NearlyFreeSpeech.NET Getting Started Guide

This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to sign up for our service, register a domain name, and set up the details about your site that our system will need to know in order to make it reachable on the Internet.

Please note that many questions related to this process are answered in our Member FAQ, available for viewing after you sign up.

The following two Member FAQ entries (sign up to view them) give an overview of terminology we'll be using below:

These instructions will not and are not intended to apply to every possible scenario you might encounter while using our service. They cover the steps most new members will need to take for the most common approach to hosting a new website with us.

Sign Up

Visit our Sign Up page and follow the steps.

This document assumes you have followed all the steps listed on the Signup page, including creating and funding an account. You will not be able to proceed with these instructions without completing the sign-up process.

Register your Domain & add DNS service

This step is optional. It is not necessary to have your own domain name to host a website with us. See this FAQ entry for more details.

Domain registration is simple, and our DNS service can be added and its basic settings configured automatically.

  1. Sign in to the member area (upper left corner of the page)
  2. Visit the Domains panel and click "Register a New Domain" from the Actions box
  3. Fill in the required details about the domain you wish to register
  4. Choose a funding source (if you only have one account with adequate funds, you won't have to choose it)
  5. Enter the registrant contact information as you would like it to appear on your domain registration (and in the publicly-accessible WHOIS domain registration database)
  6. Contact Information & Privacy: Decide whether you wish to leave your own name and contact information available to the public via the WHOIS database, or use our RespectMyPrivacy.COM Proxy Contact Service to protect your identity
  7. Select Contact Information: This step allows you to modify/select the contact information you previously entered in step 5. (This step applies only if you choose not to use the RespectMyPrivacy.COM Proxy Contact Service
  8. Assigning Name Servers: Choose "Set up DNS and name servers automatically"
  9. Confirm Domain Registration

(Domain transfers work very similarly, except that you choose "Transfer an Existing Domain" as the first step.)

Create a site on our system

On our service, a "site" is a container that holds the configuration and content necessary to display your website to visitors. In this step, you'll be creating the container. Filling that container (by uploading your web content) comes a bit later in this process.

  1. Visit the Sites panel and click "Create a New Site" from the Actions box
  2. You probably only have one account, so that account will already be shown. If you happen to have more than one (which is allowed), they'll both be displayed and you can choose between them.
  3. Pick a "short name" for your site.
  4. Click the "Next" button.
  5. If you registered a domain name (as above), you can associate it with your site now. For example, if you registered, you would usually enter:
    Canonical Name
    Additional Alias
    This will make sure visitors can access your site using both names, and will treat as the canonical ("official") name of the site, which is what we recommend.
  6. In most cases, you should pick "Yes" to the question "Set up DNS for new domains?" unless you know for sure that someone else is providing your domain name service. If you don't know what DNS is or who is providing it, pick "Yes."
  7. From here, you can pick "Finish" to set up a site with all the default settings or click "Next" to review the various options one by one.
  8. On the summary page, if everything looks right, you can select the "Create New Site" button. If there's anything you want to change, just click the relevant "Edit" button. You'll be able to change it and then return to this page.

Add an alias to your site for the domain you registered

(If you set up alias(es) while creating your site in the previous section, you can skip this step. If you didn't do it before, or you want to add new ones, you can follow these steps.)

An "alias" is a domain name, such as the one you registered earlier in this process, and usually with "www." stuck on the front; further explanation appears on the "Add a New Alias" panel in our member interface.

  1. Visit the Sites panel.
  2. In the "Short Name" column, click on the name of the site you just created.
  3. Select "Add a New Alias" in the "Site Names & Aliases" box.
  4. Follow the instructions.

Add Email Forwarding (optional)

Email Forwarding is an optional service we provide that allows you to create email addresses for your domain name that will forward email sent to them to your existing email accounts elsewhere. It is not the same as (and is not a substitute for) email hosting, and it will not help you send any email.

If you have a need for simple email forwarding:

  1. Visit the Domains panel
  2. Under the "Email" column for the domain you just registered, click "Add"
  3. Choose a funding source (if you have more than one account)

Upload content

Note: We do not provide web design services, nor can we assist with the creation or maintenance of any site content.

To upload content you have created, three methods are available: FTP, SFTP and ssh.

(When you log in by any of these methods, you will be taken automatically to the top level of your website at /home/public/. A typical site will have some or all of its files uploaded to this directory (particularly any index file).)

If you need additional help

  • Please be sure to visit our searchable Member FAQ for answers to many common questions
  • Visit our Member Forums for questions and discussions about site-related software, techniques and issues other members have encountered
  • Consider Subscription Membership if you prefer to ask questions privately via our ticket system.