10 votes

Basic hosting questions

Hi all,

New to hosting and trying to stumble through my first purchase of a domain name so I can host my personal website. I had a few questions I'm hoping someone could help me with.

First, I've just purchased a new (.xyz) domain. The registry is asking me to provide government-issued identification before being given access to it. Is this typical when registering a new domain?

Second, once I've got the domain name working properly, I'll need to host the files on either a VPS or on my own devices and then link the domain name to the proper IP address. Is that right?

Thanks for any help!

EDIT: I've added the TLD associated with the domain name I'm trying to purchase.

18 comments

  1. [4]
    Keegan
    Link
    Note that you don't need a VPS if you are making a static site for yourself and not running any other services for it. You can use GitHub/GitLab pages or a service like Netlify to host a static...

    Note that you don't need a VPS if you are making a static site for yourself and not running any other services for it.

    You can use GitHub/GitLab pages or a service like Netlify to host a static page for free.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      tempestoftruth
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Right now, I'm interested in a setup that can expand to host more than just static pages (although that's where I'm starting for simplicity's sake), e.g. a Matrix server, hosting RSS or email....

      Right now, I'm interested in a setup that can expand to host more than just static pages (although that's where I'm starting for simplicity's sake), e.g. a Matrix server, hosting RSS or email. That being said, if I end up deciding the extra stuff is too much hassle, GitLab pages sounds like a great alternative. Thanks!

      2 votes
      1. admicos
        Link Parent
        Also, there isn't any "limits" (?) on where you can point your domains. You can point your normal domain to a static site hoster while pointing any subdomains (e.g: matrix.example.xyz) to a custom...

        Also, there isn't any "limits" (?) on where you can point your domains. You can point your normal domain to a static site hoster while pointing any subdomains (e.g: matrix.example.xyz) to a custom server (or another host, or w/e). Might be useful to know

        6 votes
      2. acdw
        Link Parent
        You can also start with Git{hub,lab} pages with a custom domain and then move to a VPS later. That's the great thing about owning a domain -- you can shift it around whenever.

        You can also start with Git{hub,lab} pages with a custom domain and then move to a VPS later. That's the great thing about owning a domain -- you can shift it around whenever.

        4 votes
  2. [3]
    acdw
    Link
    As far as (1) is concerned, I think it probably depends on the top-level domain (.com, .is, etc.) and the company you're working with. I've never had to provide a government ID for my .net, but...

    As far as (1) is concerned, I think it probably depends on the top-level domain (.com, .is, etc.) and the company you're working with. I've never had to provide a government ID for my .net, but some TLDs (especially country-code ones) have requirements like you have to live in the country or something, so I could see why they'd need an ID. Could also be some kind of info-gathering though. I'm honestly not sure about that.

    I'm responding, though, because I do know the answer to (2) somewhat. The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is this: once you have the domain name, you'll need to configure the DNS records for it -- that's what maps the domain name (example.com) with an IP address (127.0.0.1, i.e., an actual computer). A VPS will work, if your ISP lets you (mine doesn't, I'm bitter), a computer at home will work (though you might need another service like no-ip.com or dyndns.com sitting in between, since residential IPs change sometimes), and sometimes other stuff will too. My email provider, FastMail, can set up DNS records for a domain for you if you want them to, for example. I'm sure there's others.

    I hope that makes some sense! As a disclaimer, I am not a professional ... I have a personal website for fun and a VPS set up too. What I'm telling you is what I know, but I might be wrong.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      tempestoftruth
      Link Parent
      Exactly what I'm worried about, not necessarily because it's actively malicious but it just seems unnecessary. It's a .xyz, not a country-code TLD so I'm quite confused about being asked to...

      Could also be some kind of info-gathering though. I'm honestly not sure about that.

      Exactly what I'm worried about, not necessarily because it's actively malicious but it just seems unnecessary. It's a .xyz, not a country-code TLD so I'm quite confused about being asked to provide the ID.

      A VPS will work, if your ISP lets you (mine doesn't, I'm bitter), a computer at home will work (though you might need another service like no-ip.com or dyndns.com sitting in between, since residential IPs change sometimes)

      Guess I'll need to check out what my ISP's policies are. It is unfortunate yours won't let you self-host, I think that's really what I'd prefer to do so I'm hoping that's not the case with mine. Either way, thank you for the advice!

      4 votes
      1. acdw
        Link Parent
        Then it's 100% a ploy unless .xyz's policies have changed since a few years ago. I registered a .xyz (it's since lapsed) and I didn't have to provide an ID. I'd definitely have remembered if I...

        It's a .xyz

        Then it's 100% a ploy unless .xyz's policies have changed since a few years ago. I registered a .xyz (it's since lapsed) and I didn't have to provide an ID. I'd definitely have remembered if I did. I'd suggest finding a different registrar if you can. You should be able to transfer a domain for a fee.

        It is unfortunate yours won't let you self-host

        Yes it is! You're welcome :)

        4 votes
  3. [6]
    autumn
    Link
    Which registrar are you going through for the domain? What TLD (.com, .org, etc) are you purchasing?

    The registry is asking me to provide government-issued identification before being given access to it.

    Which registrar are you going through for the domain? What TLD (.com, .org, etc) are you purchasing?

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      tempestoftruth
      Link Parent
      I'm purchasing a .xyz domain. They say their system flagged my purchase as fraud, and the ID requirement is just to ensure there isn't any funny business going on. I'm a little skeptical of what...

      I'm purchasing a .xyz domain. They say their system flagged my purchase as fraud, and the ID requirement is just to ensure there isn't any funny business going on. I'm a little skeptical of what about my transaction would have triggered their systems as 'fradulent', since I hadn't heard of needing to provide ID for a domain before.

      2 votes
      1. stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Definitely not a normal thing. However, domain names are often bought by shady parties, because they need to phish someone or to put up their scam website, so it wouldn't surprise me that much if...

        Definitely not a normal thing. However, domain names are often bought by shady parties, because they need to phish someone or to put up their scam website, so it wouldn't surprise me that much if they have some systems in place that auto filter certain countries.

        7 votes
      2. Adys
        Link Parent
        Go with another registrar. I recommend gandi.net.

        Go with another registrar. I recommend gandi.net.

        3 votes
      3. [2]
        autumn
        Link Parent
        Yeah, that’s odd. Not sure what to tell you.

        Yeah, that’s odd. Not sure what to tell you.

        2 votes
        1. tempestoftruth
          Link Parent
          Oops, I hadn't realized I didn't respond to your first question. The registrar I was trying to purchase from was gen.xyz, I decided to purchase from there since I didn't know which domain services...

          Oops, I hadn't realized I didn't respond to your first question. The registrar I was trying to purchase from was gen.xyz, I decided to purchase from there since I didn't know which domain services were reliable and that domain is listed on the .xyz Wikipedia page as the TLD's registrar, so I figured it would be fine.

          I've decided to try another registrar like others have recommended, it's unreasonable to ask me for more PII when I've already given them so much.

          1 vote
  4. tomf
    Link
    Check out porkbun.com to register. So long as your info appears to be correct, you shouldn't have to submit any identification. $1 for the first year, $9 for renewals.

    Check out porkbun.com to register. So long as your info appears to be correct, you shouldn't have to submit any identification. $1 for the first year, $9 for renewals.

    3 votes
  5. dmje
    Link
    As others have said, you don't need a VPS. Just some hosting of whatever type you need. Netlify or GitHub pages are free and worth a look, but you might need some nerd help :-)

    As others have said, you don't need a VPS. Just some hosting of whatever type you need. Netlify or GitHub pages are free and worth a look, but you might need some nerd help :-)

    3 votes
  6. jcdl
    Link
    Weird, I just registered a handful of .xyz domains during Namecheap's sale and had no issues, but I guess they already know me as an addicted domain collector. I personally think that hosting on a...

    Weird, I just registered a handful of .xyz domains during Namecheap's sale and had no issues, but I guess they already know me as an addicted domain collector.

    I personally think that hosting on a VPS is a fine idea, even if GitHub/Lab pages would otherwise suit your needs. I've been doing it for years, but for something long lived I'd probably use something simpler and easier, so I wouldn't have to worry about uptime. I like running my own code on my server, so I don't really have a choice. It's also nice to be able to use whatever *nix distribution you want, for the most part.

    I recommend Digital Ocean, Linode or Vultr with Cloudflare's free DNS, although I do also like Digital Ocean's DNS system.

    As for hosting things on your own device, don't do it. Your ISP probably has rules against hosting stuff from your IP, and it's probably a dynamic IP, which causes fragility and headaches. Residential ISPs don't have great uptime compared to datacenters and you will also have to manage your own hardware.

    I have some servers in my basement, but I don't host anything public facing from them because of the security risks and hassle.

    3 votes
  7. tylermenezes
    Link
    Some TLDs, like .es, do require it, but I own a few .xyz domains and have never been asked. It might be a fraud protection thing? Basically, yes. To "link" it, you'll add either an "A" or "CNAME"...

    I've just purchased a new (.xyz) domain. The registry is asking me to provide government-issued identification

    Some TLDs, like .es, do require it, but I own a few .xyz domains and have never been asked. It might be a fraud protection thing?

    I'll need to host the files on either a VPS or on my own devices and then link the domain name to the proper IP address.

    Basically, yes. To "link" it, you'll add either an "A" or "CNAME" DNS record. If your registrar doesn't offer the ability to add DNS records directly, you may need to use a third-party DNS service. Cloudflare is a pretty popular free one.

    If you're just hosting some static files that don't change much, there are a bunch of services that might be a better fit than setting up your own server, which is somewhat complicated. Amazon Web Services S3 is complicated to set up, but very cheap for many casual use cases. I personally got started on NearlyFreeSpeech.net, which is both simple and cheap, although I haven't used them in 10-15 years.

    3 votes
  8. mxuribe
    Link
    You're correct that you will need to point your domain name to a server that is internet-accessible. And, servers on the internet are identified at their most basic way via IP addresses. This is...

    You're correct that you will need to point your domain name to a server that is internet-accessible. And, servers on the internet are identified at their most basic way via IP addresses. This is because when your potential visitors (or maybe only you if you expect to use it just for yourself) go to YourDomain.xyz, the routers all around the internet need to know where to point the visitors (to which server on the 'net).
    Hosting things at home comes with annoyances and risks, and is likely best left to folks who really want to experiment, and know what risks they take with this experimentation...Annoyances because your isp might actively block your ability to host some services, apps...and you might go down a rabbit hole trying to solve tech issues (thinking that your system is the problem) oblivious to the fact that it was your isp blocking/mucking things up the whole time. Also, risks because once you host a website or any public-facing service, you invite unknown, shady people (and bots, oh my goodness the bots!) to try and break into your systems. (Botnets don't materialize from nothing; they arise from unsecured home computers including laptops, desktop, and servers!) Admittedly, this may not be the end of the world, merely that exposing services raises exposure of your home computer systems (read: headaches).
    A vps/hosting provider might be your best bet. My suggestion is to look for a nice combo of low pricing and tech tutorials/tech support. I use Digital Ocean for both personal and pro projects, and their pricing is fair, and they have lots of well-written tutorials. But they are definitely not the only good providers. I've also heard great things about linode, hetzner, ovh, etc. The reason i suggest low prices is because you don't want to spend loads of money if your needs are minimal. Start low, and only increase things as you feel you need them. It makes no sense wasting your money on some super/beefy server for meager needs. For my main vps at digital ocean i host over a handful of static sites, and numerous little apps that i make for my personal use, plus my family's personal nextcloud instance (see nextcloud.com for description)...and all of that on a $5/month vps (literally the cheapest offering at digital ocean)...because i'm not hosting this stuff for hundreds or thousands of people- only me and my family...And, other providers are even less monthly cost! The other reason i suggested going for lowest priced providers is because the biggest "expenditure" will be your time. Your time in learning all this stuff is where you will/should spend the most time...that's why i suggest looking for a vps/hosting provider that has some tutorials, or at least decent tech support., to help with a little hand holding.