Web Hosting Guide
How to Make a Website

For someone who has never built a website, the steps for how to make a website may not be obvious. Taking things in order makes the process go much more smoothly. This article reviews the basic steps for how to make a website.

Step One—Get a Domain Name

Although it's good to think through all three steps listed here before you start the process of making a website, in most cases, the first step is deciding what you will do about a domain name. While you can use a subdomain of the webhost, for a truly professional appearance, you will want to secure your own domain name. Domain names are available through official domain name registrars certified by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or the country of the TLD. Choosing a domain name can help establish your site's identity, and give visitors a memorable URL to type into their browser address window.

Because domain name registration is first come, first served, your first choice name may not be available, so it's best to approach the process with several names in mind. The usual advice is that .com is the best top-level domain (TLD) to choose, but if it's appropriate to your business, you may want to use one of the following:

  • .net
  • .org
  • .info
  • .biz
  • or a country TLD like .us

The WHOIS service helps you establish whether the domain name you want is already in use. If you are set on a particular name, be sure to check aftermarket domain names—those that have been previously registered, but are now available for sale.

Step Two—Choosing a Web host

The second step in making a website usually involves choosing a web host, which may or may not be your domain registrar. Though it can make it easy to deal with if you use the same company for both, you don't have to, and there may be good reasons to your web hosting elsewhere if another host offers a more suitable and/or less expensive plan.

The main choices you have to make are

• how your website is set up on the server: it can be shared hosting, in which multiple websites are on one server and share resources; virtual private servers, in which you share a server but have dedicated resources; or dedicated hosting, in which you have your own server all to yourself. In the latter case, your hosting may be managed or unmanaged and either the web host or you may own the actual web server, and you may have a choice of the processor type and other technical details.

• the server software, for example, Linux or Windows

• how many of which types of resource (bandwidth, diskspace, databases, email accounts,etc.), which programs, apps, and programming languages, etc.

Also examine other key issues such as the types and hours of technical support availability, the uptime guarantee, the security, etc.

Step Three—Building a Website

The third step is building the website. This can be done using a website builder provided by your webhost, by using a software application, such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage, or by hiring a website designer.

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