Table of Contents
1. Register Your Domain
If this is your first time building a website, you'll need a domain. You can skip to the next item on the checklist if you already have a domain. A domain name is your website name, e.g., cloudways.icu. It is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website.
How to Buy a Domain?
You can use any domain registrar to register your domain. The popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, NameCheap, and DreamHost.
2. Launch Your Application and Server
Next, you must launch your application and a server at Cloudways Platform if you haven't yet. You can launch an application and host it either on a new server or on an existing server. You can learn which web applications you can host at Cloudways.
Cloudways offers world-class and top-notch cloud providers. You can learn which cloud infrastructure provider you should choose.
If you are going to migrate your website to Cloudways, you can request managed application migration, where our cloud experts do the heavy lifting and move your website in one piece. You can also migrate your WordPress website using a free migrator plugin.
After you launch your application, you can test your site and explore its functionality. Once you're ready to take your site live with your domain, you can go ahead and proceed to the next item.
3. Map Your Domain & Manage DNS Records
Now, it's time to take your site live with your domain. This involves simple steps, such as adding your domain(s) to the Cloudways Platform and pointing those domains to Cloudways using the DNS records.
From the top menu bar, open Servers.
Next, choose the server where your desired application is deployed.
Next, choose your application name.
Under Application Management, select Domain Management.
Next, click Add Domain.
Now, add your domain. You can add a root domain, e.g., cloudways.icu or a subdomain, e.g., support.cloudways.icu. Alternatively, you can add a WildCard domain, e.g., *.cloudways.icu, which covers all the subdomains simultaneously instead of adding each domain individually.
Once done, click Add Domain.
Adding a root domain, e.g., cloudways.icu, will automatically cover the domain with a www alias.
If you have any additional domains associated with the same application, e.g., cloudways.co.uk or app.cloudways.icu, you can add them here by clicking Add Domain. These additional domains will be added as an alias.
Next, you need to make one of your domains a primary domain. Then, all the other domains will be added as an alias. You can learn about the differences between primary and alias domains.
You navigate to your desired domain and click ⋮ More Options. Next, select Make Primary to make your domain a primary domain.
Next, click Set as Primary to confirm the selection.
Next, you need to add your DNS records (A Records). We have also created a guide about creating A records. which are used to point your domain to your Cloudways server to take your website live.
In this tutorial, we have used Namecheap to add and manage our DNS records. Of course, you can also use any DNS registrar of your choice, but the process should be identical.
Please note that the domain registrar is the company from where you purchased your domain, while the DNS records can be hosted at the same domain registrar or any third-party service.
If you don't want to point DNS records, you can subscribe to DNS Made Easy Add-on for hassle-free DNS management, where we manage your DNS records.
4. Secure Your Site Using HTTPS
This is an essential step in your journey to build your website; an unsecured website is very vulnerable and risky for your customers and online activity. Learn what SSL/TLS is and why you should use it.
Cloudways Platform offers an out-of-the-box Free Let's Encrypt SSL Certificate for all your applications, so you are secured from day one. Let's Encrypt Certificates are free and get automatically renewed upon expiry. Alternatively, you can also use your Custom SSL certificate, which must be bought from any Certificate Authority (CA) or certificate vendor.
We have created video tutorials on enabling HTTPS on single and multiple domains.
Once your SSL certificate is configured, you must ensure HTTPS redirection is in place. Cloudways Platform will prompt you to do this right after installing the SSL certificate, or you can manually force HTTPS redirection through application settings later.
5. Configure Email Add-ons
Transactional emails refer to automated emails triggered by your application, including shipping confirmation, password reset links, notifications, and updates. These emails require a gateway from where to be sent; else, they will be sent directly from your server, which is not a recommended method and primarily risks being tagged as spam.
If you send emails from your server (1-3000 emails/month), you can use free services like Gmail SMTP; however, if you continuously need to send numerous emails per month, we recommend you use our inexpensive ElasticEmail add-on or other alternate services like Sendgrid, Mailgun, or any Custom SMTP Add-on.
How to Set up a Personal Mailbox
If you need a mailbox for your domain (e.g., email@example.com) to send and receive emails, we have partnered with Rackspace to offer you their reliable mailboxes at great discounts. You can configure your Rackspace Email Add-on using the Cloudways Platform. The best part about the Rackspace mailbox is that you can easily configure it with your favourite mail clients to send and receive emails.
6. Set up Cloudflare Enterprise
The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is for mission-critical applications critical to your business. Integrating the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on with your application allows you to access 200+ unique locations for the Global Content Delivery Network, an intelligent website firewall, and many performances and security features. Whether you are a small, medium, or large-sized business, the Enterprise plan is the right choice.
You can learn more about Cloudflare and why you should use the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.
That's it! We hope this article was helpful. If you need any help, then feel free to search your query on Cloudways Support Center or contact us via chat (Need a Hand > Send us a Message). Alternatively, you can also create a support ticket.
Try managed DigitalOcean hosting at Cloudways Platform to experience top-notch performance, simplicity, and flexibility with Cloudways. In addition, Cloudways removes all your server administration and maintenance hassles, so you remain focused on your business.