A Domain of One's Own



Audrey Watters, posted a piece called "The Web We Need to Give Students". You should go there, now, and read her post.

No. Really. Go read it. It’s about 1700 words; that’s about 6 minutes.

There she describes the University of Mary Washington’s Domain of One’s Own initiative. Students there can, at no cost to themselves, register their own domain, which the University will host while they are students. When students graduate, the domain stays in their possession and they can keep their domain and all of the data when they go.

Did you read it? For the TL;DR crowd, I will quote this section:

Given that I, for the first time since 1995, work at a university where neither students nor faculty can run their own servers on the school’s internet connection, I do not see my university being so "radical" any time soon. So, I recommend that you make your own radical move. Register your own domain. Set up your very own wordpress.org server.

There are lots of ways to do this, but one that I would recommend is Reclaim Hosting. Using this link or entering “literatecomputing” as a Promotional code will give you 20% off and give me a 10% credit.) For $25 ($20 with discount) you can register a domain and get hosting for a whole year. This is a great deal, and cheaper than most textbooks. It is possible to get free hosting for a year with Amazon AWS; it is a great thing to learn to do, but it is complicated. Before I tried out Reclaim Hosting, I read a few reviews of the site, including this one from a professor of a journalism course.

ISD581 used it Spring of 2016 and I was pleased with how it worked.

Should you have your own domain name and server?

I have had some type of server on the internet since before I started grad school in 1995. I know I’m not a Normal Person, but I nevertheless think that owning your own domain name is a good thing for most everyone, and knowing how to run your own Wordpress site is also a useful thing to be acquainted with. At the very least, when some tech person tells you that it is too hard or otherwise can’t be done, you will know better.

Reclaim Hosting’s shared hosting is all that most people will need. Even if you already have a wordpress.com blog, I recommend that you pay your $25 (or $20 using the here) and get your own domain and install Wordpress. Again, this link will give you a discount. (If it says $25 enter the promotional code: “literatecomputing”.

I think that it should take about half an hour.

Note: This is a different (and better) thing than hosting your blog at Wordpress.com. There are lots of other applications that you can (and likely will) install.

What Hosting Service to Use

I recommend Reclaim Hosting, because

  1. It is inexpensive.
  • It is easy to use.
  • Everyone else in your class will be using it, so you can get help.

If you want to use some other service, or already have a host set up and it will enable you to install Wordpress, Known, Moodle and Scalar, on your subdomains (e.g., moodle.yourdomain.com) you can give that a try. If, however, you choose to use some other service and subsequently cannot accomplish some challenge because of that choice, you will receive a zero for this assignment.

For a frame of reference, I am an experienced system administrator and maintained a Moodle server for nearly a decade. For me, setting up Moodle would take me between 10 and 30 minutes. Using Cpanel on reclaimhosting.com, it would take less than five.

What Domain Name Should I Choose?

Unfortunately, all the good names are taken.

That said, if you are comfortable having your name attached to your site, try to get some version of your name. You may choose to use this domain to develop a portfolio, so a professional-sounding name is a good idea.

But I already have a domain!

Even if you already have something like yourname.com with some site on it, I recommend that you choose some other name to use for your work here. It costs no more to get a new domain, and having Reclaim Hosting managing both your domain makes things easier. If you choose to do it some other way, you are on your own.

Managing Your Internet Server

It is a good bet that you have not ever managed a server on the internet. It is a little like controlling a marionette via strings and wires that you push and pull. The computer that you are controlling rather than being in the same room with you is somewhere on the internet. You don’t know where.

How do you figure out how to install Wordpress on Reclaim Hosting? Like this, which will lead you to Reclaim Hosting’s Installing WordPress page. Follow those directions.

What to do

  1. Register your own domain on reclaimhosting.com. You should get a 20% ($5) discount. If you do not, and would like a discount, you can enter literatecomputing in the promo code field.
  2. Set up Wordpress at yourdomain.com (not yourdomain.com/wordpress). You can poke around “cpanel” to add domains and install web applications.
  3. Edit or delete the “Hello, world!” post so that something different is there.
  4. Extra cool points for configuring “Let’s Encrypt SSL” and giving your site an https secure connection (it’s free!).

Evidence of Completion

Reply-as-linked-topic, tag with #domainofonesown, and in your post include:

1.Your learning narrative about how you completed this challenge, how long it took, and anything that might be helpful for those who come after you.

A Domain of One's Own: Sucess
Please help with domain problems
My Domain was a Pain