Domain Names Versus Web Hosting
Before you can publish your site to the Internet, you will have to register a domain name and obtain hosting on a web server.
A domain name is simply your website’s name, for example “carvedturtles.com.” When someone types your domain name into a search engine or into the address field of a web browser, your domain name points the browser to your website’s URL, or web address. You will often have to pay a fee in order to register a domain name.
Web hosts are service providers with special computers called “servers.” Computers with servers are able to “serve” websites to the Internet. Most of the time, you have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for web hosting service, although many schools and organizations provide web hosting to their students and members. When your site is ready to be published to the Internet, you will have to contact a web hosting service in order to upload your site files to the web server. Your web server is sometimes known as the “remote site,” and you will connect your computer to the remote site in order to transfer copies of all of the files that you have created in Dreamweaver, along with all of the associated images and other content that will be part of your site. Your web host will keep all of these files on the remote server computer, which allows your files to be viewable on the Internet even when your computer is turned off.
The simplest way to register a domain name and get web hosting is to find a business that provides both services. A quick search of the Internet should lead you in the right direction. Several companies even offer free domain name registry when you purchase a web hosting package. These types of offers can save you money and make setting up your website much simpler. If you already own a domain name, make sure to have the information about your domain name available to give to your new web host when you obtain hosting service.
When is my site ready to publish?
In the early days of the Internet, publishing a website was much more complicated and messy than it is now. Back then, it was very common to visit websites that were “Under Construction.” That happened because, in those days, you had to upload files to a server before you could see what the site would actually look like once it was online. So you essentially were publishing the site and then working out any issues with the site after you published.
Thankfully, Dreamweaver provides several ways to review your site before you publish to the Internet. You can, and should, use the “Live View” button often while designing your site in Dreamweaver, so that you can keep track of what your site will look like even before previewing in a browser window.
Another essential thing to do before publishing your site is to preview the site in as many different web browsers as possible. If you haven’t added additional browsers to Dreamweaver’s preview list, see the lesson, “Multi-Browser Previews.” Before deciding that your site is ready to publish, you should absolutely preview in several browsers.
Finally, it’s a good idea to check your site for broken links before deciding to publish. To do this, choose “Check Links Sitewide” from the “Site” drop-down menu found in the Menu Bar. This will open a panel that will show you a list of any broken links on your site.
When you have previewed your site in several browsers, and you’re confident that you don’t have any broken links, you are ready to publish your website.