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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Creating Your Own Website

Owning Your Own Website
Well here we are almost a decade into the
new millennium and you still do not have
your own website! Don't fret. I am here to
help.
We can make it through this!
Yes, there is a myriad of options, terms and
dangers involved in setting up your own
website but there are really only three
concepts you need to understand:
What is a Domain Name?
What is Hosting?
What is Content?
What's in a name?
A domain in the "real" world is simply land
or territory that is controlled by an entity.
On the web, a domain is "virtual" space or
territory that someone (a company,
organization or you) controls.
To make your domain recognizable from all
the rest you need to give it a unique domain
name.
Believe it or not, when the internet was in
its younger days, numbers were used instead
of easy to remember names. Why? Well the
numbers or
IP addresses, as they are called, were mainly
for computers to read and keep track of not
for humans.
Later, as the web became more user-friendly
we started associating names with the IP
addresses.
One problem faced early on with this
practice is that there are unlimited names
but not unlimited numbers. Well,
mathematically, numbers are infinite but
"The powers that be" only set aside a certain
amount of addresses in the beginning,
thinking they would never even need a
fraction of this amount. Ha!
To resolve this issue, IP addresses are
repeated or reused in separate sections of
the internet. No one section can assign the
same IP address. There are special
organizations that keep track of which name
belongs to which IP address. These
organizations are called registrars. They are
the ones who also sell you the domain
name.
Example:
Where's Waldo..uh..compuwise?
My name is Compuwise and I live at 335
Winchester (not really).
A name and an address are pretty much all
you need in today's world to find me and
pay me a visit. But what if I move and I
don't give you my new address? Easy! You
check the phone book for my name and
match it to my new address. Sure there are
millions of names in ALL the phone books all
over the world but you start searching in
the last area I lived and keep on until you
find the right Compuwise.
Ah, but what if you do not know my name?
You only knew me as 'that guy at 335
something'. Well that is a little more
difficult. There are probably many more
335's than there are Compuwise's. You will
probably never find me again!!
But since it never changes, as long as you
know my name you can find me. Likewise, in
the internet world, if you have a domain
name, people should always be able to find
you on the web.
Is it your job to notify everyone in the
entire world when you move to a new IP
address? No. You simply notify your Host or
Registrar and they will
make the changes on their DNS (Domain
Name System) servers which are massively
strong, number crunching computers that
keep track of
which name goes to which IP address. There
is a fee involved for the DNS service.
Usually this fee is included in the payment
for hosting. Sometimes, though, it may be
cheaper to go with one company for name
registration, another for hosting and
another for DNS.
But that is beyond the basics. :)
Whois using your name?
On the websites of almost every Registrar /
Host, there is a link or button taking you to
a well established service called "whois". If
you have a domain name in mind it is not
enough to just try to go to that site with
your web browser. The site could just
happen to be down for
maintenance or some other reason. You
need to do a Whois lookup. In essence this
is a search of all the major registrars and
DNS servers to
see if a domain name is available for
purchase.
The .com extension originally stood for
COMpany, .net stood for small
networks, .org stood for non-profit
organizations but now these three are
open to anyone. You still have to be a
government entity to use .gov and a school
to use .edu. These extensions I just
mentioned are the most
common domain extensions but there are
many quickly rising in popularity like .us for
United States.
Hosting
Ok, now you have a name but what about
the address? No, sorry, the address does
not always automatically come with a home.
You and your
name have been kicked out into the world
wild web. Not really. Unless you just have a
preference to split up your hosting, DNS,
domain name
purchase, etc. like mentioned previously
then you would just purchase a hosting
package from your Registrar.
What comes with hosting besides a space to
call your own? What type of space am I
talking about? Quite literally you are renting
hard drive
space on a computer that your Registrar/
Host set aside specifically for this purpose.
There are probably thousands of other
people just like you
with there own little space set aside on this
same server. The host incurs a fee for the
initial purchase of this hardware, overhead,
electricity, and
the salary of the geek that sits there and
makes sure the computer runs properly.
They pass this cost on to you, usually with a
little mark up to
make a profit. You also have to pay
separately for email @yourdomain.com, ftp
service into you domain space, extra hard-
drive space, extra
security, the list goes on and those are
topics for future articles.
I will mention that there are two "flavors"
of hosting servers: Linux based and Windows
based. Linux is an operating system as is
Microsoft
Windows.
The main thing you need to know about
these two is that with Linux you are
supposed to get more stability or "uptime"
and with Windows you are
supposed to get more functionality. You pick
which one is best for you based on your
type of web site. For example, if you are
hosting a site
with photos or information that is in "real-
time" you would want more stability. With
the Windows server you get all the features
that come with
Front Page which is a web publishing
software created by none other than
Microsoft. Sorry, there are way too many
variables to go over here but
you have the basics to build upon.
Finally you need CONTENT
This is the wealth of information,
information and creativity that comes only
from you! Of course there are companies
out there that will build a
site for you but for it to really be your own
you have to have the final say so in design.
There are also website that sell or even give
freely, web
site templates to get you started or take you
all the way through the design process. Keep
in mind that the same templates are
available to
millions of other people just like you. So
instead of waiting another decade to be
original, take the plunge now and start
scratch. There are
many free resources on the web to give you
ideas and help you accomplish the look and
feel you desire. The choices are infinite but
the center
of the web site should ultimately you unique
ideas!
If this helps at all, please come back and
post a link to your site!!

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