Setting up your domain and hosting

In this class you will develop webpages and websites on your computer and then upload them to a web server, where they will be available to the entire planet. There is no textbook requirement for this class but we do require our students to have a domain name and web hosting account. This requirement is especially important for an online class, because your website is where we assess your work and progress in this course.

We strongly recommend Reclaim Hosting for domain registration and hosting for this class. The personal account option costs $30 per year, and includes a domain name, and most likely, all of the space most of you will ever need. Other web hosting services such as Godaddy offer less expensive plans for the first year, but usually raise the price dramatically in subsequent years when they know it is difficult for you to move your work elsewhere. So far, Reclaim has not changed their annual price. To get started, head on over to ReclaimHosting.com. A page similar to the one shown below should appear.

 

Reclaim Hosting home screen

Click the "Sign Up" button to head to this page:

Reclaim Hosting plan selection page

Here, click select the $30/year "Students & Individuals" plan. You can always upgrade to a more extensive, and expensive, plan later, should you need more space. On the next screen, enter your preferred domain name.

Reclaim Hosting domain name selection page

On the following screen, be sure to check the box to enable ID Protect:

Reclaim Hosting ID Protect screen

Checkout.

Reclaim Hosting checkout screen

After completing checkout, you'll receive several emails from Reclaim Hosting. One of the emails will include a verification link. Be sure to click it to confirm your email address and activate your account. Another will look like this and includes your cPanel & SFTP Login Credentials

Reclaim Hosting welcome email with credentials

You'll need these credentials again, and again, and again, so hang on to them. In fact, you may want to copy the contents of this email into another file and save it somewhere. Whatever you do, don't lose this information!

After clicking the verification link, head back to ReclaimHosting.com and click "Client Area Login" in the top-right corner, or just click here.

If prompted, enter the email address and password you used when signing up with Reclaim Hosting [footnote]Not your cPanel / SFTP information from the email[/footnote] to get to this screen:

This page is where you manage information about your Reclaim Hosting account (like billing details, etc.) and where you access other tools. In the navbar on this page, click the third link labeled "cPanel":

Reclaim Hosting Client Area

You'll then arrive at your cPanel, which looks like this:

Reclaim Hosting cPanel

Click on the icon that looks like a truck labeled "FTP Accounts" to arrive at this page:

FTP Accounts page

Scroll down to the section labeled "Special FTP Accounts" and click the blue "Configure FTP Client" link next to the account without the _logs suffix to see this view:

Configure FTP Client options

 

Click the gray "SFTP Configuration File" underneath Cyberduck. That'll download a file delightfully suffixed ".duck" to your desktop:

Double-click that file to launch Cyberduck. What you don't have Cyberduck on your computer??? In that case, now is the time to install it. Visit https://cyberduck.io, download and install Cyberduck. The duck will plead with you for a donation. It's up to you on this one.

 

Double-click that file again. If a panel pops up asking if you want to make Cyberduck your default FTP client, select "Make Default." Now you may be presented with a prompt that looks like this:

Unknown fingerprint dialog

Check the box for "Always" and then click Allow. You'll then be prompted for your password on a screen that looks like this:

Cyberduck password prompt

Enter the cPanel / SFTP password you received via email from Reclaim Hosting here (copying and pasting is likely best) and be sure that "Add to Keychain" is checked before clicking Login. After successfully completing this process, you'll be taken to this screen:

Cyberduck browser

Double-click on the "public_html" folder and then click on the Bookmark icon (second from the left in the icons in the top left corner underneath "Open Connection") to see a screen like this:

Cyberduck bookmarks screen

Click the "+" icon in the bottom-left corner to open another window like this:

Cyberduck bookmark details screen

In the new window, the only thing you'll likely want to change is the Nickname—just choose something clear and descriptive, like your URL or your name. Then, close the window where you updated your nickname to be left with a screen like this:

Cyberduck bookmarks screen with bookmark added

Now, to access your site via FTP, you'll just need to double-click that bookmark! You can repeat this process on any other computer with access to the internet to gain access to your web hosting account.