How to host your own website using our must learn techniques. In this guide we’ll show you how to host your own website with some easy simple steps.
We are living in the Information Age. Everything that we would want to know can be found on the Internet. Described by some as the Information Superhighway, the Internet is simply a global network of interconnected websites. The World Wide Web (www) is delivered to us through a system of unique addresses known as domain names, hosting features and architecture like fibre-optic cable. There are various locations where we use the Internet. Examples of these include our schools, homes, libraries, restaurants and coffee shops.
The world meets online. Therefore, if you have something to tell the world, the best way to do it is through a website. You can use it to speak about yourself or your business. As a matter of fact, it is very important for all businesses to have websites. This is because millions of consumers log into the Internet every day in search of products and services which can help them solve specific problems or increase their quality of life.
How to host your own website?
For you to have an active website on the Internet, there are a number of activities which you need to do. Firstly, you need to build the site. Secondly, you need to host it. Here is more on this and how to host your own website.
Building a website
There are three general ways to build a website. They include
- Coding it yourself in your computer
- Use an online web-builder
- Contracting a web designer to do the construction for you
We also suggest you to read our previous article about building a website from scratch.
Coding a website in your computer
It is not that difficult to build a website. You can make a simple one right in your computer. A website is made up of many web pages which are constructed using a special coding language. There are many types of such languages for example HTML5, CSS and PHP. The simplest of these yet most highly strategic is HTML5. Easy to learn, this language creates the foundation for your web pages and helps you to link them to special content such as video, pictures and animations. HTML5 is also important in linking the web pages to each other.
CSS is used to make the site beautiful. By using many of its resources alongside the other languages, you can make your website more appealing to the eye. PHP is a language that comes in handy when you want to use your website to collect and save information from those who visit it. It can connect your site to a database in the back-end. In this way, you can read information from your visitors and display it to them as well.
All you need to begin building a website in your computer is the notepad program. It comes bundled together with most operating systems in one form or another. By typing the required code into a notepad page and saving it as “.html”, you can begin to construct the web pages which are necessary for your website. As such, with a design in mind and knowledge of these coding languages, you can comfortably create a website from the comfort of your home and eventually learn how to host your own website.
Using an online web-builder
Another way to construct a website is to use an online web builder. There are companies which develop resources that make it easy for you to build a website online. They not only give you the tools to create a website right on the Internet, they also offer you hosting options.
These providers allow you to register an account and begin to construct your website using a tool known as a Drag and Drop website builder. It is a digital interface which you can use to pick elements and literally piece together your web pages like a jigsaw. There are elements for text, pictures, video, applications, forms and online applications too. As such, you can use the website builder to piece together your website until it looks and performs as you desire. The website-builder even gives you the necessary resources to link these pages together. As such, if you have a detailed plan, you can create a working website in minutes.
Contracting a website designer
Sometimes, you don’t want to do the heavy lifting of constructing your website. In such a case, you can contract the services of a professional web designer but these services are provided by companies specializing in development and hosting. You can also work with an expert to create a layout for your site. They can collect the information which is required for your site from you. After that, they can use their skill and knowledge to build the site. With regular consultation with you over the content and progressive design of the site, the expert can build you a decent website at a fee.
Constructing your website is only the first step in getting it online. The second step is hosting the site.
What is website hosting?
Hosting is literally giving your website an address on the World Wide Web (www). If you don’t host your site, it will not be visible online. As such, this is a very important step to perform. When you host your site, all its foundation files get stored in a special folder location in a server. From here, the files can be read directly over the Internet by visitors to your website. You can even give editing privileges to them too. Without these special files hosted in a server which is constantly connected to the Net, your website would not work normally. Hosting can be done in two main ways. They include:
- External hosting by a company
- Internal hosting in your own computer
There are companies that can host your website for you. They have the infrastructure which is necessary for website hosting. Examples of such are servers, hosting software, a domain name registration mechanism and an online web-builder to help you keep editing your site as you desire.
When you use an external company to host your website, you gain access to a resource known as a Content Management System (CMS). This is a platform that can be used to manage your site in whichever way you wish. By using its features, you can perform a variety of activities.
- Editing the content of your website
- Changing its domain name
- Adding sub-domains
Viewing the performance statistics of your site
Attaching helpful applications to its pages so as to improve its functionality
Make the site dynamic for the purposes of viewing on mobile devices
As such, the CMS provided to you by external website hosting companies is a versatile tool that you can utilize for the administration of your website.
In addition to an administration resource, external companies also provide you with specific types of hosting. Examples of these are:
- Shared web hosting
This is a type of hosting where your website is stored alongside thousands of others in a super-server. The main advantage of this is that you pay very little compared to other hosting methods. It is a good way to begin your online journey with external hosting provided by a company.
- Reseller web hosting
This is a variant of shared hosting where your hosting company provides you with some special tools to resell hosting space on the server where your website is located. The tools help you to invoice clients as you provide them with space to host their own websites. In return, you pay a commission and receive special benefits from your parent hosting company.
- Cloud Based hosting
This is a type of hosting where your website is held within a Cloud. This is simply a giant collection of servers acting as one single entity. The main advantage of this type of hosting is that if you get tremendously high amounts of traffic to your site, the Cloud hosting company can accommodate you due to its already huge capacity. This prevents your site from crashing.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
This is a type of hosting where your website is hosted in a virtual location within a physical server. The hosting company begins with one big server and then subdivides it into multiple, virtual ones. Your website can then be hosted in one of them. It offers you the privacy and reliability of dedicated hosting without the added cost.
- Dedicated web servers
This is where you rent out an entire physical server for your website. You do not share it with other website owners and have administrator or “root” access to it. This type of hosting is essentially ideal when your website is getting millions of requests such that you need dedicated infrastructure for it. It is best used for robust, thriving online businesses.
As such, when you host a website using the services of an external company, you have access to these types of hosting. If you have the technical know-how, you can configure them up yourself. Otherwise, an assistant provided by the company can help you host your site in one of these methods and get it up and running. All this is provided at a fee.
Internal hosting in your own computer
This is an interesting method that requires you to learn how to host your own website. By using specially made software, you can transform your computer into a server. This option is usually ideal if you want to host a small website that has only a few visitors. It does not cost you any money to perform and you have full control over the website and its hosting location. If you have a Windows PC, you can turn it into a WAMP server. On the other hand, if you are running a Linux PC, you can transform it into a LAMP server.
While hosting a site for public access on your computer is fun, it will require that you disable some security features such as your firewall. In doing so, you have exposed yourself to security threats. However, if the individuals you intend to let access the website are familiar to you, then the risk is reduced significantly. Here is how to host your own website.
The steps required to host your own website
Download and install WampServer
If you are using a windows machine, the first step to do is download the latest version of WampServer. The software will help you host the important, technical files of your website. Freely, available, you can find WampServer by visiting www.wampserver.com. After downloading it, proceed to install the program. If you are using a Linux machine, search for LampServer and download it.
The installation instructions are entirely self-explanatory. Keep clicking on “Next” and keep the settings default. At some point you will be asked if you want to use a particular web browser for example Internet Explorer as your default option. At this juncture, you can choose any browser in your computer for WampServer to use as its default access path. However, if you are not sure, just click on “Open” and continue with the installation process. Also, you need to create a security exception for Apache in your Windows Firewall. Apache is an important element of WampServer. As the installation process gets completed, you will see a checkbox labeled, “Start WampServer 2 now”. Make sure to check it before you complete the installation.
Open up the WampServer session
After the installation is complete, you will see a new icon in the notification area of your taskbar. You can left click on it and then navigate to “Localhost” at the top of the menu. Click on this option and it will open up the default web browser that you chose and deliver you to the WampServer Homepage in your computer.
Store the essential files of your website in the WampServer
Every website has some files which make it run. Examples of these are the HTML files that make up its web pages, pictures and video content. These files need to be put in your WampServer so as to host the website in your computer. How can we do this? Simply left click on the icon in your notification area again. Doing so will bring up a menu. In this one, click on the option marked “www directory”. This will automatically open up a specific folder for you. You can now store your relevant website files in this folder.
Simply use your Windows Explorer navigation to copy and paste these files into the www directory. Any changes that you make on these files will reflect in your website. It is important to note that whenever you make a change on a webpage while it is open in the browser, you can simply click on refresh so as to see the change that you have made. At this point, your website is only accessible through your computer. How do you make it possible for people to access it over the Internet? Read on to find out.
How to get your website online
To do this, left-click on the WampServer icon on the notification area. This will bring up a menu. Search through it for the option which reads, “Put Online”. It is important to know that your WampServer is set to refuse all connections coming from any other location other than your computer which is also known as Localhost. Anyone who is networked to your computer and tries to access your website from their browser will receive a message saying, “403 Forbidden”. As such, you need to make some changes in the configuration settings so as to give them access.
In the WampServer menu, point to Apache. This will bring up a side-menu. From this one, select an option labeled “httpd.conf”. Doing so will open up a notepad file that has a collection of commands within it. In this file, scroll downwards until you see some code written:
Order Deny, Allow
Deny from all
When you see this code, delete and replace it with:
Order Allow, Deny
Allow from all
After you make that edit, save your changes and close the “httpd.conf” document. After that, return to the WampServer menu and look up an option labeled, “restart all services”. Click on it. Congratulations, your website is now accessible from the World Wide Web! It is important to note that you need to have an active Internet connection and keep your computer running for visitors to access your website.
A website is quickly becoming a necessity. Individuals and businesses which want to have some online presence can do so by investing in this resource. The guidelines above show you how to get some hosting for your website. This can be externally provided or in your computer. The guidelines above are interesting and a fun learning experience which shows you how to host your own website.