I need to set up a business website - or at least purchase the domain ahead of building (or paying someone to build) the actual website.
I just wondered if anyone has any experience of this, and if so if they could recommend a website to make that purchase?
Also - if anyone could give some advice on how to go about getting an email which would be firstname.lastname@example.org, that would be great.
Sorry, I'm somewhat dumb when it comes to website / IT stuff.
There are a huge number of sites where you can buy domain names. After using several of them, usually chasing the lowest prices, I've now moved everything to Ionos (used to be 1&1). Works fine for my undemanding needs, which are a combination of hosting simple business websites, a bit of domain forwarding and one mailbox.
They're a big player, there are cheaper options out there and if you've got specific needs there may be better choices, but as a starting point they're fine.
Owning the domain name is critical 1st stage.
Try somebody like quiknet.
When you get somebody to build the website just make sure you have do not hand control of the domain name to them. Its a critical asset.Make sure you can move it easily to another web developer.
Hosting the actual web site is different and for that you probably should avoid the cheapest offers - again, UK2 and Fasthosts are not the cheapest. It doesn't need to be the same place as the domains but usually you buy a package.
> Also - if anyone could give some advice on how to go about getting an email which would be email@example.com, that would be great.
I have used https://www.justhostme.co.uk/ hosting for about 10 years. Once you have bought a domain (thenameofthebusiness.co.uk), you can add as many (myname@) email addresses as you like.
Before registering a domain and building a website check that you do not infringe any trade marks.
Calling yourself UKC outdoor pursuits from a hut and taking people climbing in Accrington may keep you under the radar, but put that on a website and people will see you, and may shout at you, or even get lawyers to shout at you.
Most places selling domains will typically offer a few free mailboxes with it (pre configured). I use https://www.gandi.net/en-GB/domain
Depends what sort of website you have in mind but you could probably create something using a cloud based website builder like wix or squarespace.
I've used Ionos (previously 1 and 1) for about 25 years. Not so good at first, but it's been totally reliable for the last ten years. I used WordPress to re-design my own web site about 5 years ago, choosing a 'theme' I liked and then tweaking it (I had the advantage of prior knowledge of how to design websites myself using CSS.)
Another shout out for 1&1 (Inios) been with them for 17 years now, pissed me off a couple of years ago with massive price hikes, but can't be arsed, and don't know what's involved, in moving elsewhere.
Service has been good and no issues other than the recent price hike.
Second what Neil says - keep the domain and hosting separate and preferably sort out the domain registration yourself so you have complete control over it - simple enough to do through Fasthosts or similar. I've seen a couple of nightmare situations with non tech people pretty much being held ransom with no access to email and their website offline due to falling out with their "website designer" that provided a one stop shop for domain and website/email. If you have the domain separate, it can be redirected to a new web/email server if required without too much hassle, getting you up and running again.
I have used domainnameshop.com based in Oslo as registrar and host for a number of domains. Maybe not the cheapest but a business grade product.
I use tso host. Costs £20 a year to host with a few mailboxes and a simple website which has about 10 pages.
How much support you need depends on what business you are. E-commerce will need much more tech and effort than a plumber with a few example jobs and a contact form. I built mine with no prior knowledge and just a few tips from people. Having a good domain name, linking pages and content will all help drive people to your site.
We use Fasthosts for domain registrations in work and have had zero issues with them. For emails nowadays we try and push people towards Microsoft 365, which if you don't need access to the Office suite, can be had for about £45 per user per year. GSuite is another alternative for emails and is pretty comparable to MS365 in features and pricing.
Fasthosts also offer Wordpress hosting for a few pounds a month, which, if you don't want anything too advanced, can be used to knock up your website relatively easily using a customised template.
This is probably the cheapest and easiest way of getting up and running with a decent email system and website without getting a web dev involved. However, if you do get a web dev, make sure that you hold the registration for the domain, otherwise you may have issues getting them to release it in the future if you have any problems with them.
I just wanted to say thanks very much to all of you for your suggestions - I really appreciate your advice.
I'd recommend uk2.net for purchasing a domain name. As others have said, its best to do this yourself so that you keep control of the domain.
For hosting a typical small business we site I'd recommend 34sp.com. I have no association with them except as a satisfied customer.
Many hosting plans will include access to an email server and a certain amount of mailbox storage space. Usually also a webmail interface (similar to gmail/hotmail/whatever) for sending/receiving emails.
Associating your domain with the server that hosts your website, and the server that hosts your domain's email, is pretty simple. You do this by editing your domains DNS records on the domain registrar's website. They will provide tutorials on how to do this. It basically involves entering a few IP addresses, provided by the hosting company, into a form on the registrar's website.
That just leaves getting the site developed. For a smaller business I'd recommend finding a local independent web developer who will develop and maintain the site. Ask to see their portfolio, be clear about what you want, but let them guide you. Avoid big web dev companies, especially offshore ones, unless your needs are particularly complex or unusual. I'd stay away from web development and hosting offered by domain registrars.
Whatever you do, do not deal with Network Solutions. Hover and 123 reg are OK but Network Solutions are scum and I do not say that lightly. Every shitty trick in the book up to showing you a confirmation page with a price and then charging a bit more.
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