Big companies on the internet make it easy for you to just rely on them for everything you need online. But there’s value in having your own place independent of your Internet Provider (ISP) or other companies.
By having your own internet domain, and the basic services to go with it, you get at least a continuous place where your stuff lives, and where people can find you.
Your Own Domain, Step-by-Step
- Find and Purchase a domain name on Hover.com
- Setup email on Hover.com or G Suite.
- Setup a simple website with Squarespace.com or WordPress.com
- Connect other services to your domain.
Basics of setting up your own domain
Most essential is an internet domain of your own and a place to send and receive email. There are many outside services that do this, but I recommend specific companies below. The companies that get my recommendation all have excellent support and reliable service and work well for people who want an independent place of their own on the internet without having to become a web server and email guru.
Find and Purchase a Domain Name
When you buy a domain name, like dariusdunlap.com, you want to work with a reputable company that provides good technical support and an easy-to-understand system for buying and maintaining your domain.
My recommendation is Hover.com. It’s where I maintain all my domain names and the related administration stuff. They also have just about the best service and best technical support of any company I’ve worked with. Call them if you don’t believe me. They even have a concierge service for setting up or moving your domain.
Hover.com also has great email plans that make it simple to have your own email. This is what I use for my personal and business email.
Google also provides great email service in their “Google Apps.” If you like the speed, reliability and great features of gmail, consider using Google Apps for your domain. It’s a great service. As a non-profit, Square Peg Foundation uses Google Apps, including gmail, for free thanks to Google’s generosity. (If you run or are involved with a non-profit, I highly recommend Google’s non-profit programs)
Another service I should mention is Mailroute.net — they provide email filtering against Spam, viruses and scams, plus other services to keep your email secure and reliable. If you use Google for your email then Mailroute is not necessary, but for most other email providers, it’s a nice and reliable addition.
Setup a Simple Website
Lots of services have nice tools for creating your own website. I recommend Squarespace as a simple way to get yourself setup with your own website. You can even try it out without any commitment. For more advances uses, I recommend WordPress. You can use WordPress.com or one of the excellent WordPress hosting providers. I will write more on WordPress in another post.
Connect Other Services
Hover.com makes it easy to Connect various popular services to your domain, including Etsy, Shopify, Squarespace, and About.me. Their Technical Support team is also very helpful if you don’t see your favorite service on their list. Just select “Connect” in your Hover.com Control Panel for your domain.
More Info on getting yourself online
The principles of creating and owning your own presence online are well expressed by my friends at IndieWeb.org. I will be writing more on IndieWeb, Online Services, and the Open Internet in the coming weeks. I’ll also be updating and revising this article over time.