Website DIY Part 2: Putting all the Elements Together

In this article of this series, you should be able to:

  • Determine what are the concrete set of steps are necessary for creating your own website.
  • Understand the services that you must purchase (i.e. buying a domain name and web hosting services) and what functionality they are providing you.

In the last post, we introduced how a website fits into the bigger scheme of the internet and the world wide web. We also introduced the elements that you need in order to build your own website. To recap, there are three main elements:

  1. The domain name of the website.
  2. A computer server that hosts your website (code, data, etc).
  3. The coding files that define the appearance and functionality of your website.

Now that you understand all the elements you need in order to build a website, you need to understand how to get them all set up! This post is more focused on the practical aspects of putting your website together.

***DISCLAIMER***
You probably only want to go through these next steps if you think you will be comfortable editing code (html, javascript, and css files). In order to customize a website template requires you to have some coding literacy! If you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative options to designing your own website.

all_steps-01

The main steps of putting your website together involve the following five steps:

1. Buying server access from a web-hosting company.

While ‘buying server access from a web-hosting company’ sounds complex, it is just a complicated way of saying you are buying space on a computer (or virtual computers) to put all your website files onto. In technical terms, your website page will be hosted on the computers that are operated by these web-hosting companies. We go into more depth about the options you have when choosing what type of hosting to use!

Examples: Bluehost, HostGator, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, WestHost

2. Buying a domain name.

There are certain companies that provide you with the service of adding the domain name that you want into the Domain Name Service (DNS) network described in the previous post. These companies can be (but do not have to be) the same company that you chose to buy web-hosting services (in step 1) from.

Examples: GoDaddy, NameCheap, HostGator

3. Connecting the web-hosting service with the domain name.

When someone on the internet enters the domain name you have purchased, there needs to be a connection between the domain name that was entered and the server in which all the website pages are hosted. The way to do this varies depending on where you have bought the above two services.

4. Choosing and customizing a website template.

A lot of great, functional and stylish website templates that include already written website code (html, javascript, css) exists that you can use and then customize further on your own. The alternative is starting from scratch and writing everything on your own. After you have chosen and customized a website template, you will have all the files you need that define your website!

5. Uploading those website files to the server.

After choosing and customizing a website template, the files will presumably be all be on your personal laptop. You don’t want them on your personal laptop though! You need the files to exist on the web-hosting server that you purchased in Step 1. To upload your website files to the server varies depending on which web-hosting company you used.

In order to guide you through this process, I have created three additional posts:

  1. What you are buying from a web-hosting company and what features you should look for? The different packages that web-hosting companies offer.
  2. An article that provides a comparison among the different options.
  3. A step-by-step guide for a specific web-hosting and domain-name service of my choosing.

References

[1] https://alshedivat.github.io/al-folio/

 

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