Finding the host with the most

Once you’ve decided what kind of site you want to have, you’ll need to find a host for your site.

Just like with domain registration, there are many thousands of options. Type “web host” into Google, and you will get about 210,000,000 results.  You’ll need to do some research to find the host that’s best for you.

Once thing I’m going to say here: you will need to pay for reliable hosting.  There are many services which will offer free hosting, but in all cases, a free host will place banner ads on your web site, which will interfere with the look of your site and and doesn’t look professional.

Most hosts charge on a yearly basis.  Some will charge on a monthly basis, but if you don’t want to worry about making a payment every month, paying for the year will really be in your best interest.  You can expect to pay about $100/year at a minimum.  This may seem a lot up front, but consider that you are paying for 12 months, and it seems a lot cheaper.

Now, on to things to consider:

If you want to create a static web site, almost any host will do.  Any web host can accomodate HTML pages and images (which is what a static site is composed of).

If you want to use a blogging application (like WordPress) or a CMS (like Joomla), you will need a host that supports and provides PHP and MySQL.  PHP is a programming language and MySQL is the database system that these applications use.  Remember, you don’t need to know the programming language.  This is just what these applications are made with.  All you need to know is whether your host can support them.  A couple of hosts that support these: Netfirms and Dreamhost.

Another thing you want to look at: reliability.  See what people are saying about the host you are looking at.  Type the name of the host into google and find out what people have written about them.  Check out hosting review sites and see how the host rates.  If you like what you see, then sign up for the host.  Remember, though: that you should probably look at more than one review.  At one time of another, every host gets a bad review from someone who had a bad experience.  Don’t take advice from the first place you find it.  Make sure you get a second or third opinion.

Don’t rush into your decision.  Don’t let anyone else rush you into your decision.  Once you’re comfortable with the host, sign up and pay for the hosting.  We can then look at setting up some different web sites and how you might go about it.

What to do Next

Did you buy your domain name?  If not, that’s ok, there’s still time.  You can do it now.  I’ll wait.


So.  Now you’ve got a name…what can you do with it?

The not very helpful (but very vague) answer is: whatever you want to do.  However, you probably want something more substantial.

I’m going to assume for a moment that you are a complete beginner, and have no idea about what your options are.

Let me take a moment to clarify some terminology that I will be using: what you are going to have is a web site.  That’s a given. There are several different kinds of web site that you can have:
static, dynamic, and a blog.

  • A static web site is a site built with an HTML editor such as Frontpage, Dreamweaver, HTML kit, Nvu
    or any one of many programs.  With a static web site, you will build the individual web pages on your computer and publish them to your webspace (provided by a host, which we’ll get to in a later post).  Any time you want to make a change to a page, you will need to edit the page on your computer and then publish the page to your webspace.
  • A dynamic web site is a site that is powered by a Content Management System (CMS).  There are several free Content Management Systems that are available to you, such as Joomla, Droopal, Xaraya, and others.
    A CMS is normally powered by a database, which allows the system to take content that you enter and place it in your site template, which saves you from having to recreate a new page whenever you want to add or edit a page.  This simplifies the process of adding to your web site.
  • A blog is a web site which acts as an online journal (a web log, shortened to blog in common internet language).  There are several different ways to have a blog.  You can use a service like Livejournal or Blogger, or you could install your own blog system such as Moveable Type, WordPress, or Greymatter.  A blog is another dynamic system (much like the Content Management Systems discussed above), but with slightly fewer options.

You can also have a combination.  You might have a static web site that incorporates a blog.  Or even a dynamic site that includes a blog.

I have my own personal preferences.  For blogging, I recommend WordPress, which is probably one of the most popular blogging systems available. Its popular because its easy to install and easy to use.  For Dynamic sites, I prefer Joomla, which I find has the most usability out of the box.  It is possible, with both
Wordpress and Joomla to have an attractive looking site without any knowledge of HTML or other programming language.  Both have many templates available that you can use for free (free is always good).

Next time,we’ll talk about choosing a host for your web site.

Let’s start at the beginning

So.  You’re an actor.  Or a dancer.  Or a comedian. Maybe you’re a spoken word artist.

You need to promote yourself.  Of course, you know that you should use every tool available to do so.  You’ve got your resume, and a good cover letter (and you’ve slaved over both of them to get them just right).   You’re taking courses.  You’re going to as many auditions as you can.  You’re writing letters.

But are you using the Internet?

Many actors forget to use the internet as a tool for self promotion.  When you think about it, it does make sense to use it.  After all, Googling is something that we all do.  If you want to find out about a company you want to work at, you Google them.  If you are curious about someone you’ve recently met, you might Google them too.  Why would you not try to take advantage of this?

If you want someone to be able to successfully Google you, you need to have a web presence.

That is what I want to help you do here.

This site will be used to teach you how you can a) set up your own web presence, b) use it successsfully and c) keep people coming back to your site.

There is one step that’s most important.  So important that you shouldn’t wait for another second before you do it.  Buy your domain name now.  Before you worry about doing anything else on the internet, you should buy your domain name.  Purchase your name with a .com, or a .net extension.  If you can, buy the .com.  Over time the .com extension has become the most popular, so I’d recommend that this is what you try to obtain.  Buy (ie:  You might want to differentiate between them and place a dash between the two (  Get whichever one you think looks better.

Where should you buy the domain?  There are a lot of places.  You could buy from a, Godaddy, or any one of the many vendors out there.  For a lot of actors though, price is a factor.  Some domain vendors will charge between $25 and $45 US for domains.  For the price of domain registration alone, I recommend using Netfirms for your domain registration.  At $9.95 CDN, their price is one of the best (that’s just my opinion).

So.  Go now and buy your name.  We’ll talk about what you can do for your web site in a future post.