Online business is the new normal, well atleast in this C-19 (read COVID-19) season and many small business owners are rushing to get online. There are numerous terms you need to understand as you navigate this new found digital land.

Photo by Marvin Meyer / Unsplash

The WWW

You might have noticed that when you go online i.e do a Google search you see links that begin with "https://www". Have you ever wondered what those mean? 🤔🤔. Those are technical abbreviations that tell the browser i.e. the software you are using to read this article how to load these things called websites. If you are interested in the in-depth history of the wonderful world of the WWW, which BTW means World Wide Web, here is a link to the entire history lecture.... good luck.

World Wide Web | Wikiwand
The World Wide Web , commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators , which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet.[1][2] The resources of the Web are transferred via the Hypertext…

The World Wide Web (WWW) is simply a collection of resources that can be accessed through the internet. These resources are organised through what is called websites.

Websites

If you did not know, mwanjajoel.com is a website 😎. A website is simply a collection of information that can be found under a single internet link. It's made up of web pages. So another definition of a website is simply a collection of web pages.

Pinterest
Photo by Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

So this simply means for you to create a website, think of it in terms of a collection of different web pages eg. About, Home, Contact Us etc. Those pages make up a website which can be visited by anyone if they know the domain name.

Domain Name

I am sure you are aware of things like google.com, apple.com, tubayo.com, a23labs.com etc. These are technically called domain names. You can use the term domain name the next time you are talking to your friends who are computer geeks. 💡Once again, for those who want to go deeper into understanding the domain name technical details, here you go.....

Domain name | Wikiwand
A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes. In general, a domain name identifies a network domain…

So, in simple terms, a domain name is basically the human friendly identification for a given website on the internet. I say human friendly because the computer does not understand a23labs.com or tubayo.com, it understands a series of numbers collectively called an IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) e.g. 104.198.14.52.

It's easier to ask your friends to visit your wonderful website called awesomebusiness.com rather than telling them to go to 134.209.182.135. 😒
Twitter Homepage
Photo by Kon Karampelas / Unsplash

There are many places where you can buy a domain name and they come in very many different "flavours". What you need to know is if you want your business to be easily recognised online, aim at getting a domain name in this format: {YOUR_BUSINESS_NAME}.com since its the most popular format. If you run a charity organisation its best to go with the format: {YOUR_CHARITY_NAME}.org since visitors shall know that you are an NGO and not mistake it for a commercial venture. Below are some of the links which you can use to buy domain names.

Domain Names - Register Domains & more with Name.com
Your website awaits at Name.com, a trusted registrar since 2003. Buy affordable domain names. Get help 7 days a week from the best customer support in the business. Building sites is easy with Name.com
Make Your Own Way | GoDaddy UK
GoDaddy offers domain names, web hosting, online marketing, phone services, web design and an easy to use website builder.

If you want to get a Ugandan-based domain name. i.e. {YOUR_BUSINESS}.ug, here is the link to use.

Remember, domain names are to be paid for annually so that means you have to renew your domain name once a year.

Web Hosting

Now that you have a basic understanding of a what a domain name and a website is, you need to keep in mind that this is not enough to have your website up and running. Unfortunately many entrepreneurs miss out the step of what is technically called Web Hosting.

If you have a domain name and you have designed your website by collecting together the different web pages, there is one final step you need to do so that people can access your website online. This process is technically called Web Hosting.

Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk / Unsplash

Web hosting simply means putting your website onto a computer that can be accessed by anyone in the world via the internet. This computer is technically called a Web Server. If you want to read deeper on this subject, I recommend this link

Web server | Wikiwand
A web server is server software, or hardware dedicated to running this software, that can satisfy client requests on the World Wide Web. A web server can, in general, contain one or more websites. A web server processes incoming network requests over HTTP and several other related protocols.

There are two kinds of web hosting i.e. Shared and Dedicated hosting. Just like the words indicate, shared web hosting means you do not have the entire web server to yourself but you are sharing it with other people you probably do not know.

In Uganda, shared web hosting is commonly called "cPanel" which refers to the software installed on the web servers that does the web hosting operations. (See picture above).

Shared hosting is as cheap as $3 per month and this money is usually paid to the places where you buy the domain name although you can host anywhere you want with the help of a technical person. This though has its limitations especially for high traffic websites and is only recommended for small businesses that do not have high traffic.

Dedicated hosting means you have access to the entire web server and no one else is allowed to share the space with you. It has different technical terms depending on where you buy your domain name from names like, VPS (Virtual Private Server), VM (Virtual Machine) or Dedicated Server.

Photo by NeONBRAND / Unsplash

Dedicated hosting is for those businesses that expect high traffic or if you are into developing custom web-based applications eg Admin dashboards for mobile applications, Computational Systems that should run on a web server in a controlled environment. This type of hosting is not cheap and it usually requires a technical person to assist in setting it up and managing it.

Hope you learnt something new, incase of any inquires or feedback, reach out to me on Twitter.