Is purchasing a domain required for building a website

By: (plus.google.com) +David Herron; Date: March 18, 2018

Tags: Website Advertising

Any website, to reach an audience on the public Internet, requires a domain name. Otherwise the folks you want to see the website are required to use the user-unfriendly IP address. But, that doesn't mean you must buy a domain name.

The question is whether you can avoid the cost or administrative headache of buying a domain name, and maintaining ownership of that name. The process isn't terribly hard nor terribly expensive, but it is a hurdle that some want to avoid.

If you're building a website for yourself or a few people it's possible to avoid using any domain name. For example your home network administered by your WiFi router - it will assign IP addresses in a range such as 192.168.1.NNN. You could host a webserver on a computer at your home, and everyone in the home accesses it by a given IP address.

I do this with my Drobo. I have installed a couple web services in the Drobo, and have configured the WiFi router to assign it a fixed IP address of 192.168.1.100. Accessing those web services is done with the base URL http://192.168.1.100

But, the question is probably targeted at folks wanting a website for public use.

The first step is of course setting up a web server on which to host the website. That's one or more computers running web server software of some kind, along with the desired application stack. The computer(s) will have one-or-more IP addresses, and you'll have to arrange to have a proper IP address assignment from Internet authorities and so forth. The simplest way to do this is by going to a web hosting provider and you open an account with which you rent web hosting space.

For example - (www.dreamhost.com) Dreamhost is such a web hosting provider, and offers a variety of hosting plans at excellent rates

You could tell your adoring public the website is at http://1.2.3.4 and hope they'll remember the IP address. Good luck with that.

It's much more effective for your adoring public to be told a NAME .... techsparx.com is somewhat memorable isn't it?

Does this mean you absolutely MUST buy a domain name? The operative word may be "BUY" ....

For example, Blogger.com and Wordpress.com and a few other sites offer space for anyone to build blogs -- remember, blogs are a form of website -- like (build-free-websites.blogspot.com) https://build-free-websites.blogspot.com/ -- That's a blog I started one day after a brain fart that I could build a website about building websites while spending $0 on anything.

In this case Google owns the domain blogspot.com and lets anyone with an idea to build a blog, and Google gives them a subdomain of blogspot.com for free. No need to buy a domain name.

Another example is that many web hosting providers offer a so-called free domain name with their web hosting packages. For example (www.weebly.com) Weebly offers a "Free" domain name with their $8/month plan.

In such a case you're not directly responsible for buying the domain - the hosting provider is doing so on your behalf. But you are paying for that domain via your hosting fees.

The cleanest way to have a website is to buy the domain yourself, and then use the web hosting provider dashboard to host the domain. In that way you have control over your destiny.

Someone with my-great-website.blogspot.com got into website publishing for $0 in cost, but they're wholly dependent on Google continuing to operate the Blogger service. Google has shut down several services in the past like Google Reader. Who knows whether Google is planning to shut down Blogger? They certainly haven't invested much in upgrading the service, and it's certainly showing its age.

By not buying your domain name, your destiny is in the hands of others.