Setting Up Your own Domain Name, Everybody should have one- it’s cheap and easy and gives a host of benefits
I’ve been writing this column for more than a year now and have covered many aspects of owning and letting a holiday home. It may be time to start revisiting the things I’ve covered but I thought from time to time we would have a short technical interlude.
The brief has always been to provide useful information for holiday home owners whether they use an agent or not. We’ve spent years developing our systems to allow us to work online, in the cloud and in multiple locations and we’ve tried plenty of things that haven’t worked out so I’m going to share some of the things that work best for us.
Owning a domain is absolutely essential if you have any sort of business and it’s also critical that your email address uses the domain name. firstname.lastname@example.org simply won’t do and I would be questioning the competency of a business that can’t set up the most basic things.
Hosting a domain and setting up an email address used to be technically difficult and needed specialist knowledge but now it’s ultra simple and almost free. If you advertise your cottage independently you should definitely do it and I would suggest setting one up for yourself and your children as soon as they are born!
So why should you bother?
- Professional appearance whether advertising a property or sending a CV to a prospective employer
- Your email is easy for people to remember and easy for you to give out on the phone etc
- The domain is independent of your internet provider so you can change to a better deal or even move countries without it being affected
- One email address for the rest of your life- in ten years time anyone can still get in touch with you
- Use your email from any computer anywhere and keep everything forever- whether you are at your desk or in an internet cafe in Timbuktu you’ll be able to work or keep in touch in exactly the same way.
6 Easy Steps to getting set up
There are many different providers of domains, hosting and email and probably a thousand ways to do this but here is the set up that we use. Takes me about 5 minutes nowadays as I’ve done it many times but it might take you 20 min or half an hour the first time as you’ll need to set up an account with each service.
1. Go to www.123-reg.co.uk and using the box in the top right start searching for an appropriate domain name. I never use dashes or underscores just one continuous string. If it’s for your name try variations on first name & initials- simontolson, sgtolson, simongtolson. if it’s for your cottage the name will probably not be available but name and place works well- thecottageporthleven, dolphinrisemousehole etc. You’ll get a long list of results but I only use .co.uk or occasionally .com. I would suggest avoiding the new .uk as people will only assume that you meant .co.uk
Once you’ve found a domain you like click add to basket and follow the steps to pay and set up your account creating a log in. a .co.uk domain is currently £5.99+vat a year. Open a new tab for the next bit.
2. If you don’t already have a Gmail account then go to google.co.uk, click on Gmail in the top right corner and then Create an account. Fill out the form and choose an email address which will be email@example.com. Don’t worry if your name isn’t available as this wont be public so anything will do- firstname.lastname@example.org etc
3. Go back to 123-reg and click on control panel (you may need to log in), select your domain in the dropdown and click Manage. Scroll down to Email settings and click Manage Email. Hover over Create and select Forward. In the box for email address put a star (above 8 on your keyboard) and put your gmail address in the Forward to box. Click Save & Exit. This means that any email address @yourdomain will go to your Gmail.
4. Log into your Gmail, click the wheel in the top right corner and select Settings. Click on accounts at the top then in the ‘send mail as’section click ‘add another email address you own’. Fill in the address you want to use for the new domain- I suggest info@ for business/cottage and email@ for names but you can use anything you like. lick next step and send verification. Close the pop up window and make sure that ‘Reply from the same address the message was sent to’ is selected.
5. Go back to your inbox (click the link top left) and you will have an email from Google. Click on the link to verify and you are done.
Now you have your own domain and email set up, You can access your email from anywhere and there’s no need to delete anything, just archive it and you can search for it if you ever need it.
6. If you have a website or even an advert on a directory then go back to 123-reg, log in and go to control panel as above, click on web forwarding then ‘Add’ to the right of your domain. Type the URL (web address) into the box and click confirm. Now if anyone types in the domain your website or advert will appear.
So maybe that took 10 minutes or maybe it took an hour but it will be time very well spent making life easier and making you look more professional.