Having a separate domain registrar is mandatory!
I used to think that having a separate domain registrar wasn’t a big deal and it seemed to be unnecessary. It appears I was wrong about that and I wanted to share what I’ve learned.
I was directed to a great resource at Web Hosting Talk, which gave me the insight I needed to change my mind about the merits of having domains registered separately from your web host. After reading about many of the issues that can occur when your domain and hosting plan are the same, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a very, very bad idea to do that.
I have to admit that I was lured into the ease of just securing my domain when I set up the hosting plan. It was a completely painless process and very fast. Also, my host has been awesome in every respect, thus far. But, we haven’t had anything to fight about, yet, so I don’t really know how awesome they would be if we had a dispute.
I was giving up a huge amount of safety for the sake of making my life easy. Unfortunately, my vulnerability isn’t going to show up until I have a dispute with my host. That’s just bad risk management.
If you have your domain registered through your host and you have a dispute, they will just shut your website down completely and there is nothing you can do about it until the dispute is resolved. If, however, you have your domain registered through a separate registrar and your account is shut down by your host, you can get a new hosting account and redirect your domain to that account. This takes much less time than working through dispute with your host that may or may not ever get resolved. Don’t let your host take you hostage!
Take some time and search through the articles on Web Hosting Talk. Web Hosting Talk isn’t the only place you can find good information, but it is a great place to start. You will find excellent information on who the best, and worst, hosts and domain registrars are. There are many thorough discussions on transferring domains and tons of other stuff, some specifically related to e-commerce solutions.
Here are a few links to pages that may be useful to you, especially if you are a little new to registrars and hosting plans:
- The dos and don’ts of domain registration
- How to choose a domain name registrar
- Domain name registrar
- ICANN Accredited Registrars
Regarding the cost of a domain name registration, you should probably not have to pay more than $10.00 US for a registration without WHOIS privacy. It could cost more if the WHOIS privacy feature is important to you.
Below is my short list of recommendations. As with most of the links on this page I’ve used affiliate links where I’m comfortable recommending providers. If you in the market for one of these services, I would greatly appreciate you using my affiliate links as it helps me keep the lights on. Also, if you have a significant reason to disagree with my recommendations, let me know. I’m not above changing my recommendations as things can change with service providers over time.
Web Hosting (DO NOT register domains here)
Choosing your web host is just as important as where you get your domain from. In fact, it can be one of the most critical decisions you make depending on how much traffic you have coming to your store. A crumby web host can really ruin your day.
If you have a busy store and you get a host that does not provide 24 hour phone support 365 days a year, you will pull your hair out when your site goes down and have no one to help you get it back up. I would recommend avoiding hosts with only e-mail support or hosts that only take phone calls during limited business hours. That just doesn’t cut it when your site is broken.
You should expect, and you really need, high levels of service from your hosting company no matter who you get your hosting from or what size your store is. Eventually, something will go wrong and you will need support. It just makes sense to have it as part of your package.
To the best of my knowledge, the web hosts recommended below offer packages that have an option for one primary domain, unlimited sub-domains, unlimited e-mails, unlimited storage, and unlimited bandwidth (with certain restrictions). This is the option I use and it has been invaluable to me since I set up many websites. If you only set up one website, there are less expensive options that you might consider, but they are very limited.
There are really only two hosts that I feel comfortable recommending and they are BlueHost and HostGator. I have had great success with my BlueHost account (many subdomains) and can recommend them highly. I do not currently have any accounts with HostGator, but they routinely come up as the other “best” web host for PrestaShop stores.
You may notice I don’t have GoDaddy listed. The reason I didn’t list them as a recommended host is because I’ve seen too many complaints about them and they appear to be a bit glitchy with Prestashop. I know lots of people use GoDaddy, but I think there are better options for a PrestaShop store.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software is essential to running any PrestaShop store. You can use your web host’s C-panel, but that is usually much less functional than a program such as FileZilla.
FTP software allows you to make a connection to any of your web hosts and then transfer files between you computer and the web host’s servers. There is no need to purchase a program to do this since FileZilla is a free download and works like a charm.
For many of the files you download on the internet, they will be in a zipped form and you will need to unzip those files in order to use them. If your computer does not come with a built-in zip/unzip solution, I suggest downloading the free WinZip software. If you are so inclined, you can also pay for a full version, like I did. I got tired of downloading the free version every 30-45 days and since I use regularly, it was worth the investment.
Image Creation and Manipulation Software
If you are building your store yourself, it will be important to you to have a program that can manipulate photos and create graphics. Pretty much everyone has heard of PhotoShop, but not everyone has heard of the incredibly useful program called GIMP. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is a superb free open source product. Click on the link below to download GIMP.
Are you marketing regularly to your customers? Some of you may say yes because you have a store up. Well, that’s not enough. E-mail marketing to your customers who have opted-in to regular updates is essential to your success. It is the best tool to use to let your customers know about specials, new products, and other updates to your store. Below are several very well respected companies with excellent e-mail autoresponders. Some of them also offer other services such as newsletters and the ability to survey your customers.
ISO Currency and Country Codes
Have you ever wondered where PrestaShop get’s the ISO codes they use and where you can get those codes when you need to add a country or currency? Well, I don’t know for sure where PrestaShop gets their ISO codes, but I would guess that one of the best places to get them is from the source: the International Standards Organization.
Listed below are the websites for the official ISO currency codes and country codes. Please keep in mind that if you decide to use these links and the information that you find at these websites, you do so at your own risk. PrestaTraining.com, in any of its forms, will assume no liability for any issues that comes from you using this information.
ISO Currency Codes – This link will you to a page called ISO 4217 currency and funds name and code elements. Look at the center column, below this title and follow the link called “SNV – SIX Interbank Clearing.” You will then wind up on a page where you can download either an Excel or XML version of the current currency codes.
ISO Country Codes – This link will take you to a page called ISO 3166 code lists. In the center column you will find links to English and French country names and codes in HTML, TXT, and XML formats.