One of the things that all church techs eventually do is set up a web site. I am not talking about designing and publishing a web site. I am talking about doing the technical setups so that a web site can be published.
There are lots of hosting services these days that can make that process easy. However, just because it is easy doesn’t mean that you should take advantage of their services. In fact, there are several reasons why it is better to “do it on your own”
- You can maintain complete control over your domain name. If you want your email to be coming from one place and your web site from another, you can do that.
- You aren’t locked into a hosting service for a long period of time (unless you decide to do that separately).
So, what are the steps that you need to follow to set up that site?
- Purchase your domain name. This is not as straight forward as it seems. Because, you, as the Tech Guy, should NOT decide what the domain name should be. Yes, that means you are going to need to communicate with people who are not technical people and explain the options for the domain name. Additionally, you should not be the only one who knows the password for the domain registration company were the domain is parked. Sorry. This is not a place for you to be protective of your turf! There are many domain registration companies out there and they all do pretty much the same thing! Which is better? Well, you have the ones that spend lots of money advertising (like “Go Daddy!”) … but you may not be particularly enamoured with their advertising philosophy. In general, you can “Google” “domain registration” and find all of the domain registration companies you ever wanted. Look for one that allows you to do your own DNS management.
- Determine where the site will be hosted.�
- If you select a hosting service, you need to know whether you want a Linux or Windows-based system. In general, if you are going to have a static site (one that isn’t “software driven”), choose a linux host. They are generally less expensive and often have a few extra bells and whistles. If there is some software package that you are wanting to run on the site (or are going to do development) and need to use Microsoft Dot Net, then you will need a windows host. Pay month to month in the beginning until you are sure you like the hosting company and that they have all of the features you need.
- If you want to host your own on your own web server, you will need to make sure that your internet provider can provide you a static IP address. This means that you have an external IP address that does not change so that you can set up your DNS records to point to that address. Also, if you go this route, there are lots of security issues that I will not go into at this point. That is a future topic.
- Set up your DNS records to point to your new site. Again, this is a separate, future topic.
- Publish your web site.
No, this really isn’t all that hard, even for a rookie.