Create a Website

Screenshot of a website builder

Anyone can create a website... within 30 minutes.

Welcome! My name is Ian. I've been creating websites since 1996. If you need to create a website, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place!

Here, I explain how to create a website. I also explain how to get your own domain name (eg, yourname.com), and how to host your website (make it available to the world).

The Website Creation Process

Here are the three main steps for creating a website.

  1. Register a Domain Name
  2. Get a Web Host
  3. Build your Website

Doing it in this order is required if you choose to use your web host's online website builder. Actually, the first two steps can be done at the same time (you can register the domain name at the same time you sign up for the website builder).

If you prefer to code your own website, you can do the steps in any order you like.

Below is an explanation of the above steps.

  1. Screenshot of the ZappyHost homepage

    Register a Domain Name

    One of the first things you should think about before you create a website, is its domain name.

    A domain name is the thing that looks like this: yourdomain.com.

    Your domain name represents the URL (or permanent web address) of your website. Therefore, when anyone types in yourdomain.com or www.yourdomain.com, they will see your website.

    You get a domain name by registering it through a domain name registrar or hosting provider. You simply check that your preferred domain name is available, then register it (online).

    Domain names are registered on an annual basis, and you can usually register it many years in advance (or set "auto-renew").

    Prices can range from between $10 to $15 up to as much as $35 or even $45 (this is for the same product!).

    It doesn't matter which domain registrar you check. If a domain name is available, it will be available at all registrars that support that top level domain (top level domain being the .com, .org, .info, etc part).

    Similarly, if it's unavailable at one registrar, it will be unavailable at all registrars.

    Therefore, no need to check multiple registrars.

  2. Screenshot of the ZappyHost hosting page

    Get a Web Host

    A web host (or hosting provider), is a company that makes your website available for the world to see. They have the equipment and technical skills to make sure your website is available to the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Choose your hosting provider carefully - a good host will have excellent support. A bad host can have almost no support at all! If you're new to creating websites, good support can reduce the stress that comes from doing something for the first time.

    Also, some web hosts have an online website builder. A good website builder can enable anyone to make a website — even a complete novice.

    If you don't need a website builder, you can build your website on your own computer, then upload it to your hosting plan when you're ready to go live. The common method of uploading website files is by FTP.

    If you'd like to learn more about web hosts, check out my web hosting tutorial.

  3. Screenshot of a website builder

    Build your Website

    This part can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be!

    The easy way? The easiest way to build a website is to use your web host's website builder (assuming they have one).

    Our partner, ZappyHost provides a template-based website builder which allows you to create a website from a pre-built website. Just choose a template, add content, then publish!

    The hard way? OK, if you think a website builder sounds too much like cheating, you probably want to learn how to build a website the way the pros do it — by coding/programming. If this sounds like you, then see this introduction to making your own website. Also check out the HTML tutorial.

Some of the links on this page go to ZappyHost. ZappyHost is a partner site, and I earn a commission from any products purchased.

If you prefer to use another hosting company, just perform the same steps using the other company.

A Tip about Free Websites

You might occasionally encounter companies offering you a free website. Basically you can sign up, and start building your website for free.

But... a word of caution!

There are things they might not tell you when they're trying to sell you a free website. While a few companies will be completely upfront about these extra costs, others will fail to mention them ...until you've signed up:

  • Your "free" website does not have it's own domain name (eg, www.yourname.com). If you want your own domain name, you'll have to pay for it. And you will probably pay more than you should.
  • Your "free" website may have ads displayed all over it. This enables the company (not you), to earn money from your website. To remove the ads, you will usually have to pay money for a premium package.
  • Most of the really good features are actually part of a "premium" package — which you have to pay for.

So, if you're shopping around, check for those three things before you sign up.

If you do choose the free option, I would highly recommend that you get your own domain name. Registering your own domain name is the best piece of advice I can give. Without this, your website does not have it's own "web address".

This might not sound like much now, but later, once you've built up a fantastic website with loads of content, you will see what I mean. Without your own domain name, your "web address" is not actually yours, it's the company who provides your "free" website. If they decide to change something, you could lose all your hard work. Imagine losing months, or even years, of hard work, just because you chose not to register a domain name!

Creating a Blog

Creating a blog is similar to creating a website. You use exactly the same steps as outlined above. However, there are some minor differences between blogs and websites.

Some hosting plans include a blog builder. These are very similar to online website builders, but they use blogging software instead. Blogging plans like this automatically create a blog for you when you sign up. For example, this is what ZappyHost's WordPress hosting does.

Shopping Carts & Ecommerce Websites

Websites with online stores are often referred to as "ecommerce websites". Ecommerce websites usually have a shopping cart that customers can add products to. Once the customer is ready to purchase your product, they can proceed to the checkout where they can register as a customer, pay for the product, provide shipping details etc.

Ecommerce websites are a little more complex than basic websites. For example, an ecommerce website usually needs to have an administration section where you can add/edit products to display on your storefront (along with other details such as price, description, size/color options, etc). The website also needs to enable customers to search your product catalog and purchase your products.

Because of the extra requirements of an ecommerce website, you will need more than a simple website builder. If you need to build an ecommerce website, check out ZappyHost's Quick Shopping Cart ecommerce website builder.

FAQ & Help

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Still not sure about how to go about creating a website? Check out the following: