How To Build a Website For Dummies

By | January 17, 2017

How to build a website

Having your own website could do wonders for your online business.

But what if you don’t know any coding? How do you get your own website up and running?

Fear not as building your own website is pretty easy nowadays.

Also you can check out my other post if you want to know how to build a free website.

Web Hosting

What is web hosting?

Have you ever heard of a server? These things are specialized computers to store everyone’s website data. These computers are also responsible for putting your website up on the Internet.

Think of them as like a restaurant, when a user comes and type in your website’s URL, they are sending an order to this restaurant.

The restaurant now selects the correct food to give to this user, which is your website, and loads it on the user’s browser.

What are the different types of hosting?

1. Shared hosting

Probably the most popular choice of hosting.

The name is pretty self explanatory, your website will share the server and it’s resources with other websites.

Back to the restaurant example, shared hosting would be like having 1 waiter taking orders from customers. This means that he would be have to run back and forth to meet the demands of the customers.

If the demand is too high he will be slow to respond because he has too many orders to take care of.

The upside is that this is the cheapest option for hosting your website. A popular web host would be BlueHost where you can host your website for about $5 per month.

The downside is, if you’re sharing with a website that is popular and uses alot of data, it might affect your own website in terms of speed and performance.

2. Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting means having multiple servers work together to combine their resrouces.

So when you choose a cloud hosting service for your website, the server used would be drawing it’s resources from multiple places.

The good news is if one server is down, there are still other servers to help maintain your website. Also, from the server point of view, if the demand is high it can always draw more resources from more servers.

You don’t have to worry about other popular websites using too much of the server’s resources.

Usually how much you pay for cloud hosting depends on how much resources you use. They will be able to handle high demands, but if your website is just starting out and require a relatively low amount of resources you will be charged less accordingly.

3. Dedicated hosting

You can probably guess from the name, a dedicated server will host your website and your website only.

Remember the problem with shared hosting about competing for resources?

You don’t have to worry about that here because this dedicated server will “dedicate” all it’s resources to you. This is like owning your own restaurant.

Even if you have a lot of traffic this server will be able to handle it. Dedicated servers are definitely the highest tier and will give your website the best performance.

Another good thing to note is that since this entire server is yours, you can customize it however you want. You could choose to say, increase the security of your server if you deem it neccessary.

Of course the downside to dedicated hosting is that it is pretty expensive, but in my opinion worth the price if you require the resources. It would cost about $100 per month.

4. Virtual Private hosting

A virtual private server (VPS) can be considered to be a hybrid between a shared and a dedicated server.

When hosting on a VPS, it is still one server, meaning multiple websites still share the physical hardware resources.

The difference is that you are given a fixed portion of the resources to use like a fixed amount of RAM for example. Each VPS will also run it’s own operating system

Imagine the shared hosting restaurant again, now imagine that waiter being split up into multiple smaller waiters.

Each one of these tiny waiters is a VPS and you get full control your individual one.

The price for a virtual private hosting would depend on the amount of resources you get like RAM or storage space. Typically it would cost around $30.

5. Managed WordPress hosting

Since wordpress is so popular these days, theres a hosting service just for that !

Managed wordpress hosting means hosting your website and getting all support related to wordpress. This would include backing up your website, updating wordpress and security.

Do note that the support behind your website would consist of actual wordpress experts.

Since this hosting service is tailored specifically for wordpress you can expect a high performance.

Of course the downside is that you can’t choose other content management systems other than wordpress. Also, they cost about $30 per month.

Which kind of hosting should you choose?

I would definitely recommend shared hosting if you’re fairly new and just starting out with your website.

Otherwise, if you consider your website a mid ranged business you could go for a virtual private hosting.

If you’re a large business or have a website with a huge amount of visitors everyday and you really want the best performance, go for dedicated hosting.

Domain Name

This is the name that people will be typing to get to your website. If my domain name is chickenfingers, then my website would be “www.chickenfingers.com”.

A domain name actually points to a certain IP address but using regular names would be easier. If you have multiple computers associated with one common IP address they are considered to be in the same domain.

What you need to do is to buy yourself a domain name from a domain name registrar. A domain name registrar is a company that manages the ownership of domain names. Some examples are NameCheap or GoDaddy. They will cost about $15.

When choosing your Domain Name

  1. Lean towards .com or some regular extensions like .org or .net. You actually do have a choice of others, like .us or .co.uk or even funny ones like .chicken. These are not recommended because the regular ones are easier to remember which is good for your website.
  2. Try to incorporate keywords and make your domain name related to what your website is about. This can help you rank better on Google. If you have a website that’s focused on tablets, it makes no sense to call it chickenfingers.com.
  3. Don’t use copyrighted names. This can be bad for you if and you can get sued by the copyright owners or trademark owners. This can be bad for your own reputation as well because you want to be unique and have a pressence on the Internet.
  4. Make it short and easy to type. This helps others remember your website. If you’re domain is 60 characters long, with numbers or hyphens chances are people will be typing it wrong left and right.
  5. You could go for a unique and brandable domain name. If you’re focused on tablets, choosing besttablets.com might not be memorable. You can choose to not put keywords in your name and go with something special, like boobootablets.com, just an example.

After buying your Domain Name

Now that you have a web hosting service and a domain name, you have to link them together.

This process is usually simple and will depend on the web hosting service you choose.

In general, you have to change the domain name server (DNS). Your hosting service will tell you what DNS address to use, like “ns1.website.com”.

Congrulations ! You now have website with nothing on it

So the next thing to do is to get yourself a content management system (CMS).

This is basically the system you have to use if you don’t know any coding. They make it easy for you to create blog posts and such by providing templates.

This is really an over simplification but all you and I need to know is that it makes setting up our website easy. YAY !

You’ve probably heard of the most popular CMS – WordPress but there are other ones as well like Joomla.

Ta-da ! Your website is ready !

This is really all you need to build your own website.

It can actually be simplified into 3 steps :

  1. Get a web hosting service
  2. Register a domain name
  3. Install a CMS

You can now start writing blog posts or whatever you like with your chosen CMS. There are other stuff to learn as well like how to add videos or some widgets to your site but they depend on the CMS that you chose.

For now just have fun with your website and enjoy writing blogs !

If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment below,

Lucas

2 thoughts on “How To Build a Website For Dummies

  1. James

    That’s a lot of information Lucas about a lot of technical stuff!

    I like you put things in perspective by using the analogy of the restaurant and the waiters.

    Just to make sure I’ve got it right, and continuing the analogy, for cloud hosting is that kind of like…

    I have one waiter, and everything is fine because there’s only me and one other person in the restaurant. But then a huge company party walks in!

    So the owners make a couple calls, and in minutes there is now a swarm of new waiters to take care of the party, now that leaves my waiter to continue focusing on me and the one other patron in the restaurant.

    Did i get that right?

    Thanks for putting this into simple terms!

    Reply
    1. Lucas Post author

      Hey James ! Wow I actually like your analogy and yes you’ve got it right ! The swarm of waiters is like suddenly having more computers connect and provide you with their resources.

      I’m glad you’ve found this useful and thanks for sharing your analogy 😀

      Reply

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