Setting Up A Website
Setting up an informational website is easy to do. When you have a domain name, such
as name.com, and someone types in that name, their request is automatically sent
to the registrar who maintains that domain name. The registrar automatically looks up
the numerical web address for your domain name and routes their request to your website
on the computer of the company hosting your website.
An analogy of this relationship would be a central post office and various
business addresses. The mail that is sent to a business goes to the post
office (registrar) where the request is routed to the correct business address
(your Internet address at the company hosting your website). The steps to set
up a simple, informational website are listed follow. There are four sections:
- REVIEW & SUMMARY
All sections cover the same information, with the only difference being the amount of detail. The
"Quickview" section provides a quick understanding of the steps.
How to set up a website in the fewest words possible:
- Register your Domain Name* - (Approx. $35/yr)
- Write your web page(s) - (Free, if you do it yourself)
- Select a hosting company - (A setup fee of about $50, then a monthly fee of $17 to $25)
- Transfer your web page(s) files to your web site using any FTP program - (Free)
* About Domain Names
Your Domain Name is your "identity" on the Internet and registering
your domain name is by far the most important first step. It's inexpensive, very easy to do, and guarantees that
you have the domain name that you want. I would highly recommend that anyone who has a business, or
who has plans for one in the future, decide on their domain name and get it registered as soon as possible.
You can keep registering the domain name for years and never use it until you're ready to set up your web
site. If you decide to wait until you're ready to set up the site before registering a domain name, the domain
name you want is likely to have already been registered to someone else.
You also want a simple, easily remembered domain name. Email is provided by the hosting company, at no
extra charge, when your website is set up with them. Your email addresses will be in the form of
"email@example.com", so you'll want a name that's short. The website you're at now is
nlcurve.com, which is also nolearningcurve.com. My email addresses are
in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org, which is much easier to remember (and type in) than
You can register more than one domain name and have the other domain names you own automatically
forwarded to your main domain name for about $12.00/yr. per domain name.
- Select a Domain Name and Register It: Come up with a name for your website
(name.com, name.net, etc.), then register it with the primary registrar
company Network Solutions. They receive information
requests that are directed to your domain name and relay them to your numeric Internet
website address. (Note: Network Solutions offers options to have a one page, or five page website
with them. These require you to use their templates, but may be all you need, in which
case, the following additional steps are not required.)
- Write The Web Page(s) For Your Website: You can actually write your web page(s)
before getting the host company lined up. (You can also have someone else write the web
page(s) for you.)
- Select a Hosting Company For Your Website: You will need to select a hosting
company for your website. (Your web pages are designed on your own computer, but are
uploaded and kept in a subdirectory on the computer of the host company you selected.
This is similar to renting space in a strip mall.)
- Upload Your Web Page(s) To The Host Company: You do this by transferring them
with an FTP program (file transfer protocol). This quickly becomes a routine operation.
(There are many FTP programs available. Windows has a My Network Places that enables
you to quickly upload files.)
1. Select a Domain Name and Register It:
This is easy. First decide what your domain name is to be. (Most people want
a domain name that is like name.com.)
Go to Network Solutions at networksolutions.com, the primary registrar,
and use their domain name lookup option to see if the name you chose is
available. They will tell you if it is, and also, what other versions are
available. (name.net, name.org, etc.)
You can register you name for a period from 1-10 years (even to 100 years).
The cost with Network Solutions is currently about $35 per year. (The cost
is less for multiple years) Once you have the name, you are the sole
owner of it, whether you actually set up a website or not. The domain
name is what people type in to get to your website. Your website address is
actually a series of numbers. Example: 22.214.171.1247 Your domain name and
actual web address are kept at a registrar who receives requests for your
website and looks up your web address number. They then send the requests to
Note: It takes from 24-48 hours for the domain name to be in
effect once you've purchased it. Often it is done in less time.
2. Write The Web Page(s) For Your Website:
Writing the web pages on your computer is easy, however, there are various ways
in which to do this. The main point is that you create your web page(s), whatever
way you choose, and then upload them to the computer of your host company.
You can write your web page in any word processor as long as you save it in a text
only format and have an extension of *.htm or *.html. (It's best to stay with the *.htm
extension since some older browsers may not be able to read files that have more
than a three character extension.) Microsoft Word and most other major
word processors allow you to set up a *.doc file, then save it in *.html format.
You can use programs that allow your web page
to be written in a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) view. I would
recommend that you either use a web page writing program, or get the simplest book on
HTML 4.0 you can get See the Recommended Books page for a list of reference books.)
Although you're writing a simple text document when you write a web page, the way the
text appears on the screen is controlled by the HTML tags you included. This is true
whether you wrote the document in HTML from scratch, or used a wysiwyg web page
What is HTML? Here's a simple explanation of what a web page is and why
there is something called HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.
(This is not a programming language, but should considered to be a text formatting
method.) All web pages are transmitted as simple text documents without any
formatting. (Such as bold, underline, italics, new paragraph, text centering, etc.)
As a standard text document, any computer can receive the file (information) in this
form. The text includes the information you want to have on your web page, as well
as the way in which you want it displayed (format). The display is controlled by tags,
which are in the document as text and surround the words and phrases you want to
format, as well as new paragraphs, center, etc. (For those familiar with the original
MS-DOS word processors, tags are comparable to the control codes used to format
the document.) When a person goes to a web page to view it, their browser downloads
the file as text only, then formats the display as the person intended it to appear, based
upon the HTML tags in the document. Although web pages are getting increasing more
sophisticated, as a result of additions and improvements to the HTML language, they
are still, in reality, simple standard text documents. Actually, you could create a simple
web page as text only (without any formatting), upload it, then add the tags later.
(Update to this note: HTML continues to progress, and now there are interactive
web pages. The basic web page principles still hold true, however, more options
are available. Often, a web page can be designed for you for a modest fee by
a college student learning to write web pages.)
Why would a person want to learn HTML? - If you use a wysiwyg web page writing program you
are committed to that program, and future upgrades, since you are dependent upon the
program for formatting your pages. As new version of HTML become accepted (currently
HTML 4.0 is the standard) you will have to upgrade the program. Also, I believe that it's
best to write your program in the lowest version of HTML that will still enable you to
have the web page as you would like it. The reason for this is that many people still use
older browsers which may not support the latest HTML version. By writing the program in the
oldest version that still accomplishes what you want, you will be certain that everyone will
be able to view your web page as you wrote it.
Regardless of how you generate your web pages, you simply upload them to the host
company. Make sure the page you want to appear first has the name index.htm or
index.html. When someone types in your domain name, the first page to be displayed
is one which has one of these file names.
3. Select a Host Company For Your Website:
This is easy as well. Pick one of the top five hosting companies and select one of
their smallest packages to get started.
They usually bill you at least every three months, and there is a set up fee of about
$40-50. I recommend NTT Verio who has a low package that is $24.95/month; or
Interland (previously HostPro) who has one that is $16.95/month. There are some differences
in the features in these two packages. There are other companies, but these are the ones
I use and can highly recommend. Don't worry about all of the features that are available,
since by picking one of the top five companies, you should have available most of what
you will ever need, when you need it. Fees are paid by credit card.
Note: It takes from 24-48 hours for the Host Company to get everything set
up once you have paid for the setup fee and first three months by credit card. The time
delay is the result of the time it takes to propagate your domain name throughout the
Internet. Often it is done in less time.
4. Upload Your Web Page(s) To The Host Company:
Using an FTP Program (file transfer protocol) you send copies of your web pages to the
host company you selected. There are various FTP programs available. Once you upload using
FTP a couple of times, it becomes a routine operation.
REVIEW & SUMMARY
Getting your domain name registered is very easy and makes it certain
that you have the name you want. If you think you may want to set up a website
at some time in the future, it's a good idea to get the domain name registered now,
before someone else takes the name. The annual cost is low. Once you're set
up you don't have to do anything with the Registrar Company again except pay
the annual fee. (Remember, if all you want to do is provide information, you
may find that using the Network Solutions one or five pages website is all you need.)
Creating your website page(s) can be as simple as using a wysiwyg HTML
web page writing program, or as complicated as writing directly in HTML. Once you have your domain
name registered, and are set up on a host company, you can create a simple, one
page web page, name it index.htm or index.html and upload it to your
website. This page will be the introduction to your website. It can be anything:
Under Construction, company name & address, etc. As you improve it you can
upload the new versions of the index.htm pages as well as additional pages. You can
keep you web page(s) simple, or as complex as you want.
Picking a host company is also easy. By picking one of the top five companies
you can avoid having to spend a lot of time shopping around. Setting up the account
is done quickly with a credit card. You don't have to even use the hosted website
until you're ready to upload pages. Once you're set up you don't have to do anything
with the Host Company except pay the monthly fee. They will bill you every three months,
or at whatever other payment plan you select. (I recommend using either Interland or
NTT Verio since I use both and am very satisfied with their service.)
Uploading your web page(s) using a FTP program (file transfer protocol) is fast and easy, and after the first
couple of times, it becomes a routine operation.