Once you have a domain name and you are ready to present it on the web and use it for email you then purchase a hosting account.
Explaination of our hosting accounts will be explained further elsewhere but for now we will just explain the basics of what you can expect from the most basic hosting accounts.
Once you have purchased your domain name it needs to be pointed to a hosting server that resolves the domain for users trying to access your domain. This process is called Domain deligation (where you have the domain pointed) and Domain resolving (who answers questions regarding the domain name).
An example of this is where someone wants to access www.yourdomainname.com.au. Once they put the www before your domain it is then sent to their internet provider who then accesses the hosting provider where the domain has been deligated to. The hosting server then resolves the "www" into an address which looks something like this 126.96.36.199 (an IP address) and once this number has been sent back to their provider then they know that in order to access your website their browser will access it via that IP address.*
You have the ability to upload your pre-made website using a FTP program (explained further) then once someone accesses your website the files you have uploaded will be made visible. Web pages are not that hard to do and some hosting account providers include web site templates and web page creation tools, like what we provide with our basic accounts.
FTP (File transfer protocol aka ability to upload your web pages)
You will need to become familular with FTP and what it does. Even if you think you arn't technically minded or prefer to leave it to someone else. Your website is your main internet asset and you don't want a situation where you had a chance to back it up and for whatever reason you chose not to. Even though most hosting providers back up their servers it still doesn't gurantee that you will never loose a file. Some clients with ourselves have had hosting accounts since 2001 and we are aware of them not backing up their website once. They havn't lost any files of yet but relying on luck isn't the safest investment.
The first thing you should setup before you even upload your web pages is Email. Even whilst your web site isn't finished you may want to use your domain name for email. So instead of having johndoe AT provider.com.au you could have johndoe AT yourdomain.com.au and know that any emails that come to you will let people know you belong to "yourdomain".
Settings for each of the above services will vary from provider to provider so please consult the welcome emails for full instructions.
* For those who do not know what an IP Address is. It is a numbering system used to assign unique numbers to servers and clients (being end users, yourself) It stands for Internet Protocol Address and without going into it too much if you're on the internet right now you definately have an IP Address. It may change but you still have one in order to access the internet.