web hosting and domain name?

edited in Questions and Answers
I know to have your own website you to register a domain name and I know you need a web hosting service for your site. What I don't know is how the financials work and how to get it done in SA with minimal cost. I know its not directly related to game development but it still is important. Any help and advice would be appreciated and I'm sure many people will benifit from such a discussion, especially the array(conveniently awesome word) of new talent joining these forums.
I'm rambling again- I love C++ and Java but english'll always be my favouyrite language.

P.S. I read the post about the NAG information and realised a personal website is becoming increasingly important


  • Ok, so simply put the usual root is first working out what you need. Some questions that you should ask yourself are:
    • Is my site going to need to be locally hosted? (or is an international server fine)
    • Is my site content heavy? (or will it use less bandwidth by containing mostly text)
    • What do I need from my site? (static or dynamic pages? etc)
    Then you can find web hosts that provide what you need. Typically I stick to hosting providers that I (or my friends) have used as I know they have good service.

    As far as a domain goes you need to either register it yourself (and link it up when you get the hosting), or you can pick a web host that will give you a domain for free bundled with your hosting (or you can pay the fee and have them manage it for you).

    Finance wise there are several options, if you have a credit card you can go to most international and local web hosts with ease, but if you have only a debit card you should look at a local provider (Axxess allows this if I remember correctly).

    As far as dynamic content sites go (like this one) there are a handful of directions you could go (PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, ASP.Net, etc) but the most common is PHP, and you will find lots of open source [acronym="Content Management System"]CMS[/acronym]'s that you can download and set up with ease.

    When you finally know where you want to go and what you want to host you can decide where you want to host, you can be up and running within an hour or so.

    Final recommendations:
    • Get MoWeS and set up a few CMS's and databases first, that will help you decide what you want to use, and give you a good feel for what to expect when getting set up on the web.
    • Set up a Google Analytics account, and follow their steps to add it to your site when you go live (even if you get access to a control panel from your hosting provider).
    • A good starting point if you have no clue what you need is to start at the smallest tier (so R9 p/m + R50 for a .co.za domain yearly is the smallest Axxess instance), you can always scale up. (my site http://realdev.co.za has used 80mb of bandwidth and 80mb of disk space this month, last month I did around 200mb of data transfer)
    • Keep an eye on things such as the search terms that get people visiting your site and if the content is too obscure (or not easy to navigate to) you should rearrange your content to make it easier to get to (be careful of falling into the trap of breaking URLs though).
    • If you are making a simple site to show of a single game and dont have web design skills use presskit()!
  • Thank you @edg3
    I've taken in a lot of what you just said instantly but I will read it a few times to get the just of it. I'm going checkout access and go from there.
    I do have two other question.
    Is it hard to change to change hosts? And
    Do other pages on your domain name all count as one domain name? e.g. www.domainname.com/downloads and www.domainname.com/contactus
  • No. You may have some downtime of a day or two while the change propagates to various DNS servers, but it should be quite pain-free.

    Yes. subdomain.domainname.com/folder all belongs to domainname.com.
  • Just to chime in here, remember that just because you want to go for a custom domain name doesn't mean you need to spend your time on building a custom website.

    If you're looking to learn some webdev skills in the process, fine, but if all you really want is a home for your work then it's quite possible you can get away with something like a posterous or tumblr blog and just set it up for your domain-then you don't even need to worry about hosting costs (and you can always redirect to a homebuilt site later if you need to).

    See http://matt.benic.us/tag/portfolio (shameless plug ;) ) as an example
  • We're busy switching hosts at the moment, that's a response to our sites being down for more than 2 days now though.

    With shit feedback. I'm rather annoyed.
  • And Dreamhost is supposed to be, you know, a dream..
  • @Elyaradine thank you that clears things up very much.

    @mattbenic I very much enjoy coding and html alway seemed fun before. CSS, PHP and flash are still foreign to me though. And I'm sure javascript will be easy to pickup.

    That must trully suck

    @edg3 I checked out Axxess and Afrihost. Axxess has amazing prices on webhosting & adsl lines
  • @mattbenic: They were until very recently. Suddenly their support has dropped quite drastically. I think that's the most annoying part: Feels like you're not talking to a human that can acknowledge issues and say "Oh shit, that sucks, we're totally working on that!"
  • @dislekcia On the bright side if its not a human then the AI is just a few steps from Skynet.
  • @shelton I do not see how the bright side would be bad service leading to an AI trying to kill the human race :P
  • @Karuji lol it is a bright side if you ignore the killing human beings part. Time travel and,what I assume is, sick AI algorithms can only be positive
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