Top to Bottom Snowflake Website Building
August 25, 2015 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I need recommendations for and explanations about everything from domain registration to hosting to site building for an artist's special snowflakey website.

I haven't built a website since the year 2000 or so, and then it was from scratch with HTMS/CSS and doing everything of FTP. I don't want to do that even if it can still be done that way. I think I can be perfectly happy building this thing with some WYSIWYG interface. This is for my website as an artist, so it would have a CV and so forth but would mainly function as an organized photo gallery. I want email associated with it, and I don't anticipate tons of traffic.

There seem to be an infinite number of domain registration services that all seem to range between unsavory upsellers and sketchy scammers. The only caveat I've been able to discern is that the "whois privacy" thing would be essentially handing "real" ownership of my domain to whichever company I used for this and not to do it. Is this true?

Who should I use to register my domain? Who should I use to host it? What about combined registration and hosting? What should I use to build it? I feel like these questions are stupidly fundamental, but there are so many conflicting claims from different companies that I don't feel confident distinguishing information from marketing.

This question is helpful, but from 2009. Is MTCreations' advice still solid?
posted by cmoj to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Unless it's a high-traffic site (driving $1000's of revenue through referrals) don't bother making a custom website. Just make a free account on, upload your photos and some text, and you're done.
posted by sninctown at 12:47 PM on August 25, 2015

Best answer: Squarespace. Here are some artist websites.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:47 PM on August 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have used Namecheap for years for domain name registration and have been very happy. And they don't seem evil and overpriced like GoDaddy.

I use Dreamhost for hosting, but their web services are slow — it can take up to 10 seconds for my small Wordpress blog to load, which is too slow. I would not recommend their product. I am planning to move to another hosting service when I can.

You indicate that you are running an organized photo gallery, and WordPress is probably a good option to consider. There are lots of presentation styles available, some of which you can easily tweak, and there are plug-ins that extend WordPress functionality, including gallery and image management.

Basically, once you have a domain name, you get the DNS server addresses from the hosting service and plug them into the domain name registration service. This tells the domain name service to redirect web requests to to your hosting service. On your hosting service, you set up your WordPress or other site data. That's pretty much it to get a basic site running, I think, unless you need to do fancier things.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:48 PM on August 25, 2015

Best answer: +1 for squarespace
posted by primethyme at 12:57 PM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Another +1 squarespace. I build websites for a living but even I use squarespace for my personal & hobby sites; my time is more valuable than whatever I pay per month to get a site up there. Google around for a coupon code, a lot are available because they advertise heavily on podcasts.
posted by cgg at 1:04 PM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I am a professional artist and I switched to squarespace a couple months ago. It is so much easier and actually not much more expensive than building your own with separate software and paying another company to host it.
posted by vegartanipla at 1:10 PM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: +1 squarespace. I love it for my personal site, and I've built sites for non-technical clients with it. If you want to put photos up, it is perfect for you. You can have text-only pages for your CV, too, and email to go with it.

I'm an art director who designs massive web sites for a living (amongst other things), and the very last thing I want to do in my free time is wrangle HTML or CSS or a CMS.
posted by culfinglin at 2:03 PM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Squarespace it is, then. That's a hell of a lot easier (and better looking) than the process I was laying out for myself.

I take it no one's worried about the "whois privacy" thing preventing me from technically owning my domain?
posted by cmoj at 2:31 PM on August 25, 2015

Register your domain name with
Build your website with
Host the email with or MS Office 365

If its a .com domain WhoIS protection is Free with Hover.
posted by Mac-Expert at 2:44 PM on August 25, 2015

I have domains that use whois privacy and I still retain total ownership. I haven't seen any sort of system where you give up ownership of your domain, but perhaps some sketchy places may try that. It's not the norm.
posted by homesickness at 2:49 PM on August 25, 2015

Google Domains will provide free privacy with domain purchase and it syncs with squarespace. I am considering switching over to them once my paid time expires.
posted by vegartanipla at 8:04 PM on August 25, 2015

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