How to setup a webpage, register a domain name and manage your DNS- in under 15mins.

I’ve been working with a vast number of  businesses and when it comes to domain names, hosting and DNS everyone seems to be a little bit confused. I don’t blame anyone as there are so many options when it comes to setting up a website so I’ll make a few recommendations here. Firstly this article is not for everyone but it’s going to help those who want a simple DIY website with an easy to manage DNS. I will cover the bare basics and will follow up on how to add an online store to your website in a future post.

Key Points:

• Buy a .com domain name and do not sign up for any of the extras. • Sign up for a free DNS service such as CloudFlare • Use a hosted website platform such as Squarespace and link it to your DNS

Domain names are very cheap (my last one cost $3) and easy to setup. I think it is important you register your domain name through a domain name provider and not through your website provider (such as wordpress or squarespace). This will allow for flexibility if you want to change website providers in the future and gives you a lot of additional control. I will use CrazyDomains.com.au as the example for this post.

Once you find an available domain name go through the steps to purchase it. It can be like buying an airline ticket where they want you to sign up to all the extras so be careful not to accidentally purchase something you don't need. Once it’s approved make sure you have access to the domain settings- we will need to come back to this as the last step in the setup.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.04.06 PM
Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.04.06 PM

Now Jump over to your website provider- I strongly recommend Squarespace if you are starting out. They have great mobile friendly templates and make it easy to get started. Create an account, select a template and find the settings page. Click on “Domains” and enter the domain details you recently purchased from Crazy Domains (or similar) and select "Link existing domain". Now it will tell you there is an error but that’s fine- you haven’t finished setting it up yet. However, check out the details it recommends and note them down. You need the C Name and an A Record.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.13.07 PM
Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.13.07 PM

You now have a website and you own a domain name but you need one more service that sits in the middle: a DNS. Crazy Domains (and others) have this built in as a paid optional extra but I recommend CloudFlare as a free alternative. It has an easy to use interface and provides a plethora of additional features.

This is where it get’s slightly technical but we are almost there. If you need a quick break click on the word plethora above.

Enter your domain name and click setup. It will do a scan and take you to a page with a number of fields already filled out. We have to change all of these to the Squarespace settings you noted down. Remember the C Name and the A Record? Here are some very detailed instructions from Squarespace if you are stuck. Fill in the details as below and hit next. It will take you to a page with CloudFlare’s name server details note these down. You now have one last step and you don’t have to worry about any of this ever again.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.20.36 PM
Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.20.36 PM

Head back to your CrazyDomains management page. Find the section on Name Servers and change them over to the CloudFlare settings.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.23.32 PM
Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.23.32 PM

Well done! You can now get on with the fun stuff, such as working on your marketing and content. Still stuck or are interested in more tips like this? Enter your details here and we’ll send you some useful information on DIY e-commerce and content marketing.

One last thing- now that you have a cool domain name you should setup a branded email account. You can do this with CloudFlare and Hotmail/outlook.com: This article tells you how.

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Surviving growth- Scale your architecture.

The modern web ecosystem provides a platform for market penetration that can lead to unimaginably fast growth. There are two key factors that allow this; pervasiveness of the web and social networks. I'm not trying to say that achieving growth is easy; competition is fierce; bad impressions are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones; and when information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.

However if your service is positively endorsed, social networks can precipitate a snowball of traffic that will put any infrastructure through its paces, which often leads to an overnight success or disgruntled users who will think five times before returning.

For startups especially, it is imperative these opportunities are not missed and that there are no kinks in the armour. For instance even if your online store could handle the traffic, can your payment gateway?

At QuayPay we designed scalable infrastructure from the get go.

After the recent purchase of Tumblr by Yahoo for a billion dollars I was rather surprised by their architecture progression, currently they vaguely use similar technologies to Yahoos Flickr, their story is typical for millenial start ups and I doubt they would be able to achieve the same level of success if they started today.

Firstly, for any high traffic service, LAMP stacks are a dead end. Every component should scale out with little or no direct administration and provide monitoring.

We use AngularJS for all our applications, this avoids using a scripting language such as PHP or Ruby on the server side for rendering the view, offloading that responsibility to the client and is great for prototyping.

Rubinius running Rails Metal serves our API requests, everything is paginated to ensure consistent response sizes and this helps maintain constant response times. Lastly our database and search engine are CouchBase with ElasticSearch.

One of the more interesting aspects to Tumblrs architecture is their ID generation, a side effect of using a sharded model, forcing them to build an independant service for generating unique identifiers. We make use of CouchBases low to zero contention atomic increment operations, with independent counters for each model, to implement similar scalable functionality whilst reducing complexity.

The rise of cloud platforms and the products that emerged in the last 10 years have radically changed the landscape. In 2006 I swore on Ruby on Rails, it breathed life into web development for me and started a revolution around tooling. Today anyone can build a web scale application and there has never been a better time to start doing so.

 

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Feature image from http://www.vi.net/


Stephen Von Takach Co-founder and CIO at QuayPay. Stephen has designed and delivered scalable architecture solutions for clients such as commonwealth bank and the University of Sydney.