A host is where the files that make up your web site reside - see Website below.
There are many domains you can use, but the basic one is .com, which is also the cheapest. If you want a .com.au domain, it will cost two to five times as much, depending on your registrar. You can also have .org, .net, .biz etc.
This is the company that registers the domain to you. Doing a search for “domain name” should list plenty of options, with prices ranging from about $10 to $50 per year. If your registrar is too expensive or doesn't provide the services you require, you can change your registrar at any time, just request a domain transfer at the new registrar and away you go.
Now that you have a host and possibly a domain name, you need mail and a web site.
You can set up the email so that any mail sent to anyone at your domain is automatically collected (catch all), or you can set up individual accounts only - this limits spam.
The website is just a publicly available machine on the internet and there is no requirement for it to be in any particular country. This machine has copies of the files that make up your website - you put the files there using FTP.
By far the cheapest method is to re-direct your email to the email address your ISP provides (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) by using the email forwarding option at your registrar. Re-direct the URL (website address) to the free web space provided by your ISP (e.g. www.users.bigpond.net.au/me) by using the URL forwarding option at your registrar. Then if you change ISP, you just change the re-direction and it all moves with you.
Don't forget to set your email client up so that it reports your email address as coming from your domain.
If you want a dedicated site, independent of your ISP - like TechTalk - you will need to pay someone to host your site. This can be in any country, regardless of the domain name you have chosen. Your host could also be your registrar, or you could use someone else, as long as you set your DNS to the name servers specified by your host. Prices range from $50 per year to $1000s per year, depending on your requirements. A quick search for “web host” will give you some options.
A website is just a text file, generally called “index.htm”, that is read by your browser and then displayed. This file contains HTML commands that tell the browser how and what to display.
You can created your own file on your PC and view it with your browser. Open Notepad and save the following code to a temporary file called index.htm, then double click on the file.
<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>My Title</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> <CENTRE>My first web page</CENTRE> </BODY> </HTML>
Web pages can include pictures (your smiling face), links to other pages or sites, or text and can be created using any old editor you have to hand. You could also use a WYSIWYG editor - these write the code based on the things you put in the editor. See Favourite Software for suggestions.
Once you have created the file(s) for your web site, you need to upload them to the machine hosting your web site. This is done using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to copy the file(s) from your PC to your web site. You can FTP using your browser, a command line program, or a GUI program. Try Filezilla, a free FTP client. You will need to consult the documentation provided by your host to find out where to put the files.
Registering Australian websites is more expensive and potentially more complex than non-Aus websites. The cheaper website registrars for .au domains do not allow any URL or mail re-direction - it's an extra cost option ($25+). To get around this limitation you need to use a free DNS management site like ZoneEdit, which will allow you to re-direct your sites - it is only free if your web traffic is relatively small, i.e. you are not Microsoft. Registering with a more expensive provider will allow re-direction from the provider.
1. Register the domain - .com.au, .org.au etc.
2. Register for free DNS management at ZoneEdit. ZE will send you an email with the Name Servers to use. 3. Set the Name Servers servers at your registrar. 4. Set the URL and email re-direction at ZoneEdit.