There are many popular and free services on the Internet for creating and sharing your own content. However many of these services has limitations when it comes to space, freedom to alter the system and making your personal touch. However these services proves to be very useful combined with a personal domain and web site. Set up one today, it is cheap, easy and is done in very few steps. Here is a short guide to help you on your way.
1. Choose a web host
There are many host out there (in the clouds) that are ready to provide you with some space, a domain name and a database. You just have to decide for one. For several years I have been using One. They provide a database, and lots of storage at a low fee, and it is easy to use their online interface and register with them. The downside is that they often load many sites on the same servers, and many think they are quite slow. However, unless you are going to make a huge, intricate API system that doesn’t tolerate any waiting time or the new Facebook they work fine. For a personal homepage or similar it works perfectly. Prices are listed in space (How many MB you get), in traffic (some charges you more if you share a high amount of data) and domain registration (a fee for reserving and linking a domain name to your site).
2. Find a domain name
This is fun. You know the thing which is written before the dot in the address field. You can decide you own. For the time being I have registered two domains lovholm.net and m3dia.me. A domain subscription is lasting for a year, and has to be renewed. You have a lot of suffixes to choose between, some are international (or American) such as .net, .org, .com and .mobi. Others are national such as .uk, .no, .se and .dk. There is also a third alternative which is actually national domains, but because of their special names they are perceived as domain hacks, these are .me (Macedonia), .tv (Tuvalu-something) and .iq (Iraq). There are millions of posts of there filled with tips on how you can choose the best domain name, but here are the three most important 1: Something which is easy to remember 2: Something which is easy to write 3: Not too many words.
3. Register with the web host
Registering is easy. You will need to fill in name, address and other personal information. In most cases you will also need an e-mail account as well. If you don’t have one yet (really!?) sign up with Google, gmail is the new Royal Mail. After you have found your domain name, and registered, you can wait for one or two days since the registration has to be processed. Eventually you will get an e-mail with login information. Some web services will also need some real-world evidence that you are who you say you are. This could be code sent via SMS or a form which you have to download, sign and return.
4. Find a CMS or build your own site
Now the fun part starts. You do now own your little Internet-cabin, pal. Let us fill it with some content. If you now write your domain name in to the address field one of two things are likely to happen: Nothing there, or a page with the logo of the company you registered with. Great, now we have to decide for a CMS (Content Management System). I use WordPress, its Open Source, free and very easy to use, expand and customize. The first step towards content on the page is to upload something to your site. This is located at a server in the company you decided to work with. You will need to connect to their server and upload your files there. (Maybe the files you downloaded from WordPress). This is best done with the File Transfer Protocol, FTP, using the settings you got in the registration email earlier. If you upload wordpress, you should be able to just write the path name in the address field of your browser. From here you will need to fill in a three step form mainly about admin password, database info and Name of your site. When this is done all you have to do is to log into the back-end system yourwebpage.com/wp-admin and fill in username and password. Congratulations, you do now have your own webpage.
5. Be online for real!
You did it! Congratulations. Send me a link to your new domain, or post in the comment field under. Read you later!