Creating a website is not as difficult as it once was. Gone are the days when you’d need to understand coding and know how to manually use HTML, which is the language of web pages. Nowadays, there are tons of resources and tools that you can find online that can help you build your first website.
Building your First Website
In addition to popular content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla, you can also create a website using some other free site builders that are available online. These are simply drop and drag builders, allowing you the freedom to layout your pages how you want, and fill in the missing elements such as the text, images and other multimedia.
Once you’ve created your first website, you are then going to need to host it. There are thousands upon thousands of web hosts around the world offering a huge range of web hosting solutions. The first thing you are going to need to do is to compare a selection of hosts, and work out which one is best suited for you.
Comparing Web Hosts
Looking for a reliable web host can sometimes be like looking for a needle in a haystack. With so many options, how do you know who to choose?
Luckily for you, there are a number of websites such as FortuneLords, who provide detailed analysis and comparisons between different web hosting providers. You can easily compare things such as features, performance and price of a number of web hosts – all of the things that are important.
Local or International Web Host
One thing that you will want to consider when selecting a web host is if you want to use one that is based in the same country and you, or if you are OK to use one on the other side of the world. There are a couple of important aspects to this choice.
If you go with a locally based web host, then you are most likely to find that their client support will be operating at least during the hours when you will most likely need them. Secondly, there is a slight advantage in the speed of your website when using a web host with their servers located in the same country and your target audience.
If you are located in India, and this is also where you target audience are situated, then having your website running off a server based there will mean that the loading time of your web pages will be slightly faster than if your site was hosted in Europe. Though the difference in web speed may be less than half a second, this could play a huge role in whether potential clients will wait for your site to load, or if they will leave and visit the website of one of your competitors.
Which Hosting Package?
Once you’ve decided on which hosting company you will use, you then have to pick a hosting package from the options that they offer. If you have a relatively small website, then using their shared hosting packages will probably be the best option.
Most web hosts generally have three different packages for shared hosting, with the starter package being suitable for a single domain for one website, while the other packages will offer extra features and resources. If you are only planning on hosting one website, then the basic shared hosting package will be suitable.
But if you have plans for building and hosting additional websites, then you might want to consider one of their other shared hosting accounts, which allow for more websites and have a greater allowance of disc space and data transfer.
Registering your Domain Name
All websites need to have a domain name to reside on. The domain name is the address of your website. It’s what people will type into their browser when they want to visit your site.
There are hundreds of registrars around the world where you can register your domain names. Whether you go for a top-level domain extension such as .com or .net, or go for a local country-specific domain such as .in or .fr, you’ll need to get that domain registered and then connected to your web host.
Connecting the Domain to the Server
It is a fairly easy process to connect your domain name to your hosting account. Once you’ve signed up for your hosting, you’ll receive a welcome email with all of the details about the account. In that email you’ll see mentioned the “nameservers”, which are essentially the address of the server, and which you use to connect your domain.
At your registrar (where you registered your domain name), you will need to go and edit the settings for the domain and update the nameservers with the ones that your host has given you. Once you’ve updated the nameservers, you usually need to wait for about 24-48 hours before the update to the nameservers takes effect. This is called the propagation period.
Once your domain has been successfully added to your hosting account, it is advisable to create an SSL certificate for it, which means that your website will be running securely under the https protocol. Most hosts will offer you a free SSL certificate with your account. If you are unsure how to set this up, speak to your host. It’s something that shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to do, and your web host should be able to take care of this for you.
Uploading your Website Files
Once your domain name has propagated and is connected to the hosting account, you will then need to start uploading your website files to the server. There are two ways you can do this. The first is through the use of an FTP program, such as the free software Filezilla, which connects your computer to the server and allows easy file transfers.
The second way is to use the File Manager option inside your control panel for your web hosting. This works in a similar way to the FTP option, in that you simply choose which files you want to upload to the server, and the file manager takes care of the uploading process.
Checking your Website
Once you’ve uploaded all of the files needed for your website, you should then be able to see your site online. Simply open your browser and enter the URL of your website. If you had set up your SSL certificate as previously mentioned, then you should include https when entering your URL.
Once the site is loaded, it is always a good idea to check it thoroughly to make sure that everything is working as intended. If you do spot any mistakes or problems, then you simply need to make the fixes to the files on your computer, and then upload the updated files back to the server.
It might sound like a complicated process, but getting your website created and uploaded is not that difficult. And if you have chosen a web host that offers good customer support, then they should be able to help you with each step and help resolve any issues that you might face.