The three website essentials

What basic things do you need for a website?

  • Design: the design is the code that creates the page’s content and appearance.
  • Hosting: a place to put the code.
  • Domain name: a name to help people remember how to find the site.

To help you have a starting point of what is involved in getting a site, here is an overview of what the these pieces are. Let’s talk about the last two first: web hosting and domain names. 

Hosting

Your website’s host is where all of the code that makes your site come to life lives. Even if you’ve never considered getting a website, you’ve probably heard of one of the more popular website hosts: Go Daddy.

When you signed up to get internet access with your internet service provider (ISP), you probably also got some space to make a website . That space is one of the places you can host a website. That’s fine for a personal page, although its capabilities are usually very limited.

Usually you will want to get hosting from a company other than your ISP. Or your ISP may offer hosting packages with more capabilities. This is a service that you need to pay for. Think of it as paying rent for a storage area, like using the company Public Storage to store your extra stuff. The amount you pay will depend on how much stuff you want to store, and if your site becomes very popular you will have to pay for the additional traffic. If you are reading this introductory material, you are unlikely to need anything beyond the most inexpensive packages available.

Domains

A domain name is how the world finds a website. All the name does is provide an easier way for people to remember where your site is. It converts the site’s name into the numbers that the Internet uses to locate your site. This site’s domain name is SplendidSpider.com.

Your website technically doesn’t need a special domain name. Talking about your ISP again, if it gave you hosting space, it also gave you a domain name so that you can access the web page. Those type of domain names are something like: www.myIsp.com/~myusername/pagename.html. It works, but it isn’t very easy to remember.

There are lots of places to buy a domain name, and they are usually very inexpensive. Some companies will have multiple domains point to the same website. One reason to do this is to catch people’s typeos. For instance Titter.com and Twitter.com can both take people to Twitter.com.

Site Design

That’s why you’re here. It’s true that there are a lot of packages out there than can help you put together a site yourself. They are usually quite limited and you may quickly find that they won’t let you do something the way you want it. Or the design may work on one browser, but doesn’t look right on another.

I’ll talk more about the design process and options on another page, because there are lots of considerations about how it looks and what you may want it to do.

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