It seems like everyone either has or wants a website. For the latter group those who don’t have a web site it might seem like a daunting task to start a website. In reality, starting a website can be very simple.
It just needs only three main components domain name, web hosting and website design/code.
A domain name is usually a .com, .net, or .org address that visitors use to view your website on the web. The most popular top level domain (TLD) is the .com extension. Domain names are typically sold annually, so when you register a domain name, you have it for one year with the first option to renew it, unless you purchase multiple years up front. When starting a website, it’s important to find a good domain name that represents your brand or business.
After you have a domain name registered, the next step is to get a web hosting package. At HostGator, we recommend signing up with our less expensive shared hosting plans (for a few bucks a month) and then upgrade later if you need it. An exception to this would be if you need custom software or packages (such as live video streaming) that aren’t offered in a shared hosting environment. In this case, a VPS or Dedicated Server might be a better option. The different types of web hosting plans are:
Shared hosting – Usually recommended for new websites, as it’s the most economical way to start a website.
VPS hosting – Recommended for more advanced users, and those needing to install specific packages or software not provided by shared hosting.
Dedicated servers – When you get a dedicated server, your website(s) get access to the full server, since it’s not shared with any other users. Also includes full root or admin access like a VPS.
Reseller hosting – This service is geared for webmasters, or others, who want to resell their own web hosting service. It’s also a good option for those with multiple websites, as it makes it easier to manage many websites under one control panel.
Your domain name gets “pointed” to your web hosting account by changing the name servers for that domain name. Once that’s been updated, anyone going to your domain name will be viewing the website hosted at your web hosting provider. Top web hosting providers like HostGator provide a control panel to make it easy to administer your website. If you don’t have a hosting account, you can sign Up for HostGator today!
There are many ways to make a website. A website is usually a file that is coded with HTML, and contains image and video elements. It’s possible to create a website using just a text editor like Notepad, but for beginners it’s usually best to use software geared for web development. You can use HostGator’s free sitebuilder for creating a website.
Programming languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl, and ASP.net can also be used to create dynamic web sites. Fortunately there are many different open-source and free web-based software applications based around these languages that don’t require much programming experience to use, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, to name a few.
If you choose not to use the hosted site builder, provided by HostGator, you can create and edit your web site locally. Once the website is completed, you can then upload your web pages through FTP to your web hosting account so that it’s visible on the web to anyone who goes to your domain name.
The most popular and easiest way to build a website for free is using HostGator’s SiteBuilder. The SiteBuilder that HostGator provides is free with all HostGator accounts and very simple to use. The whole process can be done in just minutes through a step-by-step wizard, and there’s nothing to download or upload. Once you finish the wizard, the site builder has an option to publish to your website.
HostGator provides 4,450+ free website templates and designs. You can also find tons of other free templates online. Once you find a template that you like, you can download the template and edit it (fully customizable). After you edit the template using an HTML or text editor you can then upload the template through FTP to your HostGator account to publish your web page. Tons of templates in many different categories with the ability to customize.
A WYSIWYG Editor is a web authoring program that can create a website for you, similar to creating a document in Microsoft Word. While the de facto standard is Adobe’s Dreamweaver, you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to get started. There are free and open source alternatives, such as Mozilla’s KompoZer. You can make a website with KompoZer through by inserting elements, such as images, tables, paragraphs, headers, et cetera without having to mess with any HTML code. Should you feel inclined, however, you can easily edit the code as well.
CMS (Content Management System):
Using a CMS for your website is a great option if you intend to constantly add content, or need advanced features. The major CMS’s are WordPress (also a blogging platform), Joomla, and Drupal. The most popular option on HostGator is definitely WordPress, and it can be installed with just a click through HostGator’s QuickInstall feature (See video on: How easy it is to install WordPress). WordPress is very simple to use, and there are TONS of free WordPress themes and plugins out there to build almost any type of website.
Most of HostGator’s clients use WordPress for their websites. Once you install WordPress, you’ll probably want to install a theme that you like, and add any plugins that you’ll need and you’re good to go. It doesn’t require any advanced knowledge, it’s easy to install, and as you learn you can tweak it even further. With any method you choose for making a website, it’s probably a good idea to learn a little HTML and CSS by reading tutorials online, although with WordPress it’s not required.
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