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      Wondering How To Make A Website? Here’s A Complete Tutorial

      Creating your own website may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and tools, anyone can build an effective online presence. In fact, as of 2023, WordPress continues to dominate, being used by over 42 percent of all websites worldwide.

      Whether you pick WordPress or another website builder, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the key aspects of designing, building, and launching your fully functional website from scratch.

      We’ll cover everything from choosing a domain name to finding a web host, selecting the right platform, creating compelling content, and more. And by the end, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge to bring your web vision to life. So let’s get started!

      Can Anyone Build A Website?

      The short answer? Yes!

      While coding can allow advanced customization, it is by no means required to have a polished online presence.

      Thanks to intuitive drag-and-drop website builders offered by WordPress and most other platforms, creating a website is more accessible than ever, even for beginners. And with the pre-designed templates and point-and-click widgets to add features, you can build responsive, mobile-friendly pages in minutes.

      This means you can focus on bringing your vision to life instead of building your skillset.

      And with AI advancements like chatbots and copywriting tools, websites are only getting easier to craft for people from all backgrounds. If you have a passion project, small business, or simply want an online home for your thoughts, you have all the tools needed to make that happen on your own.

      The question now is, how do you build your website?

      How To Build Your Website In 7 Simple Steps

      While every website journey is unique, these seven steps form the typical workflow for crafting your own site from the ground up. Let’s explore each of these website-building steps in more detail.

      Step 1: Identify The Purpose Of Your Website

      Before purchasing a domain or signing up for web hosting, you must clearly define your website’s purpose.

      Understanding exactly what you want to achieve with your online presence will inform many choices: from site structure to platforms, features, and design aesthetics.

      Pinpoint Your Business Goals

      If building a business site, begin by narrowing down your goals.

      • Are you building a personal website for your freelance services?
      • Are you planning on selling products?
      • Creating a lead generation site growing your email list and contacts?
      • Or building an online course or membership site with gated content?
      Free AI Tools

      Business Name Generator

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      Clearly jotting down your objectives will guide your website setup process, ensuring you select platforms with appropriate functionality built-in.

      For example, ecommerce sites require shopping carts and payment gateways, while lead-generation sites need forms and marketing automation. Defining these details early allows you to pick the best tools for the job right from the get-go.

      Map Out Your Content Strategy

      four step content strategy: planning, creation, maintenance, unpublishing

      Once your objectives are pinned down, begin brainstorming the pages, posts, and media content you’ll need to execute your goals successfully.

      These elements form the beating heart of your website, useful tools for engaging visitors and potential customers and turning them into customers or adding their email addresses to your database.

      You can automatically send the collected emails to multiple inboxes using a service like ForwardMX. It also helps you create catch-all email addresses that consolidate every incoming email in a single inbox that you can sort based on custom rules.

      At this stage, don’t worry about the copy on the pages. Focus instead on structuring your information at a high level.

      For example, an ecommerce store might include pages like:

      • Homepage
      • Product category pages
      • Individual product pages for product descriptions
      • Shopping cart
      • Checkout pages
      • FAQ
      • Contact
      • About us

      Meanwhile, a personal site may have:

      • Homepage
      • About me
      • Blog
      • Services
      • Portfolio
      • Contact

      Pro Tip: Create a basic site map to visualize the connections between pages and how your target audience will navigate your content.

      With your site goals, purpose, and content pillars defined, you’ll have the right strategic foundation to start building. And you can move to the next step.

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      Step 2: Choose A Domain Name

      Your domain name is one of the first impressions visitors will have of your brand. A domain is a unique web address that points visitors to your online destination. Think of this as your business address – it helps people know where your business exists online.

      For example, “dreamhost.com” or “johnsmith.blog.”

      Picking a short, memorable domain name relevant to your offerings can pay dividends when driving traffic and conversions.

      Here are some best practices for choosing a good domain:

      Keep It Short

      Shorter domains with fewer syllables are easier to convey verbally and remember.

      If your personal name or business name is long, consider abbreviating to the shortest unique and meaningful acronym.

      For example, Coastal California Fruit Farm -> CC Fruit Farm

      Make It Descriptive

      Short doesn’t necessarily mean vague. Try to pick a brandable domain that conveys what the site could be about without opening it.

      For instance, the domain “dreamhost.com” is designed to be brandable. But we include the word “host” to imply that it’s some sort of hosting.

      Similarly, add relevant keywords in your domain related to your niche, offerings, and potential customers. This helps visitors immediately understand your site’s purpose while boosting Search Engine Optimization (SEO) authority around your core topics.

      DreamHost Glossary

      Keyword

      Keywords are words or phrases that describe the content of a website or web page. They help search engines match these elements to relevant searches.

      Read More

      Choose A TLD (Top-Level Domain)

      The letters after the dot are known as the top-level domain, or TLD. Common options include:

      • .com – The most popular and versatile option
      • .net – Originally for network providers, now widely used
      • .org – Traditionally used by non-profits and organizations
      • .info – Focused on providing information
      • .blog – Implies that the site is a blog

      .com tends to be the default choice for businesses and personal sites. But review all options to see if another extension may be more fitting and available.

      Check Availability

      As you brainstorm potential names, verify domain availability in real-time before getting attached to an unavailable option.

      screenshot of dreamhost's domain checker showing an example search of "dreamhost.com" and "Dreamhot.com" is unavailable, but there are some other options

      It may be possible that your favorite .com domain is taken. Start by trying some variations in the search box. Try adding your location or an extra keyword relevant to your niche until you land on an available option you’re happy with.

      Register A Domain

      Once you’ve selected an available domain, it’s time to officially register it in your name. You’ll need to sign up with a domain name registrar like DreamHost, Google Domains, Namecheap, etc.

      The domain registration process only takes a few minutes and costs about $15 per year excluding any offers the registrar may have.

      If you plan to go with one of DreamHost’s hosting plans (discussed next), you can get the domain for free for the first year. You can skip this part and jump straight to getting hosting. 

      But if you still want to buy the domain separately, you’ll be asked for:

      • The domain name you want to register
      • Your contact details
      • Payment information

      Once purchased, you’ll fully own and control that custom domain name (as long as you keep renewing it).

      It’s time to shift gears to web hosting and servers to store your actual website files and data.

      Step 3: Pick A Reliable Web Host

      Now that you have a domain mapped out, it’s time to look at web hosting services.

      What’s a web host? A web host is a company that provides servers where your website’s files physically live. It takes care of serving the files to your visitors.

      When someone types your custom domain name into their browser, the web host pulls up the right site files to display based on that request.

      There are many types of hosting plans and services, but we’ll focus on the three most common options relevant for small sites and online stores:

      three main hosting solutions: shared (like an apartment), VPS (like a townhome) and dedicated (like a house)

      Shared Hosting

      With shared hosting, your site lives on a server that also hosts hundreds or thousands of other websites owned by a hosting provider.

      Resources like disk storage space and memory are pooled together and shared by all sites using that server. It’s by far the most budget-friendly hosting option but offers less control.

      DreamHost, for example, offers reliable shared hosting plans starting around $2.59 a month. These basic shared hosting plans are ideal for personal sites, blogs, and small business pages just getting off the ground.

      VPS Hosting

      Short for Virtual Private Server hosting, VPS plans allocate a certain portion of a physical server dedicated just for your site.

      DreamHost Glossary

      VPS Hosting

      A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual platform that stores data. Many web hosts offer VPS hosting plans, which give site owners a dedicated, private space on a shared server.

      Read More

      So while the underlying machine is shared, your site is quarantined with its own partitioned resources like storage, memory, and processing power.

      This balances robust performance and control with affordability compared to dedicated servers. Prices start around $5 per month at Digital Ocean and Vultr.

      If you find the above VPS services too technical, DreamHost’s VPS plans are managed for you so you get the benefit of dedicated resources without having to manage the server updates, security, etc.

      VPS hosting works well for medium traffic sites that need more juice than basic shared hosting provides.

      Dedicated Hosting

      As the name suggests, dedicated hosting gives your website its very own physical machine accessible only by you. These can be expensive and are generally not required for sites just starting out.

      However, dedicated hosting offers maximum control of your site and data. They generally start at $100+ per month depending on the server configuration you choose.

      The isolation and raw power make dedicated servers ideal for large, high traffic sites and mission-critical web apps that need the highest performance and security.

      Key Hosting Factors

      As you evaluate options, look for hosts that offer:

      • High uptime – The % of time servers are live and accessible should be 99%+
      • Fast page load times – Quick server response for snappy visitor experience
      • SSL certificates – Free HTTPS encryption for secure sites
      • CDN support – For accelerating static content delivery
      • Managed support – 24/7 service via chat, email addresses, phone

      Step 4: Choose Your Platform

      Your website building platform powers how you’ll design, manage, and update your site over time.

      There are two primary options: self-hosted CMS software like WordPress, or dedicated SaaS website builders like Wix or Squarespace.

      Let’s compare the pros and cons of each approach.

      Self-Hosted CMS

      A content management system (CMS) is software for publishing and modifying website content without needing to code everything from scratch.

      DreamHost Glossary

      Content Management System (CMS)

      A Content Management System (CMS) is a software or application that provides a user-friendly interface for you to design, create, manage, and publish content.

      Read More

      While platforms like WordPress and Joomla require more technical lift to initially configure, they offer a variety of customizable features and scalability down the road.

      Let’s focus on self-hosted WordPress since over 62% of all CMS sites run on this open source software.

      The term “self-hosted” means you independently install WordPress software on server infrastructure you control, rather than using WordPress.com’s hosted service. This allows full ownership over your site’s fate.

      Here are the main advantages of using self-hosted WordPress:

      Total Design Flexibility

      screenshot of a design page showing customization options for navigation, styles, pages, templates, and patterns

      With open-source WordPress, both your site’s HTML/CSS code and SQL databases are under your control locally. This allows endless customization options for tailoring page design and functionality exactly how you like using code, themes, and plugins.

      Robust Features Via Plugins

      screenshot of WordPress plugins, featuring YITH Slider for page builders and Easy restaurant menu manager

      WordPress grants access to over 55,000+ plugins. This means you can expand your site’s capabilities using ecommerce plugins, forums plugins, contact form plugins, security plugins, and more without needing to code extensive functionality from scratch.

      Mature Platform With Long-Term Viability

      With a vibrant community having supported WordPress for 20 years and counting, you can rest assured it has staying power if you ever pause working on a site and pick it up years later. The platform will still be there.

      The main downside is WordPress has a steeper learning curve compared to some website builders. But with the right host, it’s very manageable for most motivated beginners.

      Website Builders

      No coding or configuration required. Website builders allow you to launch a site in minutes by tweaking settings rather than needing to install software.

      screenshot "WordPress, Your Way:" Build and grow your website with the best way to WordPress. LIghtenting-fast hosting, intuitive, flexible editing, and everything you need to grow your site and audience, baked right in. Get started."

      With intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces and built-in mobile responsiveness, all you have to focus on is pumping out content that engages a wider audience.

      Some of the most popular website builder platforms include:

      • WordPress: Over 42% of all sites worldwide use WordPress. Available as a one-click installable application from the control panel of most hosting providers.
      • Wix: Over 200 million sites published and best for visual customization
      • Squarespace: Hundreds of templates and excellent multi-media support
      • Weebly: Easy to use with deep commerce features
      • Godaddy Website Builder: Easy and built into the Godaddy

      Website builder platforms make launching sites fast and frustration-free, but you should know their convenience and simplicity comes at the cost of long-term flexibility.

      Over time, modifying templates or needing advanced features not part of integrated offerings may prove challenging compared to open-source CMS software.

      But for launching beautiful sites in record time that “just work” builders can’t be beat.

      Step 5: Build Your Website

      Site purpose defined? Check. Domain purchased? Done. Web hosting selected? All set. Platform chosen? Yes.

      Time for the fun part — bringing your website to life!

      Start With Themes Or Templates

      Most CMS systems and website builders include a gallery of professionally designed themes and templates to apply to new sites.

      screenshot showing different website themes, with the "business" tab selected

      These act as foundations which determine default page structure, layout, fonts, colors, and more based on the type of site you want to build.

      For example ecommerce store templates versus personal portfolio themes.

      Rather than build pixel-perfect designs from absolute scratch, these templates give you the creative freedom to start designing and reach closer to your vision as quickly as possible.

      The template can be modified and enhanced by:

      • Adding/restructuring content blocks
      • Choosing a different color palette
      • Tweaking fonts
      • Importing images and graphics

      Built-in customization settings also make fine-tuning templates fast and easy without needing design expertise. Many modern website builder platforms make templates fully mobile responsive out of the box, meaning they dynamically resize and reflow to look great on any device.

      Pro Tip: Resist overstuffing templates with custom elements that detract from your core message. Find one perfect theme for your site, then focus on best practices for clean, scannable layouts relevant to your niche.

      Add Plugins To The Mix

      One advantage of open-source platforms like WordPress is being able to enhance the built-in, essential features using the hundreds of add-on plugins.

      screenshot of plugin options featuring Yoast SEO Premium, Sensei Pro, Woo Subscriptions, and WPBakery Page Builder

      Plugins are bits of third-party code you activate to add functionality without needing extensive development.

      There are plugins for everything imaginable — SEO plugins, slideshows, contact forms, pop ups, social sharing, reviews, audio embeds, and 50,000+ more free and premium options.

      Browse plugin dashboard on the platform you choose to find relevant tools, read reviews. Then install them with one click from your WordPress dashboard.

      Pro tip: It’s easy to go overboard with plugins and install too many of them. Keep a weekly or monthly schedule where you deactivate and delete any unused plugins to avoid cluttering up your website.

      Optimize For Mobile Devices

      Over 58% of all website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets versus desktops. If your site isn’t focusing on mobile responsiveness, you are alienating the majority of visitors.

      statista graph from 2023 showing optimization for mobile devices with a huge percentage growth around 2017, slight drop in 2019, and then steadily climbing through Q1 of 2023

      Thankfully, most modern platforms make mobile optimization turnkey through responsive frameworks and templates that intelligently adapt screen layouts based on a visitor’s device.

      You should still test your final site across various devices to catch any formatting hiccups. Use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test to catch issues.

      For additional guidance, Google’s Mobile Site Design covers core principles for flawless mobile experiences.

      Step 6: Add Engaging Content

      For visitors to stick around and convert into leads and customers, your website needs compelling content that speaks to their problems and interests. Here are a few tips to create engaging content in 2023 and beyond.

      Using Visual Media

      Instagram showed the world how powerful visuals and images can be. While text continues to be the primary medium for communication, images, infographics, animations, and video breathe life into websites while catering to different learning styles.

      When adding visuals:

      For video and audio, turn to multimedia-focused platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Their embedded players let you feature rich media while leveraging each network’s delivery infrastructure.

      Optimize Your Site For Search Engines

      Beyond visitors that type your URL directly into the browser, most discover websites through search engines like Google surfacing relevant results.

      That’s why SEO should be part of your strategy from day one.

      The good news is SEO strategies are largely about ensuring your content provides value around keywords and topics people actually search for. Do that well, and search engines will eventually surface your content. Here are some core SEO best practices to weave in as you build out your site:

      • Conduct keyword research to identify terms and questions with sufficient search volume that align with your offerings. Keyword planner tools like SEMRush and Ubersuggest help uncover SEO opportunities.
      • Create useful, original long-form content that answers search queries in more depth than competitors. Include related keywords throughout naturally.
      • Use descriptive slugs with target keywords when naming site pages rather than generic IDs.
      • Format content for scannability with bullets, bolded keywords, sub-headers, short paragraphs, etc. Break up dense blocks of text.
      • Enable SSL Encryption via HTTPS which boosts SEO rankings and breeds visitor trust.
      • Seamlessly embed multimedia like YouTube videos and Spotify podcasts. External media drives search visibility.
      • Build backlinks by having other reputable sites link back to your content over time, spreading domain authority.
      • Engage social media to amplify visibility as fans share your link. Encourage social actions with follow/share buttons.

      SEO can feel overwhelming, but if you just focus on providing genuine value around your niche topics, search visibility will come in time.

      Connect Google Analytics

      Understanding how visitors interact with your content is key for continually optimizing it. Install Google Analytics to identify visitor metrics like:

      screenshot of Google Analytics dashboard focusing in on "users in last 39 minutes" with a total of 38

      • Traffic source
      • Pages visited
      • Bounce rates
      • Conversion actions
      • Location demographics

      These behavioral insights and many more provided by Google Analytics can help you double down on popular pages while improving or removing underperforming sections based on real user data.

      Step 7: Review And Publish Your Site

      Before releasing your slick new website to the public internet, be sure to thoroughly test and review all pages to catch any lingering hiccups.

      • Check page speed metrics using Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix. Optimize images and use cache plugins to hit site loading benchmarks.
      • Verify all page links and site navigation menus work as expected on both desktop and mobile. Fix broken paths.
      • Spell-check all text content and test embedded media formats to prevent crashes.
      • Confirm security protections like SSL certificates are active and using the latest platform versions.
      • Review site on multiple browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox to catch CSS quirks.

      When everything looks polished and performs snappily, hit the publish button within your admin dashboard to move your site from staging to live.

      Give yourself a high five for all the vision, strategy, and elbow grease you’ve poured in. You’re now sharing your website with the world!

      Now focus on creating stellar content that attracts visitors while finding marketing opportunities to drive qualified organic traffic over time. You can also consider launching social channels to further amplify your web presence.

      Website Building FAQs

      Let’s wrap up with answers to some commonly asked questions about crafting your website:

      Is it easy to make a website?

      Thanks to intuitive drag-and-drop website builders and themes, anyone can build their site in 2024 without needing to code or hire a professional. And with the artificial-intelligence-based copywriting tools that are available, it’s all the easier to get started.

      That said, while launching a basic online presence is more accessible than ever, continually growing, optimizing, and sustaining a site in the long run still requires some learning and effort.

      Should I make my website or pay a web designer?

      If you have a strong vision and want full control over every aspect of your online presence and user experience, then designing your website can be incredibly rewarding.

      However, if designing is not your thing, hiring a web designer may be money well spent, allowing you to simply handle content and promotion.

      For simple personal sites and early-stage commercial projects, DIY site building is likely sufficient.

      If you’re launching a business website supporting your enterprise products and services, the upfront cost of custom development pays dividends in the long run.

      How much does it cost to build a website?

      The cost to build a website runs a huge gamut from $0 to millions depending on complexity, custom features, visual design needs, and whether you take the DIY approach.

      • At the low end, using WordPress Content Management System (CMS) and shared web hosting allows you to launch your site for less than $100/year.
      • Professionally designed WordPress sites tend to run $2,000 – $5,000+ with custom features and themes.
      • For an online store with product inventory, expect an investment between $6,000 – $15,000 to cover ecommerce functionality.
      • Large enterprise websites with extensive custom codebases and infrastructure needs can soar over $100k.

      Let’s Bring Your Website Vision To Life

      And that wraps up our complete, step-by-step guide on making your website from start to finish!

      By now, you should have a firm handle on crafting an effective site strategy, registering the perfect domain, finding affordable web hosting, and other steps for building a website.

      So, rather than feel intimidated looking at other amazing sites, know that everyone starts somewhere on their web-building journey. Stick with it month after month, continually experimenting and learning, and you’ll make incredible progress.

      The key is to not get overwhelmed but rather take the first step with an initial idea. Things will start coming together faster than you think. So now, it’s your time to take action!

      Create a Website for All

      We make sure your website is fast and secure so you can focus on the important stuff.

      shared hosting

      A Complete Guide to the nslookup Command


      The nslookup command is a useful tool for investigating domain name propagation issues. It allows users to obtain information regarding domain names and IP addresses from the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure. This guide introduces and explains how to use the nslookup command, and provides several examples.

      What is the nslookup Command?

      The name of the nslookup command is an abbreviated version of “name server lookup”. nslookup sends a request to the local domain name system server asking for information from its DNS records. In response, the DNS server returns the IP address or relevant domain information for a specific website or server. However, it can also return the domain associated with a particular IP address.

      The nslookup command can be used in either interactive or non-interactive mode. It is available on Linux, macOS, and Windows systems, and provides several useful options. The command relies on the underlying TCP/IP and networking system tools.

      Here are some of the main purposes of the nslookup command:

      • nslookup quickly returns the IP address for any domain. It is considered one of the best tools for troubleshooting DNS problems. It is especially handy for situations where the IP address of a domain has recently changed, but requests for the domain are not resolving.
      • It is used to investigate suspicious domains. A good example is a web address designed to closely mimic an existing domain, for instance, examp1e.com in place of example.com.
      • It can defend against cache poisoning in which invalid domain information is sent to secondary DNS servers, known as resolvers.

      How Do DNS Lookups Work?

      Each DNS server maintains a list of mappings between domain names and their associated IP addresses. When a DNS server receives a DNS request for a particular domain name from a web server, it translates the domain into an IP address. It then returns the address to the web server, which uses it to request the web page. Every internet client uses DNS services to properly transmit outgoing TCP/IP packets.

      Typically a DNS responds to a request by retrieving information from its cache. The cache is updated when updates are received. If the domain name entry for a particular domain has been recently changed, the server might not have received the updated information yet. In this event, the nslookup command still receives the outdated information from the DNS. This allows users to see what the local DNS record points to and determine whether the DNS update has propagated fully.

      The nslookup command typically sends its request to the local DNS server. However, an alternate DNS can be specified, such as the root system within the DNS zone. Not all servers are accessible because many internal DNS systems are private and do not respond to external requests. Therefore, private DNS servers don’t respond to external nslookup requests.

      Note

      In actual practice, there are two types of DNS services. A recursive DNS service, also known as a resolver, maintains a cache of the domain name mappings, but does not process any updates.

      In many networks, a resolver initially handles DNS queries. If it does not have the information, perhaps because the entry has aged out, it forwards the request to an authoritative DNS. Authoritative DNS systems maintain the master DNS records and are responsible for keeping the tables updated. The authoritative DNS returns the IP address to the resolver, which relays it back to the original web server. The resolver also caches the mapping for future requests.

      What Information Can the nslookup Command Retrieve?

      A DNS server maintains several different types of domain records, covering topics including reverse lookups, mail servers, and time-to-live settings. Here is a list of all the available DNS records.

      • Address (A) Record: Lists the IP address of the domain. Each address for the domain is described using a separate address record, so a domain can have multiple addresses and “A” records.
      • Canonical Name (CNAME) Record: Lists any aliases for the host.
      • Mail Exchange (MX) Record: Provides information about the mail servers within the domain.
      • Name Server (NS) Record: Lists all primary and secondary name servers for the domain.
      • Pointer (PTR) Record: A pointer record enables reverse lookups. It lists the host name associated with an IP address.
      • Start of Authority (SOA) Record: An SOA record indicates the most authoritative host for the DNS zone. A zone groups together multiple domains within the same organization.
      • Text (TXT) Record: A TXT record contains notes about the domain. Administrators often use this field to verify ownership and prevent spam.
      • Time-to-Live (TTL) Record: This setting indicates how long resolvers should cache the DNS information.

      Before You Begin

      1. If you have not already done so, create a Linode account and Compute Instance. See our
        Getting Started with Linode and
        Creating a Compute Instance guides.

      2. Follow our
        Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance guide to update your system. You may also wish to set the timezone, configure your hostname, create a limited user account, and harden SSH access.

      Note

      This guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you are not familiar with the sudo command, see the
      Users and Groups guide.

      How to Use the nslookup Command

      nslookup is available for the Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems. However, the syntax is structured slightly different on Windows. This guide focuses on how to use the command on Linux-based systems, but the commands are very similar on macOS. Information on how to use nslookup on Windows can be found in the
      Microsoft documentation.

      The nslookup command supports both interactive and non-interactive modes. Interactive mode is useful for script development, troubleshooting, and exploratory searches. The non-interactive command is better for quick searches for a single piece of information. The non-interactive command can be fully integrated into scripts and software applications.

      nslookup is pre-installed and ready-to-use on most Linux-based systems. If it is not, it easily can be installed from the command line.

      • Debain and Ubuntu:

        sudo apt-get install dnsutils
        
      • AlmaLinux, CentOS Stream, Fedora, and Rocky Linux:

        sudo dnf install bind-utils
        

      Using nslookup in Interactive Mode

      To use nslookup interactively, simply enter the command nslookup from a terminal with no additional parameters. The interactive prompt should appear.

      nslookup
      
      >

      Note

      If you receive an error message when running the nslookup command, the network services might have been stopped. Reboot the system to reinitialize the process.

      The interactive prompt accepts requests for server information without requiring the nslookup command. To use nslookup to find the IP address for the English-language Wikipedia domain, enter the following:

      en.wikipedia.org
      

      The local DNS server returns its own address along with information about the en.wikipedia.org domain. The reply lists the canonical name of the server and its Ipv4 and Ipv6 addresses:

      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      en.wikipedia.org	canonical name = dyna.wikimedia.org.
      Name:	dyna.wikimedia.org
      Address: 91.198.174.192
      Name:	dyna.wikimedia.org
      Address: 2620:0:862:ed1a::1

      Note

      This answer is said to be non-authoritative because it is provided by the local DNS, not the DNS associated with the domain.

      To change the request type, use the set directive and append the preferred option. The following example sets the type for all further requests to ns. This instructs the nslookup utility to request information about the name servers used within the domain.

      set type=ns
      

      When nslookup sends another query about the domain, a list of nameservers is retrieved.

      wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns0.wikimedia.org.
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns1.wikimedia.org.
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns2.wikimedia.org.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      To exit interactive mode, use the exit keyword.

      exit
      

      Using nslookup Non-interactively

      nslookup can also be used in non-interactive mode, in the same way as other Linux commands. To use the nslookup command non-interactively, use the format nslookup [options] domain_name. The command returns the same information it did in interactive mode. This is the correct mode to use in scripts and applications requiring accurate DNS information.

      To display basic information about a domain, enter the nslookup command and the name of the domain. This example displays the “A” records for the domain. An “A” record lists the IP addresses for a web host.

      nslookup wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 91.198.174.192
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 2620:0:862:ed1a::1

      To validate the results on a different DNS server, append the name of the server to the end of the command. This example requests the IP address of wikipedia.org directly from a Wikipedia name server. The response contains the authoritative answer for the domain.

      nslookup wikipedia.org ns0.wikimedia.org
      
      Server:		ns0.wikimedia.org
      Address:	208.80.154.238#53
      
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 91.198.174.192
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 2620:0:862:ed1a::1

      nslookup Examples

      Although users are most often searching for nameserver and IP address information, nslookup provides access to all DNS records. This section includes examples showing how to use nslookup to obtain more detailed DNS information.

      Specify the type of record to search for using the type option. Add the option -type=option_type directly after the nslookup directive and before any domain name. Replace option_type with the name of the record type. For instance, to view the nameservers for a domain, use -type=ns. The following example displays nameserver information for wikipedia.org.

      nslookup -type=ns  wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns0.wikimedia.org.
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns1.wikimedia.org.
      wikipedia.org	nameserver = ns2.wikimedia.org.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      To view mail server information for a domain, set the type to mx.

      nslookup -type=mx  wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      wikipedia.org	mail exchanger = 10 mx1001.wikimedia.org.
      wikipedia.org	mail exchanger = 10 mx2001.wikimedia.org.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      nslookup can also retrieve the official Start of Authority (SOA) record, containing vital information about the domain. This information includes the email address of the administrator and DNS parameters such as refresh time. Use -type=soa to search for this information.

      nslookup -type=soa wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      wikipedia.org
          origin = ns0.wikimedia.org
          mail addr = hostmaster.wikimedia.org
          serial = 2022030414
          refresh = 43200
          retry = 7200
          expire = 1209600
          minimum = 3600
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      It is often useful to compare SOA records between sites. The SOA record for amazon.com has much lower refresh and retry numbers, suggesting the domain information might change more frequently.

      nslookup -type=soa amazon.com
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      amazon.com
          origin = dns-external-master.amazon.com
          mail addr = root.amazon.com
          serial = 2010161662
          refresh = 180
          retry = 60
          expire = 3024000
          minimum = 60
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      The TXT records are used to validate domain information. Use -type=txt to retrieve this information.

      nslookup -type=txt wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      wikipedia.org	text = "google-site-verification=AMHkgs-4ViEvIJf5znZle-BSE2EPNFqM1nDJGRyn2qk"
      wikipedia.org	text = "yandex-verification: 35c08d23099dc863"
      wikipedia.org	text = "v=spf1 include:wikimedia.org ~all"
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      Use the option -type=any to view the full DNS records for a domain.

      nslookup -type=any google.com
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      Name:	google.com
      Address: 216.58.212.206
      Name:	google.com
      Address: 2a00:1450:4009:81e::200e
      google.com	mail exchanger = 10 smtp.google.com.
      google.com	nameserver = ns4.google.com.
      google.com	nameserver = ns3.google.com.
      google.com	nameserver = ns1.google.com.
      google.com	nameserver = ns2.google.com.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      Note

      Some domains are not configured to return all information in response to this request, and only return the name servers. In this case, you must request each type of record separately.

      It’s also possible to ask for information about a particular name server. Use nslookup and the name of the domain, along with the canonical name of the name server. This example demonstrates how to find out details about Wikipedia’s ns0.wikimedia.org name server.

      nslookup wikipedia.org ns0.wikimedia.org
      
      Server:		ns0.wikimedia.org
      Address:	208.80.154.238#53
      
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 91.198.174.192
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 2620:0:862:ed1a::1

      To debug the information from nslookup, use the -debug flag. Debug mode displays the queries sent to the DNS server along with the replies received in response.

      nslookup -debug wikipedia.org
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      ------------
          QUESTIONS:
          wikipedia.org, type = A, class = IN
          ANSWERS:
          ->  wikipedia.org
          internet address = 91.198.174.192
          ttl = 600
          AUTHORITY RECORDS:
          ADDITIONAL RECORDS:
      ------------
      Non-authoritative answer:
      Name:	wikipedia.org
      Address: 91.198.174.192
      ------------
          QUESTIONS:
          wikipedia.org, type = AAAA, class = IN
          ANSWERS:
          ->  wikipedia.org
          has AAAA address 2620:0:862:ed1a::1
          ttl = 600
          AUTHORITY RECORDS:
          ADDITIONAL RECORDS:
      ------------
      Name: wikipedia.org
      Address: 2620:0:862:ed1a::1

      For more information on the list of available nslookup options, consult the
      Linux man page.

      Note

      Most DNS requests are sent and received using TCP port 53. To request DNS information from a different port, use the -port flag, for example nslookup -port=55 wikipedia.org. In most cases DNS servers are configured to refuse these requests, resulting in the error message communications error to 127.0.0.53#55: connection refused.

      How to Use nslookup for Reverse Lookups

      Although nslookup can find the IP address for a domain, it can also reveal the domain mapped to an IP address. This is referred to as a reverse DNS lookup. To perform a reverse lookup, apply the nslookup command to the IP address under investigation. The following example illustrates how to find the domain that is mapped to the address 91.198.174.192.

      Note

      The output displays the IP address in reverse order, so 91.198.174.192 is transposed to 192.174.198.91 in the display. The octets are presented in reverse order due to complex technical reasons involving the in-addr.arpa domain tree specification.

      nslookup 91.198.174.192
      
      192.174.198.91.in-addr.arpa	name = text-lb.esams.wikimedia.org.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      A second alternative is to use the -type=ptr option and the address in reverse order to find the domain. The pointer record confirms the domain owns the address in question.

      nslookup -type=ptr 192.174.198.91.in-addr.arpa
      
      Server:		127.0.0.53
      Address:	127.0.0.53#53
      
      Non-authoritative answer:
      192.174.198.91.in-addr.arpa	name = text-lb.esams.wikimedia.org.
      
      Authoritative answers can be found from:

      Conclusion

      The nslookup command is used to discover DNS information about a domain. It can work in either interactive or non-interactive mode, and is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows servers. nslookup can return the IP address for a domain, along with information about its nameservers, mail servers, and State of Authority record. It can also handle reverse DNS lookups for translating an IP address into a domain. For more information, see the
      Linux nslookup man page.

      More Information

      You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information
      on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be
      useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of
      externally hosted materials.



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      On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO: Complete Guide & Essential Tips


      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex and ever-evolving field that can certainly be confusing for beginners — and understandably so. With over 200 ranking factors and new “rules” being added by search engines all the time, it can be tough to know where to start.

      Well we’re here to shine the light on the situation for you. You see, there are two main “categories” of SEO — on-page and off-page. One refers to things you can directly control such as optimizing your website’s title tags and headings, while the other refers to external signals such as others linking to and sharing content from your site.

      When you understand the foundations of these distinct optimization types, you’ll be able to develop a comprehensive and balanced SEO strategy. Knowing how to cover all your bases, from image optimization to link building, can help ensure your site’s organic search success.

      In this complete guide, we’ll introduce you to SEO basics and explain the difference between on and off-page SEO. Then, we’ll share different ways you can improve both to boost your site’s rankings. Let’s get started!

      Why SEO Is Important for All Websites

      Before we get into the specifics of on-page and off-page SEO, let’s discuss the importance of search engine optimization more broadly.

      On a daily basis, the average online user will conduct a wide variety of searches on the web. From looking up directions to the nearest shoe store, to learning exactly how many steps are in the Eiffel Tower, most of us turn to the search bar as a reflex. In fact, more than 50% of online traffic comes from organic search.

      When it comes down to it, SEO is so important because all websites have the same goal – to be found and seen. A web page’s search rankings have the power to drive traffic, generate leads, and boost conversions. Therefore, SEO is relevant to almost every aspect of your online marketing strategy.

      The Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO

      Now that we’ve covered the SEO basics, let’s dive into the differences between on-page and off-page SEO.

      What Is On-Page SEO?

      Also known as ‘on-site SEO’, on-page SEO is pretty self-explanatory. It refers to all the page ranking factors you can manipulate or optimize on your website. These elements can include the content on your product and service pages, blog posts, landing pages, and microsites.

      On-page SEO encompasses title tags, meta descriptions, heading structure, content, image optimization, accessibility, and overall website performance.

      What Is Off-Page SEO?

      As you might expect, off-page SEO or ‘off-site SEO’ includes all page ranking factors beyond your website.

      For instance, ‘backlinks’ (or ‘inbound’ links) are links on other web pages that direct back to your website. When your site has lots of backlinks from credible sites, they can benefit your search rankings because these pages can pass on some of their authority to you.

      This is a classic example of off-page SEO, but there’s more to it. Off-page SEO is not as straightforward as on-page SEO. However, it includes concrete SEO strategies for social media, domain authority, and more.

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      10 Ways to Improve On-Page SEO

      It’s time to go into more detail for on-page SEO. Here are 10 factors to consider when optimizing your web pages for SEO!

      1. Create High Quality Content

      Creating high quality content is one of the most effective strategies for boosting your chances of appearing higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). After all, Google’s algorithms are designed to provide users with only the best and most relevant content.

      Keep in mind that quality includes everything from appearance to practicality. Your ultimate goal should be to create visually appealing, accurate content that will serve a useful purpose.

      For instance, if you are starting a blog, you might want to make sure you have a clear niche and stick to it. That way, you can work on growing your knowledge and establishing credibility in your subject area:

      gardening website example of high quality content

      Similarly, you’ll want to produce new blog posts regularly because readers and Googlebots alike favor fresh content. You may also want to develop a brand style guide and reference it when creating new content. This way, your audience can feel reassured by consistency.

      Calls to Action (CTAs) are also vital if you want your content to inspire your readers to make a move. Other indicators of high-quality material include images and reader-friendly text, but we’ll dive more into those later.

      2. Use Target Keywords

      Using target keywords on your page is one of the most straightforward SEO tactics you can implement. However, you’ll need to consider your intended audience before you can find target keywords.

      For example, if you run a craft blog, your ideal reader might be parents of children under 12. You could hone it down further to parents in the Pacific Northwest. Once you know your audience, you can find target keywords using tools such as Google Keyword Planner.

      You can start by introducing keywords that you anticipate your target audience may use. Then, see what similar words and phrases are produced. Choosing keywords with high monthly search volumes but low to medium competition is often best.

      It’s also wise to choose a diverse range of keyword types and lengths. For example, you may decide to use some shorter, medium-competition words. On top of that, you could select some lengthier keywords that are highly specific. These are called ‘long-tail keywords.’

      For example, if you run a candy store in Wisconsin, you might choose ‘candy shop’ and ‘candy store’. Then, for long-tail keywords, you could use ‘best candy shop in Milwaukee’:

      Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool
      Google Keyword Planner

      Once you have your keywords, you can place them anywhere on your site. You can add these phrases to blog posts, your About Us page description, product details, and anywhere else you like. However, you’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing.

      Essentially, you can use keywords anywhere you see text on the front end of your site. We’ll get into less visible locations for keywords later.

      3. Optimize Images

      Users prefer high-quality images, and search bots favor lightweight, SEO-optimized ones. Let’s consider a few ways you can ensure your photos are helping your search engine rankings.

      To start, it’s best if images are clear and high-resolution. Beyond that, you can compress image files so they are not large and heavy. Whenever possible, you may want to use a compression tool such as TinyPNG:

      TinyPNG online image compression tool

      This free tool enables you to shrink down PNG, JPG, and WebP files so that they don’t slow your site’s loading times (more on this later).

      Another simple way to optimize images is by adding ‘alt text’ (alternative text). Simply put, alt text is a summary of an image that users on the front end can’t see. It serves two essential purposes.

      Firstly, alt text increases your site’s accessibility by enabling users with impaired vision or complete loss of sight to interact with images. Assistive technologies (such as dictation tools) can help some visitors listen to the descriptions of your visual media files. Furthermore, bots can’t see pictures, but they can read the alt text.

      How you add alt text will depend on the Content Management System (CMS) you use. With WordPress, the process is simple. When editing your site in the Block Editor, just select the block for an image and find Alt text in its settings. Here, you can easily type in a brief image description and input some relevant keywords.

      4. Create Internal Links

      Whether you run a blog or a multi-page website, you will likely deal with many unique links. An ‘internal’ link is a URL that leads to another page on your website. For instance, you may have a footer with links to your blog, contact page, and other essential information.

      When creating your web pages, it’s a good idea to include internal links wherever possible. Of course, this process should always be done naturally. These internal links are crucial because web crawlers use them to jump from page to page while scanning information.

      In fact, if one of your web pages doesn’t have any internal links leading to it, it’s considered an ‘orphan page’. Search bots can’t find it. Therefore, it can’t be indexed, and it definitely can’t be ranked.

      Furthermore, internal links can keep users on your website for longer. This increased time on page may lead to conversions, lead generation, and more. Lastly, and most importantly, internal links help provide a positive UX.

      For instance, in a blog post explaining a complex subject, it might make sense to link to another one of your articles elaborating on a related concept. Additionally, internal links can help users navigate around your site as they search for specific details, such as contact information.

      5. Optimize Permalinks

      While we’re on the subject of URLs, let’s discuss permalinks. These are the permanent URLs that represent your pages, and they are also crucial for strong SEO.

      When creating new pages, you’ll want to ensure that your URLs are straightforward and intuitive. For example, if your domain is mywebsite.com, your other pages might have URLs like mywebsite.com/about and mywebsite.com/contact.

      If you run a blog, your URLs may need to explain more complex information, but remember to keep things simple.

      For instance, for an article titled “How to Declutter Your Bathroom in 10 Simple Steps”, using the full title would be too lengthy. Instead, you could use mywebsite.com/declutter-bathroom-guide.

      Using concise permalinks is best. In fact, certain ‘stop words’ (prepositions, articles, connectors) are ignored by search engine bots. Therefore, they should be left out. It’s also wise to include any relevant keywords in your permalinks.

      6. Consider Readability

      Whether your content is brief or lengthy, readability is an important ranking factor. Your articles and pages should be well-written. It’s best to write directly and concisely, using shorter sentences and vocabulary that fit your audience.

      Additionally, you can use headings and subheadings to organize your content. These elements are essential if you’re producing lengthy how-to guides or listicles:

      WordPress heading structure

      Headings also create more opportunities to insert relevant keywords. Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure that sections are neither too short nor too lengthy. Quality content tends to be skimmable without large blocks of text. You can also use those high-quality images we mentioned before to break up the text.

      7. Utilize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

      Meta tags are bits of HTML code that signal to search engines how they should read your content.

      Title tags and meta descriptions are examples of these, and key for helping search engines understand how to rank your website’s content. These meta tags generate information that will appear to users in the search results and might encourage them to click on your page.

      Here’s an example of a title tag:

      example of title tag appearing in web browser tab

      Now let’s look lower down the page to see a meta description:

      meta description example in Google search results

      These elements are critical if you want to boost your search engine rankings. Without them, your page’s content will be advertised with a chunk of the first paragraph on the page. Furthermore, web users will have a hard time navigating back to your page when using multiple tabs in their browser.

      To easily add title tags and meta descriptions to your posts, you might want to try out a free WordPress SEO plugin. Yoast SEO and All In One SEO (AIOSEO) are popular choices.

      8. Monitor Site Performance 

      Site performance also plays a crucial role in search engine rankings. Here, we’re mainly talking about speed.

      As you can imagine, users looking at the search results don’t want to be led to pages that are slow or don’t work correctly. In fact, Google has created what it calls Core Web Vitals. It assesses page loading times, interactivity, and page stability to give you a Core Web Vitals score.

      If you’d like to check how your site performs, you can test it using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights:

      Google PageSpeed Insights - Core Web Vitals Results

      Simply enter your website’s URL and see how it does. If your site needs some performance improvements, you can try implementing caching or lazy loading. Even better, you could ensure that your web host uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN), though this may require changing hosts.

       

      9. Prioritize User Experience (UX)

      As we approach the end of our on-page SEO strategies, it’s time to discuss UX. This concept is behind most other optimization tactics because the ultimate goal is to make a website more user-friendly.

      On top of quality, performance, readability, and strong internal linking, there are a few more specific ways to create a positive UX for your site’s visitors.

      A huge part of UX is linked to usability. Therefore, smooth navigation is particularly important.

      To make exploring a multi-page website easier, it’s best to use a prominent navigation menu either at the top or left of your page:

      example of accessible website navigation

      Additionally, you may want to create a search bar feature and include helpful links in your footer. All these elements help users navigate around your site without scrolling.

      10. Optimize Pages for Mobile Devices

      Last but not least, if you want your pages to rank at the top of the search engine results, they must be mobile-optimized. This is because most internet users prefer to use their smartphones or other handheld devices.

      There are currently more than 4.9 billion mobile internet users globally, and the number is growing. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Google declares mobile-friendliness a must for SEO. Plus, with the rise of m-commerce, any online businesses that neglect their mobile visitors are likely to miss out on significant sales.

      There are a few very simple ways to ensure your website is mobile-optimized. For starters, you can opt for a mobile-friendly WordPress theme. That way, you can set it and forget it.

      If you expect to customize your site extensively, you may want to use a WordPress page builder that has mobile previewing and modification settings:

      BeaverBuilder website page builder tool

      Beaver Builder is a popular choice that offers responsive designs and editing features. It’s also easy to use with a drag-and-drop interface.

      How to Improve Off-Page SEO (3 Essential Techniques)

      Now that you know everything about on-site SEO, let’s explore how you can improve your rankings by other means. Keep in mind that the following section is briefer, simply because you have more control over on-page than off-page SEO.

      1. Build Backlinks (Domain Authority)

      Backlinks to your site show Google that your content is credible. That’s why building backlinks can enhance your website’s ‘domain authority’. Your site accumulates a positive reputation through how many backlinks it has.

      Gaining backlinks takes time and quality content, but you can use some measures to actively participate in the process. For instance, you can write guest posts for other credible blogs in your niche and link to your content

      You can also monitor your site’s mentions online and request that any unlinked instances be credited. Furthermore, some common formats that get linked to include how-to guides, “best of” listicles, and even infographics.

      Ahrefs

      You’ll want to be careful not to participate in anything shady when building your inbound links because you can be penalized by Google. Since backlinks require time and effort, we recommend using tools such as Ahrefs, which has a backlink checker.

      2. Support Social Proof

      Another way to build trustworthiness is to provide simple evidence. ‘Social proof’ typically refers to things like reviews and testimonials.

      You can create a Google Business Profile for your company or website to gain social proof. This platform has a review feature built-in:

      Google Local Search results

      Other types of content marketing can also serve as social proof. For instance, conducting a survey and then publishing your findings is excellent evidence of your legitimacy and professionalism.

      Additional forms of social proof include testimonials and partnerships with other credible brands or individuals. For example, some companies collaborate with influencers in their niche to build more social proof.

      3. Grow Your Online Presence on Social Media

      On the subject of influencers, social media is perhaps one of the most important channels where e-commerce businesses can further build their off-page SEO.

      That’s because you can share quality content on any social media platforms you use. This material can include stunning images, target keywords, and links:

      Instagram business page

      Ultimately, social media is the place to build a brand, so we recommend developing an entirely separate (and complementary) social media strategy. All of these efforts will contribute to your off-page SEO because social media posts and pages can appear in search results.

      However, you’ll want to consider which platforms your target audience uses. For instance, if you are appealing to millennials, you might want to focus on Instagram. Whereas with a younger audience, you may prioritize creating content for TikTok.

      Improve Your Site’s Visibility Using On-Page and Off-Page SEO

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex and dynamic field. That can make it challenging to get started with both on-page and off-page SEO strategies. However, it’s essential to prioritize these optimization methods to boost your website’s visibility.

      When it comes to on-page optimization, you can start small, implementing keywords, internal links, and high-quality content. Later, you can advance to elements such as title tags and meta descriptions. For off-page optimization, backlinks, testimonials, and a strong social media presence are essential.

      If you’re a beginner in SEO,  you might want to forget the site audits and leave them to the professionals. Check out our DreamHost Pro Services and free up your time to focus on the creative side of your business. We offer specific plans for SEO marketing that will help you rank higher on SERPs. Plus, we have an SEO toolkit to take your site to the next level!

      Search Engine Optimization Made Easy

      We take the guesswork (and actual work) out of growing your website traffic with SEO.

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