This guide is supposed to be an easy to understand tutorial on how to make your own website.
But before we get into that, you need to decide what kind of website you need and what level of technical stuff you’re willing to get into.
There are mainly two kinds of websites you can make;
One which is hosted by a dedicated platform. These kind of websites are a breeze to make and maintain, you don’t have worry about the technical details at all. Everything will be guided and you’ll be good to go within a couple of minutes. Examples of such platforms are wordpress.com (not to be confused with wordpress.org), blogger.com, wix.com, tumblr, etc.
The website you make here will usually have urls like yourwebsite.wordpress.com, yourwebsite.tumblr.com, etc. And if you ever want to make it yourwebsite.com, you’ll most probably have to pay for it.
The good thing about such websites is that they’re very easy to set up and start posting your stuff. You’ll also have a good search engine ranking without putting in too much effort (especially for Blogger). Plus, these services are totally free. That is, till you see a need to step up your game and decide to pay for premium services. But usually, you don’t need to worry about that for a long time.
But the bad part of making these kinds of websites is that such websites lack the level of customization that is offered by a self hosted website. You are pretty much restricted to the facilities provided by the platform you choose, although this is more than enough for most people. Also, you’ll miss the fun of discovering things on your own and tinkering with stuff till you get things running, as everything is done for you.
I’m not going to be talking about these kind of websites anymore, because they’re really very easy to make, and things are pretty much self-explanatory once you visit their websites.
Type 2: Self Hosted
Self hosted websites are the ones which you get complete control over every aspect of your website. You get to choose your on domain name (if you’re willing to pay for it), your own website host, your own almost everything. It’s definitely more complicated than the method mentioned above, but not too much though, the process is much more simplified nowadays
- First you need to decide whether you need your own independent domain (like darkmagik.me for example) or free ones like yourwebsite.somefreesite.com. The first kind of websites are called Top Level Domains (TLD), for eg: .com, .net, .mobi, etc and they look cool. The second kind are subdomain type, they don’t look as pleasing as TLDs do, but they’re free. Actually, it’s possible to get a free TLD of the type .tk and .ml but the thing is that you never know when they’re gonna be taken away from you. I heard that once you get decent traffic, your domain will be taken away from you without warning, so, try these two (.tk & .ml) at your own risk. Your domain most preferably should relate to what your website is going to be about, but it still can be whatever you want.
- You can buy the website name of your choice from any accredited domain registrar. You actually don’t own that domain name forever, you’ll have to keep renewing it after an interval (usually a year). But do this only if you’re serious about making a website or don’t care about spending some dough. Stick to free if you’re just experimenting or don’t want to pay.
- The next step is choosing a host. A host is the company that provides hardware to store your website content and keep it online all the time. Webhosts too, like domains, can be either paid or free. Like I mentioned earlier, if you are new to all this and just want to try out and see what all this is about, try free webhosts first. Free hosts provide all the basic (and some advanced) stuff you need to get your website online. There are lots free webhosts out there that provide reliable hosting, their limitations often being limited disk space (still around 1 GB or more), bandwidth or databases.
If you are planning on setting up your own personal website that doesn’t have a ton of media or just a casual website, there’s no harm in trying out a free webhost. Else, if you are more serious your site and wants more space and reliability and think it’ll have lots of visitors, go for a paid host. Most hosts provide a free trial of their services so you can see what you’ll be paying for.
- Decide what your website is going to be about, if you haven’t already. Nowadays, there are pre-made software, scripts and templates for any kind of website so you don’t have to create anything from scratch. Just find a suitable script for your website. The most common kind of website is, like this one, a blog. WordPress is the most popular blogging software used by a LOT of people, it’s pretty easy to set up, is very customizable and beginner friendly. Try Joomla or Concrete5 to make a little more static website, or actually almost anything else you can think of. You can download the one suited for your needs and upload to your server and start working on your website.
Actually, you don’t even need to download anything, most, if not all hosts (including free hosts) nowadays have one-click installers that directly install these scripts, without having you to upload anything. You just have to setup an admin account and some other things, it’s pretty easy, just follow on-screen instructions.
- If you don’t find your required script in your host’s one-click install list, download it and upload it to your server, usually in the root folder, that is public_html in most hosts. Nearly all software require a database to store their data, you can create one easily from your hosts’s control panel. Now, setup your website by first going to the ‘yourwebsite.com/install’. The install address varies according to the software used, it’s usually ‘/install’ or something similar. Input your server and database details, set up your admin account details, and whatever that is asked during installation. Specific installation instructions wil e available on the script’s ownn website.
- After all this, customize your website: how it looks, pages, notifications and all that stuff (from the admin area of the script installed on your site, whose address is something like ‘/admin’). Now, start publishing your posts, upload photos and videos, make tutorials and whatever you want.
Congrats, you now have your own website! Feel free to ask questions, if you have any or need further clarification on something.