the advanced options, contact your hosting provider.