Starting a Website for Beginners

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.

There are essentially just three main components to every website.

  • Domain name
  • Web Hosting
  • The Website Code/Design

Let's cover each of these components and break them down with simple explanations and how they tie into one another.

Domain Name
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.

Web Hosting
After you have a domain name registered, the next step is to get a web hosting package. At AmeriWeb Hosting, 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 thise case, a VPS or Dedicated Server might be a better option. If you're still not sure which web hosting plan to choose, we recommend reading about the Different Types of Web Hosting plans

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. Web hosting providers like AmeriWeb Hosting, provide a control panel to make it easy to administer your website.

The Website Code/Design
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 download free software for creating a website such as KompoZer, or use AmeriWeb Hosting's sitebuilder.

Programming languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl, and 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 AmeriWeb Hosting, 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.

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