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Domain, Hosting, DNS, SSL, CMS – what are they and what do they mean?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This article may contain some affiliate links. That means if you purchase something through any of these links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend tools and resources that I have used personally or come highly recommended.

Domain, Hosting, DNS, SSL, CMS… confused? Don’t worry you’re not alone! I remember when I first started out learning web development it took me a while to wrap my head around all these new terms.

I’m sure you’re thinking “ugh do I even need to know what they are?”.

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer: Yes – all of these things are key components to building a website and although it’s not the most thrilling aspect it’s in your best interest to know what each of them do and how they work in unison.

So let’s dive right in!

What is a Domain?

A domain name is the address of a website, this is the URL that a visitor types into a browser. For example, my domain name is A domain name simplifies online navigation, without it we would need to memorise a combination of unique numbers and characters every time we wanted to visit a website.A domain name is made up of two parts:

  • Top Level Domain (TLD)
  • Second Level Domain (SLD)

SLDs are what make your domain unique, take my domain for example:, the SLD is shannonpayne and the is the TLD

SLD <– [shannonpayne] [] –> TLD

Common TLD’s that you are likely familiar with are

  • .com
  • .info
  • .org

Some TLDs are restricted and you must meet certain requirements to register (must have an ABN).gov (must be a government body).edu (must be an accredited education institute)As of 2020 there were more than 1500 different TLDs.

You can search for domain name availability at GoDaddy or Google Domains.

What is Hosting?

Web hosting gives your website a place to live on the internet. It provides space on a server that stores all of your website’s files (code, text, images, video etc). When someone goes to their browser and types in your domain, it is being directed to your space on the server. Without it, it would be like picking up a phone and hearing the dead tone.

The three primary types of hosting are Shared, Dedicated and VPS.

Shared hosting means sharing a server and all its resources with other websites. Ideal for smaller websites.

Dedicated hosting is a server that is 100% yours. This means you have full control over it and do not need to share resources with anyone else. Ideal for large websites.

On top of that, each hosting provider has varying levels of features, support and specifications within the different types of hosting. Hosting can vary from as little as $1 a month up to hundreds per month. Cheaper is not always better and it pays to do your research to find a host that is suitable for your website needs.

VPS hosting is a single server that has been separated into multiple smaller private servers. So although you are still sharing the same server, you have your own private section that does not share as many resources. Ideal for medium sized websites.

I personally use Cloudways for hosting and I highly recommend it to all clients.

What is a DNS?

DNS (Domain Name Server) is what connects your Domain to your Hosting. When someone goes to a browser and types in a domain name the DNS is what connects the visitor to your host so that they can view your website.

Different web hosts have different DNS specific to them, so if you were to change web hosts you would need to update your DNS to your new hosts details, this is key so that when people enter your URL they are directed to the correct space on the internet.

Without the DNS properly configured people can not access your website. Imagine someone gives you an address to a house party and you show up and the party isn’t there!

What is an SSL?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is what keeps your website secure. It uses an encryption-based security protocol to ensure the privacy and security of your website. You know sometimes when you go to visit a website and your computer warns you it isn’t safe to visit? That is because that website does not have an SSL. This does not always mean that the website is unsafe, but without an SSL you are risking the chance of visitors turning back when they try to visit your website.

The easiest way to find out if your website has an SSL is to look at your domain. If the prefix is HTTPS it has an SSL, if it is HTTP it does not or alternatively you can enter your domain name into this website and it will check it for you.

All my hosting and maintenance plans have an SSL included, you can get more information here.

What is a CMS?

CMS (Content Management System) is a way for you to build a website without programming skills. Often confused with web hosting, a CMS is software that makes building a website more user friendly. Without a CMS you would need to know how to code to build a website.

Common CMS platforms are WordPress (my preferred), Squarespace, Joomla, Wix – to name a few.

Before choosing your web hosting you need to choose your CMS, as some CMS already have hosting included.

Still confused? How about an analogy (because analogies are fun!).

Say you want to visit your friends home, you get in your car and you type your friends address (Domain) into the GPS. You start driving to your friends’ home along the road (DNS), when you arrive at the location (Hosting) you see their house structure (CMS) and on the front of the door is a lock (SSL) so you know that it is secure inside.

Domain = Street address
Hosting = Location
DNS = Road to the house
SSL = Lock on house (security)
CMS = Foundations/structure of house

I get it, all the jargon can be overwhelming at times! But it is important to have a general understanding of what you are dealing with, and the rest you can hand over to the professionals **cough me cough**.

If you have any questions send me a message or leave a comment below!


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20 Funny Lorem Ipsum Generators

Most web designers (or any designer) knows that sometimes there is a need for some dummy text, whether it be using a wireframe to a client or showing a mockup. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit tired of using the same old Lorem Ipsum. Thankfully, I wasn’t the first to think this! There are now so many unique and funny Lorem Ipsum generators out there to suit any project, client or personality.

Before we dive into the fun stuff, some of you may not know what Lorem Ipsum is or why we use it? Let’s cover those first!

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is placeholder text or ‘dummy text’ that is used in the design and printing industry. The text came from a book that was published in 45BC; “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero. However, it was in the 1500s that Lorem Ipsum was first used as dummy text when it was used to make a type specimen book. It has survived 5 centuries and has become an industry standard.

Why do we use Lorem Ipsum?

The purpose of Lorem Ipsum is to create a natural-looking block of text that does not distract the viewer. It has a normal distribution of letters and spacing so as to appear as a paragraph without having anything “readable”.

It can be used to help the client focus on the overall design rather than get distracted by the text, another reason you might use Lorem Ipsum is if the final copy isn’t ready yet.

Lorem Ipsum is great, but let’s be honest it can get a little dry. But thanks to the magical world of the internet there are now dozens of funny, unique (and free) lorem ipsum generators out there to suit all your needs! Cupcake Ipsum – for something sweet, or Cheese Ipsum – for the cheese lovers!

I’ve gathered together some of my favourites (and some more) to give you 20 unique and funny lorem ipsum generators for your next design project.

1. Lorem Ipsum

Well it would be rude to note mention the OG.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

2. Cupcake Ipsum

This is my go-to ipsum generator when working on projects, for all those who want a bit of sugar and sweetness!

Jelly beans gummies sweet sesame snaps cupcake candy canes candy canes tootsie roll muffin. Pastry caramels dragée cake. Powder jujubes liquorice gummies dessert sweet roll cake. Fruitcake jujubes gingerbread ice cream jelly beans gummies. Chocolate bar wafer pastry. Brownie apple pie bear claw brownie brownie candy canes.

3. Cat Ipsum

My second favourite! Perfect for all cat lovers and to use for your cat loving clients!

Purr for no reason eat all the power cords yet meow for food, then when human fills food dish, take a few bites of food and continue meowing yet hit you unexpectedly cat ass trophy or unwrap toilet paper please stop looking at your phone and pet me. Stare at wall turn and meow stare at wall some more meow again continue staring i heard this rumor where the humans are our owners, pfft, what do they know?!

4. Bogan Ipsum

For the Australians out there! Use this ipsum generator to have your clients saying “You beauty!”

Galah down under holden sheila spit the dummy come a bush telly apples boil-over bottlo whinge. Rock up stubby rip snorter you little ripper thongs. Cubby house bludger not my bowl of rice pash bundy sickie bloody oath. Wuss it’ll be bundy rack off tucker-bag bluey spag bol aussie rules footy amber fluid. Spag bol metho grundies full blown bizzo smoko. Tinny vee dub mokkies yobbo porky mate strewth.

5. Pirate Ipsum

For all of those who dreamt of being a Pirate! Pirate Ipsum is another unique option on the list!

Brig booty maroon red ensign mizzenmast barque cutlass squiffy Arr ballast. Spanish Main holystone belaying pin jury mast provost code of conduct rope’s end dance the hempen jig chase coffer. Fire ship Davy Jones’ Locker reef fore capstan Arr pinnace skysail nipper bilge.

6. Coffee Ipsum

Coffee lovers unite! When the caffeine hit isn’t quite strong enough, give it a boost with Coffee Ipsum!

Macchiato, robusta steamed acerbic, crema sugar café au lait a ristretto. Dripper, bar macchiato flavour strong extraction coffee dark cortado. Froth, foam instant et iced and wings. Robusta beans qui steamed roast whipped percolator robust instant. Decaffeinated, affogato aroma dark at half and half roast.

7. Chuck Norris Ipsum

Chuck Norris made me include this.

Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean, When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Contrary to popular belief, Chuck Norris, not the box jellyfish of northern Australia, is the most venomous creature on earth.

8. Veggie Ipsum

Get your ipsum straight from the farmers market, fresh vegetables to fill your project up!

Beetroot water spinach okra water chestnut courgette summer purslane. Water spinach arugula pea tatsoi aubergine spring onion bush tomato kale pea sprouts fava bean. Dandelion zucchini burdock yarrow chickpea soybean radish artichoke wattle seed endive groundnut broccoli arugula.

9. Bacon Ipsum

More of a meat-lover? Bacon ipsum has got you covered with the meatiest of ipsums.

Bacon ipsum dolor amet tempor enim nisi ut. Buffalo pancetta deserunt, do salami laborum pork chop proident hamburger. Pork loin flank dolore consectetur. Ut ipsum jowl turducken. Qui shankle bacon spare ribs boudin ipsum non. Id burgdoggen ea buffalo reprehenderit.

10. Samuel L Ipsum

It wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t a Samuel L Jackson ipsum, add a bit of badass to your project.

Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can’t give you this case, it don’t belong to me. Besides, I’ve already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass.

11. Pommy Ipsum

Aussie slang not your thing? How about some Pommy slang?

Because there was nothing on the gogglebox gutted on his bill middle class absobloodylootely bent as a nine bob note tip-top I bid you good day terribly red telephone box. Hedgehog rambunctious conkers doing my nut in a cuppa unhand me sir chav a tad, ey up duck roast beef bread and butter pudding throw a paddy could murder a pint treacle.

12. Cheese Ipsum

Mmmm cheeeesseee!! For all your delicious and tasty melted goodness.

I love cheese, especially fondue jarlsberg. Emmental cut the cheese babybel bavarian bergkase swiss paneer cheese on toast cut the cheese. Paneer cheese triangles swiss jarlsberg croque monsieur cauliflower cheese feta fromage.

13. JS Ipsum

This ipsum is for the tech geeks out there, random bits of JavaScript that appears as a whole lot of technical jibberish!

HTTP requests. World Wide Web browsers typically expose host objects representing HTTP request and variable declarations to specify the majority of one object that the standardized in environments that can run locally in JavaScript Components. Modernizr is a tool to extend JavaScript utilities designed for browser.

14. Zombie Ipsum

For the zombie and horror fans out there, good combination of brains and ipsum!

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris.

15. Lorem Ricksum

For the fans of Rick and Morty, or in the creators words “the most loved and hated lorem ipsum”.

Are you hungry for apples? ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR APPLESSS!? I’m not looking for judgement, just a yes or no. Can you assimilate a giraffe? They’re not infinite universes left in sync with the show.

16. Ramen Ipsum

Did you say Ramen?!

Salt chicken stock Nagoya vinegar rice yuzu spinach toasted sesame seeds kamaboko Asahikawa rice tsukemen yuzu abura soba yuzu Tokushima Nissin instant cup ramen pork cubes Nissin instant cup ramen.

17. Online Dating Ipsum

The ipsum generator that pulls it’s content from online dating profiles.

Going to the gym I have a crush on someone who shares my sense of humor tattoos. Making lasagna from scratch knowing the difference between their/there/they’re new friends just looking to have some fun mountain biking, Indian food ethical nonmonogamy home brewing going to the gym video games.

18. Batman Ipsum

For the Batmaniacs, this ipsum generator uses direct quotes from Batman movies.

This isn’t a car. Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire. Hero can be anyone. Even a man knowing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended.

19. Baseball Ipsum

Any baseball fans here?! If you can’t get enough of the game this combination of baseball-related words will help you out!

Left on base lineup bat petey red sox alley left fielder starter. Strike zone grass foul pole stretch wrigley reds off-speed cardinals. Fall classic umpire plunked count basehit bush league outfielder. Catcher wins inning rubber game moneyball, series squeeze hardball. Grass at-bat home robbed tossed rotation cork loss hit by pitch.

20. Lit Ipsum

Snippets from classic literature, Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, Dracula and more!

By eleven o’clock the next day we were well upon our way to the old English capital. Holmes had been buried in the morning papers all the way down, but after we had passed the Hampshire border he threw them down and began to admire the scenery.

21. Cheeseburger Ipsum

Bonus ipsum generator (because yum!)

Any day without a cheeseburger in it is a waste. You can find a cheeseburger no matter where you go in the world, so you have no excuse to miss out on the glory that some people can only dream of. Step up to the plate.

22. 2020 Ipsum

**BONUS** (another bonus) The end of 2020 brought the Ipsum generator we all needed!

Lorem ipsum Coronavirus whipped coffee doomscrolling protests. Mail-in vote home quarantini pod disinfect murder hornets. Last Dance Quibi no march madness UFO monolith flatten the curve we can’t hear you. PPE. Zoom call sweatpants Joe Exotic Blursday.

Lorem Ipsum generators are the perfect way to add a big of personality to your next design or publishing project. Whether just for yourself or to get a smile from your client!

Do you know any other generators? Share them in the comments below!


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20 FREE Google Font Pairings

Did you know that there are 992 FREE Google fonts and they’ve been downloaded an incredible 43 trillion times!

Crazy right?

Typography is so important these days and there is a certain art to creating the perfect font pairing.  It is recommended that you use a maximum of three fonts when working on a project. However, with the use of bolditalics, and underline variations, two fonts is usually sufficient.

I put together this list of 20 Google font pairings and the best part is they are all licensed under the Open Font License. This means they are FREE to download and use for all non-commercial AND commercial projects! WOOHOO! 

1. Lora & Bad Script

Download Lora HERE.
Download Bad Script HERE.

2. Ultra & Slabo

Download Ultra HERE.
Download Slabo HERE.

3. Sedgwick Ave & Montserrat

Download Sedgwick Ave HERE.
Download Montserrat HERE.

4. Abril Fatface & Lato

Download Abril Fatface HERE.
Download Lato HERE.

5. Pompiere & Open Sans

Download Pompiere HERE.
Download Open Sans HERE.

6. Sacramento & Alice

Download Sacramento HERE.
Download Alice HERE.

7. Permanent Marker & Raleway

Download Permanent Marker HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

8. Marck Script & Roboto

Download Permanent Marker HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

9. Oswald & Merriweather

Download Oswald HERE.
Download Merriweather HERE.

10. Charmonman & Chakra Petch

Download Charmonman HERE.
Download Chakra Petch HERE.

11. Libre Baskerville & Cutive

Download Libre Baskerville HERE.
Download Cutive HERE.

12. Open Sans Condensed & Roboto

Download Open Sans Condensed HERE.
Download Roboto HERE.

13. Amatic SC & Andika

Download Amatic SC HERE.
Download Andika HERE.

14. Clicker Script & Raleway

Download Click Script HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

15. Courier Prime & Poppins

Download Courier Prime HERE.
Download Poppins HERE.

16. Finger Paint & Lato

Download Finger Paint HERE.
Download Lato HERE.

17. Parisienne & Cormorant Garamonde

Download Parisienne HERE.
Download Cormorant Garamond HERE.

18. Bangers & Antic

Download Bangers HERE.
Download Antic HERE.

19. Cardo & Josefin Sans

Download Cardo HERE.
Download Josefin Sans HERE.

20. Sniglet & Cabin

Download Sniglet HERE.
Download Cabin HERE.

So there we have it!

20 Google Font Pairings for you to use in your next design project, I hope it helps you out!

BONUS: I’ve turned this into a downloadable PDF for you so you can save it to your computer for later.


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What is a Virtual Assistant?

The Virtual Assistant (VA) industry is growing rapidly with more and more VAs popping up every day. Yet if you stopped someone in the street and asked them what a VA was you’d probably be met with blank stares.

No, it’s not another name for Siri or Alexa (unless of course you’re a VA and that is your name). I thought I’d lay it all out for you because that’s how generous us VAs are!

What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

To put it simply, a VA is a skilled professional who provides various services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location.

They could live in another country, another city, or even just down the road from the business they work with. However, all work is done online and it is unlikely you would ever meet them in person.

In the early days, VAs were hired for tasks such as calendar/email management, answering incoming calls, drafting correspondence and other general admin duties.

As the virtual world has grown, VAs have grown with it. There is now a multitude of tasks being offered, some of these are:

  • Social Media Management (Instagram, Facebook)
  • Pinterest Management
  • Website Design/Maintenance
  • Blog Writing
  • Content Repurposing
  • SEO
  • Travel Planning
  • Podcast Editing
  • Video Editing
  • Graphic Design
  • Transcription
  • Copywriting
  • E-book Formatting
  • Email Marketing
  • Calendar/Email Management

You get the picture!

Anything that can be done online, I guarantee there is someone out there offering that service. (For a break down of the services I offer click here)

There are general VAs who will work across all industries and there are some VAs with a specific niche such as travel, real estate, health/fitness etc.

VAs are appealing to entrepreneurs and business owners because they find themselves needing help but either cannot bring on staff to their location or they don’t want the costs associated with bringing on staff (office space, supplies, taxes, insurance etc.). Many businesses will hire a VA when they want to take their brick and mortar business to the online world through social media.

VAs can be hired for on-going work or one-off jobs, they can charge hourly or sell packages. This is at the discretion of the individual VA.

So that’s the quick overview of what a VA does! As you can see it is not a straight forward answer, but at the end of the day, VAs are there to help you with the tasks you don’t have time for and to help you grow your business.

If you find yourself struggling with any aspect of your business I’d love to chat about what I can do for you! To get the ball rolling schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation!


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