This guide is intended for people who are hosting a site with a cloud-based server or a server with a public IP address. Folks who are hosting a site on a home computer with a home internet connection with a dynamic IP address need to use a dynamic DNS service. Namecheap is probably the best registrar to go to for this scenario, and here is a guide on how to set that up.
So you’ve decided to do your own web hosting and set up your own web server. You may have followed this guide on setting up a free/cheap virtual wordpress server on Amazon Web Services and liked the result. Now you want a pretty domain name to match your pretty wordpress hyperlinks.
Lets face it, http://54.XX.XX.XX/blog, just does not have that great of a ring to it.
You can get the rest of the way towards having “yourname.com” up and running in a few cheap and/or free steps. That is assuming your name is super unique. Trust me, if its not, its already registered.
There have been a million guides to registering your own domain name, basically you are going to have to pay between $5 and $10 per year at the registrar of your choice and follow their steps towards signing up and registering an available address. Coupole that with as low as $35 a year for your AWS micro instance and you’re looking at around $4 a month for a good looking website/blog. Here is a good article of the top 5 registrars.
Many or most of these also offer hosting plans, and you are free to use them but if you want complete control of your site, you have your own web server and it’s either cloud-based on something like AWS or its a real or virtual server and you’ve got your port 80 traffic going to it from your Public IP address.
The way to link these two things together is with DNS management services, which your registrar may or may not offer for free. If they do not offer free DNS management.
AWS itself offers cheap DNS management through it’s Route 53 console. However there is a long way between cheap and free and I like free.
Head over to entry DNS and sign up for a free account.
Then click the “Add Domain Button”
and you will enter your registered domain name, IP address of your server and take note of the name servers listed on the page, in this case
Now just head back over to your registrar and enter this nameserver in the DNS settings and when people type in your domain it will point straight to your webserver and no longer show the ugly IP address in the address bar.