Before downloading or installing anything, you need to provide a home for your PrestaShop online store. That is made of two components: a domain name, and a web server. A domain is the online identifier for your website, such as
agreatbrand.store. It is the public face of your web server, and therefore of your store.
You need to buy a domain name for your store. You might get one when you get your web hosting in place: many web hosts offer a free domain with every new account. They might be free for a year, or for as long as you are a client of that web host. This makes it easy to get the full package (hosting+domain name) in one go. For more information about domains, see the list of independent registrars below or follow the link: https://www.prestashop.com/en/domain.
There can be an issue with host-provided domain names: if you find yourself not satisfied with the host's service, you will want to switch to a better host. This means moving your files, data and domain name to that other host.
The files and data are easy to move, but depending on the host, you might have a hard time getting your domain name back. Since they bought the domain name for you, technically the domain belongs to them, and they can either forbid you to transfer it to another host, or they can make you pay for it. And since the domain name is your brand and your address on the web, you must obey the web host's rules.
That is why it is often recommended to get your domain name from an independent domain name registrar (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_registrar). Technically, you can never buy a domain name; you can only rent it, most of the time for a yearly fee. This gives you the right to use that domain name, but as soon as you stop paying for it, it is not yours anymore and anyone can grab it for himself.
In addition to paying for the domain name registration, you will also have to pay for web hosting. But at least you remain free to move to a better host at any time, for no supplementary fee: you just have to change the domain name’s DNS addresses. Within 24 hours, the change will be spread across the world.
- Gandi: http://en.gandi.net/
- Namecheap: http://www.namecheap.com/
- GoDaddy: https://www.godaddy.com/
- 1&1 IONOS: https://www.ionos.com
- .store: https://www.prestashop.com/en/domain
There are many more. Ask your friends about them!