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