I have a bad habit of buying Internet domains whenever I get a million dollar idea, and then promptly forget to develop them. I just looked, I currently have 18 domains and I am only using a few of them. Most are redirects, like carlofusco.com and fusco.xyz which redirect to fusco.ca, but most are just parked for when I have the time and energy to develop them.
The original reason I registered a domain back in 2004 was to have a custom, easy to type URL for my students. I also set up my first classroom website when I registered my domain. Students found it useful and easy to get to.
It has gotten a lot easier to register a domain and have a web presence today. For example, when you register a domain, you don’t have to set up a server or design a website. You can have the domain redirect to something you are already using. For example, you could register ‘teacher.ca’ and have it redirect to your Google Classroom or any other site you have set up for you and your students.
I have found the easiest way to get yourself a domain is to use Hover.com. They provide the easiest to use interface and some of the best customer support available. Not only that, they are a Canadian company that are owned by Tucows. A company you might remember as the place to download software back in the early days of the Internet.
There are other reasons to use Hover. They can migrate domains you already own to their service, they provide free Whois privacy (so your personal information does not end up in the Whois database), easy to use interface, and you can add two-factor authentication to your account.
What you do with your domain is entirely up to you. It is only limited by your creativity and what you hope to achieve. Below are some of the sites I currently have:
From 2004 to 2014, I was using a shared hosting service for my personal domain (fusco.ca) which cost me about C$4/month. It was a great way to get your site up and running and it was really easy to manage. However, as the popularity of the Internet grew and everyone was looking for a place to host their website, I found these shared hosting services became very crowded. This caused my site to slow down dramatically.
If you are using a shared hosting service, check out www.ip-neighbors.com to see how many websites are sharing your IP address and possibly your server. One of the reasons my site slowed down, was because there were a couple of adult sites sharing my IP address and they were using the majority of the server’s resources.
In 2014, I decided to migrate my site to a new server. I had discovered VPS’s (Virtual Private Servers). The difference with this hosting service is that you get to control the Operating System and customize the service to suit your needs. You do share the server hardware with other users but everyone has their own IP address and block of space on the server. They are considerably less crowded than shared hosting.
While looking for a VPS, I came across the site LowEndBox which is like a clearing house for VPS’s. I stumbled onto a great “Black Friday” deal for a VPS with a quad core cpu, 2 GB ram, 30 GB SSD, and a 1 Gbit Internet connection for just US$20/year. The offers are always changing so keep an eye out.
After I found a VPS, I had to learn about administrating it. The first thing I did was install Ubuntu Server LTS as the OS, using much of the advice from this DigitalOcean tutorial. I also found tutorials on setting up a firewall , adding additional security to protect my server, and setting up my LAMP stack to host my site.
The great thing about DigitalOcean is that they have tutorials for a wide variety of OS’s and can guide you through anything you want to do with your server. For example, I followed this guide on Virtual Hosts to host multiple domains on my VPS.
That is it for now, next time I will share how to get a domain and have it connect to your new VPS.
I have met Kevin Brookhouser a few times and he never ceases to amaze me with his ideas and enthusiasm. In my final interview from the YRDSB EdTech Camp, I talk to Kevin about the passion projects and how he is making a difference, not only to his students, but also his community.
The 4th interview in a series from the YRDSB EdCamp. This time I interview Joanna Bull and we discuss the idea of Improvisational PD. A great concept and easily something to get people our of their seats and participating in their own learning.
The funny thing about this interview was that we thought we had found a quiet place to talk. To our surprise, it quickly turned into a lunch room with many people coming and going.