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Step by step guide on creating your first website

Congratulations! So you have decided to embark on the journey of creating your first website but you haven't the slightest clue on how to start or going about how to do it. You have questions about how to get your own domain name to how to get your website hosted amongst loads of other questions you want answered Well you're in luck that you've found this website which is going to help you to hit the road running. Below, I will list out all the steps required in order for you to get your own website online with your own domain name and your own hosting server. Take my word for it, it's pretty simple! Let's start this step by step.

STEP 1. Register your domain name

Your domain name is the address where your website will reside and be found. For example, my domain name is ukhostingweb.com. People type this into their web browsers and they arrive at my website.

domain name

You can register your domain name at Godaddy.com who are the best domain registrar that you'll find online and they are also the cheapest. See step by step guide on how to register a domain for yourself. There are also a number of web hosting that provides you with a free domain such as HostPapa and Bluehost.

STEP 2: Purchase web hosting

I get asked the question of what is hosting all too often. Basically hosting is the server that will hold your website files and serve it to the world wide wide. Essentially, a website is just a number of individual files that contain the code, content and images of your website, like pages of a book. You need somewhere to put these files and that place is a web server i.e. hosting.

So which web hosting do you choose? This is simple. I've recommended a number of good web hosting out there throughout this website which I have tried and tested and have been happy with. HostPapa is one web hosting company that I use until this day basically because they are easy to use, no fuss, good customer service as and when I need it, reliable and cheap (£2.50 or $3.95 per month). Go for "shared" hosting which is the cheapest option and good enough for what you're about to build. Trust me on this one. Here are a list of recommended hosting.

Once you have decided on which web host to go with, follow their process to purchase your hosting. I usually go for 3 years plans as they work out to be the cheapest.

STEP 3: Join your domain and hosting together

If you have bought your hosting and domain from separate websites, you'll need to combine them together which is done by changing the DNS settings on your domain. Sounds harder than it is. To do this, log into your account of the website that you purchased your web hosting from. Find the domain section of the administration area. You should be ale to find 2 nameserver addresses. It will look something like NG538.Hostpapa.com. If you can't find them, just contact them through email, phone or the chat tool. Note the 2 addresses. Now login to the account of the website that you purchased your domain from e.g. Godaddy.com. Find the setup of your domain name and there will be an area to enter 2 nameserver addresses. The link to it will read "Set Nameservers". Enter it and save.

nameservers

Now wait around 24-48 hours in order for them to be tied together. After this time, when you type in your domain name onto the address bar of your web browser, you should come to the default page of your web host. Well done! If you bought hosting from HostPapa, it should look like the below.

hostpapa default page

If you bought your hosting with a free domain such as on HostPapa, then this step can be neglected as they have already done it for you.

STEP 4: Design your website and upload your files

Now the technical part is done, you can start on the fun part which is to design your website and upload it to your hosting via an FTP program. These programs are easily downloadable from the web. I use WinSCP as they are free and has a very intuitive interface. Oh, forgot to mention that an FTP program is what you use to transfer your website files onto your web server. Download the FTP program and install it onto your PC. You need to setup the program so that it knows how to communicate with your server. Contact your hosting provider and ask them what are your FTP details. They should tell you a port number and your username and password should be created when you bought the hosting. Ask their customer service on where to find them if required.

ftp login

Once you've done this, open the program, login and what you should see is your local PC files on the left side and your web host folder on the right. Then it's a simple case of dragging your files from left to right to move them onto your web host. All files should usually be transferred into the folder name "public_html".

FTP program

To make this easy for you, here's some sample files for you to download and upload it onto your web hosting through FTP to see how it works Unzip the downloaded file and you should see 2 HTML files: index.html and page2.html. Once you've moved the files to your hosting by dragging them across to the host server (left to right side) on FTP, go to your website by typing in your domain name onto a web browser and you should see something like the below which is my test file you just uploaded.

sample file

STEP 5: That's it!

You've done it in 4 steps. Told you it was easy! Now it's just a case of creating your website and uploading them to your hosting. If you need help on creating your website, I do do some freelance so you can contact me here.


Last Updated April 26 2014 by Alex Tse