Websites, email and hosting

A beginners guide.


Guide to websites, email and hosting.

This is a high-level guide to setting up a website and/or email for your company.
Its aim is to help you
  • Understand what you need to do.
  • Get to grips with some of the terminology.

To have a website and/or email you need 2 things:

1. An internet domain

For example, for the BBC website, the domain is A domain is different from a website address, because a domain can be used for more than just a website.
For example, most businesses use a domain for their website and their email.
Website (URL):
The domain is common to both.

To obtain a domain, you have to first find one that isn't already used by someone else, then register it. An annual fee is payable, depending on the domain.
Note that:
  • Domains are not case-sensitive. e.g. works the same as
  • The end part (e.g. the or .com) is part of the domain. Companies often register lots of domains - e.g. you might want to register, and It is possible to make all three domains direct to the same website.

2. Hosting

You need a computer that is permanently connected to the internet that can run your website and process your email. This is usually provided by an internet hosting company that manages hundreds or thousands of computers. These computers live in data centers that have high-speed permananet internet access. Backup and fail-safe procedures ensure your website stays up and running even if individual computers or the entire data center fail.
There are two basic types of hosting:

1. Shared hosting. This is where many websites exist side-by-side on a single computer. This is adequate for most websites and is by far the cheaper option.

2. Dedicated hosting. This is where your website exists on a single dedicated computer that you can access remotely. This is the more expensive option, but might be needed for the following reasons:
  • Security
    It is more secure. If you are running an ecommerce website where your website collects card details (rather than using an intemediary such as PayPal, WordlPay or Google checkout) then this is mandatory to keep within the credit card industry regulations, the PCI DSS - Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. See our e-commerce guide for more information on this.

  • High volume
    Where a website has a high volume of traffic, a dedicated server may be the only option that is fast enough.

  • Specific requirements
    Shared hosting is a mass-market option that offers only the most common features. If you have specific requirements such as integration to existing back-end systems, then a dedicated server may be the only choice.

Publishing your website

Once you have a domain and hosting in place, you can transfer the directory structure and files that make up your website directly to the website 'space' on the host computer. This is refered to as publishing a website. It is usually done by 'FTP file transfer', which is a method of copying files from one computer to another.
Any subsequent changes involve changing the website files and then uploading them again via FTP file transfer (re-publishing the website).
However, all websites built by Web of Ideas are content managed, which means any changes can be made directly in the administration tool and then applied to the website with the click of a button.


You also need hosting to use email - the hosting computer will collect your email, and it can then be picked up via an e-mail program (such as Outlook) or a website. When you send email, it will be sent to the hosting computer for forwarding to the final recipient.


The costs of a domain and hosting vary depending on the domain(s) you require, the type of hosting and the level of support required. Web of Ideas offer a full domain registration and hosting service, starting from £125 a year.  Click here for more information.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We are always happy to talk, and will tailor a package to fit your requirements.