Setting up a domain and hosting

We use Reclaim Hosting for domain registration and hosting in this class. To get started, head on over to

Reclaim Hosting home screen

Click the blue “Sign Up” button to head to this page:

Here, click select the $30/year “Personal” plan. Be aware that you’ll actually be paying $45/per year for a new domain, unless you want to go with a subdomain of Reclaim Hosting (so, instead of your site would be Personally, I’d recommend shelling out the extra $15 for your own domain, but the choice is yours!

On the next screen, enter your preferred domain name.

Reclaim Hosting domain name selection page

Note: be sure to leave the default Whois Privacy Protection, included free, turned on when you’re registering your domain.

You might want to use a non-UGA email address so that you won’t have to update your account after you graduate. Also, be sure to take note of your password, as managing it (and all of your other passwords for this course—Dropbox, your lab computer password, etc.) is entirely up to you—NMI faculty don’t have access to any of these accounts.

After completing checkout, you’ll receive several emails from Reclaim Hosting (if you don’t see any of these messages in your primary inbox, be sure to check your Promotions and/or Spam folders):

  • One of the emails will include a verification link. Be sure to click it to confirm your email address and activate your account.
  • Within anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours of verifying your email address, you should be able to visit your new domain name in any web browser and see the default Reclaim Hosting landing page. If you can’t see your site this way, contact your instructor for help.
  • Another will be titled “Set your data use consent preferences.” You don’t have to do anything with this one—it’s basically a chance to opt in to marketing—who wants that? ?‍♂️
  • Another will look like this and includes your cPanel & SFTP Login Credentials:
Reclaim Hosting welcome email with credentials

You’ll need these for our next steps, so keep them handy.

Download your FTP Account

After clicking the verification link, head to your cPanel. To get there, head back to and click “Client Area Login” in the top-right corner, or just click here.

If prompted, enter the email address and password you used when signing up with Reclaim Hosting 1 to get to this screen:

Reclaim Hosting Client Area

This page is where you manage information about your Reclaim Hosting account (like billing details, etc.) and where you access other tools. In the navbar on this page, click the third link labeled “cPanel”:

You’ll then arrive at your cPanel, which looks like this:

Reclaim Hosting cPanel

Click on the icon that looks like a truck labeled “FTP Accounts” to arrive at this page:

FTP Accounts page

Scroll down to the section labeled “Special FTP Accounts” and click the blue “Configure FTP Client” link next to the account without the _logs suffix to see this view:

Configure FTP Client options

Now’s a good moment to remind you to configure Chrome to download files directly to your desktop 2. To do so, either click “Chrome > Preferences” in the menu bar or hit ⌘ + , to get to this screen:

Chrome preferences screen

Scroll down to the very bottom and click advanced to reveal more options. Scroll until you see the Downloads section:

Chrome preferences download section

and click the “Change” button in the “Location” section and select your desktop. Now that that’s done, let’s return here:

Configure FTP Client options

And click the graySFTP Configuration File” underneath Cyberduck. This is important so it is worth repeating: you want the gray “SFTP Configuration File” NOT the blue FTP Configuration file. That’ll download a file delightfully suffixed “.duck” to your desktop:

Double-click that file to launch Cyberduck. If a panel pops up asking if you want to make Cyberduck your default FTP client, select “Make Default.” If you’re prompted to download a new version, close that prompt for now. You’ll then be presented with a prompt that looks like this:

Unknown fingerprint dialog

Check the box for “Always” and then click Allow. You’ll then be prompted for your password on a screen that looks like this:

Cyberduck password prompt

Enter the cPanel / SFTP password you received via email from Reclaim Hosting here (copying and pasting is likely best) and be sure that “Add to Keychain” is checked before clicking Login. After successfully completing this process, you’ll be taken to this screen:

Cyberduck browser

Double-click on the “public_html” folder and then click on the Bookmark icon (second from the left in the icons in the top left corner underneath “Open Connection”) to see a screen like this:

Cyberduck bookmarks screen

Click the “+” icon in the bottom-left corner to open another window like this:

Cyberduck bookmark details screen

In the new window, the only thing you’ll likely want to change is the Nickname—just choose something clear and descriptive, like your URL or your name. Then, close the window where you updated your nickname to be left with a screen like this:

Cyberduck bookmarks screen with bookmark added

Now, to access your site via FTP, you’ll just need to double-click that bookmark! Be sure to repeat this process on your personal laptop as well so that you can access your server outside of the NMI lab. Pro tip: move the .duck folder saved to the Desktop of your classroom Mac to your webdev folder in Dropbox.

  1. Not your cPanel / SFTP information from the email

  2. Why? Because 1) Your desktop is super-easy to access 2) It’s visible so you should at least be mildly incentivized to keep it clean unlike… 3) Your downloads folder, which inevitably becomes a hot mess of random files because it’s mostly out of sight