Getting Started With Domain of One's Own
- Click the “Get Started” Button
- You will be redirected to log in for verification. You will use your Swarthmore username and password to log in.
- Choose Your Domain Name. Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started with staking your claim on the web. Your domain name is a unique web address (e.g. yourname.domains.swarthmore.edu) that can be used to build out your own digital presence. If you already have a domain name using a different service but still would like to take advantage of options available within DoOO, please contact us at email@example.com. If you would like to create a domain within swarthmore.edu please continue.
Choosing Your Domain Name
As you make your choice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Your Domain Name Must Be Available:
- Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by anyone else at Swarthmore). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on https://domains.swarthmore.edu/, we’ll check the availability of your choice for you.
- Choose a Domain You Can Live With:
- You should choose a domain name that you feel you can live with for quite some time.
- Important note: You should pick something that you won’t find embarrassing in the future. A good rule of thumb is to pick a domain that you would be comfortable putting on a resume or job application.
- You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain:
- There is no requirement that your domain reflects your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.
- Pick a Domain you Like:
- At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.
You can choose not to pick a domain that reveals your name, or you can use a pseudonym on your actual site. However, if you choose to later purchase your own domain (e.g. mysite.org), your name does get published as part of the public record about your domain name. Anyone can find it by looking up details about the ownership of that domain name through a public “Whois” request. This is NOT an issue if you’re already planning on using your name openly on your site (in your domain name or elsewhere). This option is aimed, specifically, at those who, for whatever reason, feel they want to take every precaution to hide their identity on their site.
Next Steps: Install a Web Application in Your Space
Domain of One's Own makes it very simple to install certain web applications. Web applications are special software that run on a web server and help you to build and manage a website. The type of site you build depends on the type of application you install. Here are some examples of applications that you can install within the Domains at Swarthmore web hosting interface:
WordPress is a simple-to-use blogging application. The tool also comes with a huge array of plugins & themes to allow you to create virtually any kind of website imaginable. Take a look at our specific instructions for installing a WordPress site using Domain of One's Own.
Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display online digital collections and archives. Take a look at our specific instructions for installing the Omeka application using Domain of One's Own.
Scalar is a content management system with the idea of creating non-linear books on the web. If you are looking for a way to create and share media-rich texts, Scalar might be the perfect tool for you. Install Scalar using Domain of One's Own.
MediaWiki is an open-source publishing platform that can be used for creating a collaborative document repository. It’s the software that drives the Wikipedia website. Take a look at our instructions for installing the MediaWiki application using Domain of One's Own.
Grav is a content management system (CMS) or, said another way, it’s an application to make websites. But differs from other CMSs like Drupal or WordPress in its underlying technology. While it’s a PHP app like those two, unlike them it does not have a database. All data is written directly to files rather than stored and retrieved from a database. This is known as a flat-file system and it can help with performance given numerous database calls can slow down sites. Install Grav using Domain of One's own.
What Exactly is a Web Application?
In the most general terms, a web application is a software that runs on a web server. A web server is a designated computer set up to host web pages. When installed, web applications create an environment that allows users to build websites.
The applications you install will determine what kind of website you will ultimately build.
Most web applications are comprised of two components: files and a database. When you install a web application, you will need to make sure all of the files are copied over into the appropriate location AND that a database (and database user) has been set up to connect to those files. Often, you will have to do some configuration to make sure the application knows how to access the database.
The system we use for domains.swarthmore.edu uses a special script installer called Installatron (in cPanel) that allows you to automatically install dozens of open source applications. When you use Installatron, you don’t need to worry about moving files, creating databases, or doing the initial configuration. It’s all taken care of for you.