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Hosting 101

This article explains the basics of web hosting and getting your website on the Internet.

You could get a free hosting account if you only want a personal website and aren't concerned with all the drawbacks of free hosting, that way you won't need a domain name, but for the purposes of this article we'll assume you want your own domain so you can be on a level playing field with the majority of webmasters.

If you're unsure of what a domain name is or how they work, you might want to read my article, What Is a Domain Name.

Step 1
To have your own domain, you first need a domain name. Sounds easy, but finding a good domain name that isn't already taken can be difficult and frustrating. I have written an article that will help you find a good domain name. Surprisingly enough, I titled the article, Find a Domain Name. Wow.
Step 2
Once you find a good domain name you need to register it. Registering a domain is really like leasing it for fixed period of time. You can register, or lease if you will, any name not already registered. The "lease" terms can be as short as one year or as many as ten. Depending on the registrar used, a one-year term can cost less than $10.00 or as much as $35.00, with most registrars offering discounts for multiple year registrations.

Warning—don't start planning and building a website around a domain name you don't own. If you do, you risk losing all your work if it's unavailable.

Step 3
Having secured your domain name, you have three choices for building your website. Some website hosts offer site builder software. That means you can build your site online after you log in to your hosting account. Personally I don't use them.

The second choice is similar to the first, only you'd use 3rd party software. This could be a content management system such as Drupal, blog software such as Wordpress, or another program.

The third way, which is what I do, is to build your web site on your computer. You can buy software that will assist you, or as I do, build websites using Notepad. You can see how easy it is to learn HTML coding by going through my HTML Tutorials.

Step 4
Now we'll jump ahead and assume you have built your web site on your computer and are ready to share it with the world. To do that, you need to sign up with a web hosting company. If you go to my hosting index you'll find articles about choosing a web host and my recommended hosts, as well as a big list of hosts if you want more selection and a free ebook that shows you my criteria for choosing a good host. All you have to do is choose a host now.
Step 5
Once you've signed up for a hosting account they'll send you an email with instructions telling you how to access your account. Included in that welcome email will be instructions for changing your domain's name servers so they point to your web site. Don't worry, this is very easy. Just log into your account with the registrar where you registered your domain. You'll find a link for updating your name servers. Just enter the data your host gives you. It usually takes a few days for the change to propogate throughout the name server system.
Step 6
Next you need to set up an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software program with the details your host gave you for logging into your account. You can find several choices of FTP programs, with many excellent free choices, by visiting any shareware site. I like to use WS_FTP but it's not free. Coffeecup Free FTP is a good free program. Once you have your FTP program set up you just transfer your website files to your server space and you're in business!
Well now, that doesn't look so bad, does it? Once your upload your files and the name servers that route website traffic have updated with your new website DNS info, your site will become live online for anyone to see.
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Free PDF ebook...

How to Choose a Good Website Host

How to choose a good web host.
Current Version: 1.8

Download: Right-click Here and choose Save Link As (Firefox) or Save Target As (IE), or similar wording if you use another browser.

Description: This FREE guide to choosing a good host explains the criteria I use to choose a hosting services provider. It includes giveaway rights if you want to share with your own website visitors or friends.

hosting 101 Once you understand the basics of domain name registration and website hosting, getting your site online is relatively simple. hosting features explained

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