- New Series: The Ultimate Guide to Logistics For Islamic Organizations
- Logistics: Setting Up Your Website Hosting and Domain
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If you don’t have a website, no one knows you exist.
Let that sink in.
That’s why this is step numero uno. Your organization must have a web presence. If you don’t, no one will be able to find you.
This post will cover registering your domain and setting up web hosting.
*We recommend signing up with BlueHost. They include 1 free domain and provide all the hosting you will need for $6.95 a month [prepaid for one year]. You can also host multiple websites on one account, and we’ll cover that below.
Register Your Domain
Once you’ve signed up for your BlueHost account, you can begin searching for a domain. Here’s the rules of thumb:
- Try to get both .com and .org if possible
- Do NOT use Arabic words because they’re hard to search for
- Make it easy to remember and easily searchable
The most important rule is the last one. If your masjid is called Islamic Society of the Capital City America, or ISCCA for short, but is most commonly known as “Capital City Masjid” then make sure you get capitalcitymasjid.com as a domain.
It’s also important to avoid hyphens when possible. Imagine the following juma announcement, “Visit our website at capital dash city dot com. Once again, that’s capital hyphen city dot com.” Exactly. Sometimes it’s difficult because your masjid has a name that is found in every city. For example, nearly every city has a masjid called “Al Farooq.” In this case, alfarooq.com is probably taken, so you might think of getting al-farooq.com. A better idea is to attach your city name, so something like alfarooqcapitalcity.com. As an aside, since ‘al farooq’ breaks the rule of not using Arabic words, you need to account for alternate spellings. So if you have alfarooq.com then you also need to get alfaruq.com and alfaarooq.com and alfaaruq.com and so on. That’s the hole you dig yourself into sometimes with the Arabic words.
Domains cost roughly $10 each per year, but are well worth the investment – $20 a year if you add the private registration option (recommended). The privacy option keeps your personal information from being publicly available when others search the registration info on your domain.
Your domain is the most important tool for people to find your online presence. Without one, your site may as well not exist.
One of the reasons we recommend BlueHost is because you can host multiple domains on the same account. So if you have capitalcitymasjid.com and capitalcitymasjidyouth.com and capitalcitymasjidsisters.com – and all have their own websites – you can host them all in the same package. That is to say, you do not need to get a separate hosting account for each website. You can host multiple different websites on one singular account.
Hosting is a scary word for those who aren’t familiar with setting up a website. It simply means that you pay someone (like BlueHost) $7/month to keep your site available on the internet. That way when someone types in capitalcitymasjid.com it will go to your masjid website. This set up will work until you reach the point of having thousands of visits a day – which most masjids will never reach.
Additionally, you get the customer service that comes along with this. So if there is a security issue, or your site gets hacked, the hosting company may have backups or other ways of assisting you.
Whatever hosting service you choose, you need to make sure they give you POP3/IMAP email support, FTP access, mySQL databases, and a high or unlimited amount of monthly data transfer.
The most important feature though, is that BlueHost allows you to automatically install WordPress which is our recommended platform of choice for setting up a website. In the next part of this series we will explore that in more detail.