Monday, September 5, 2011

Guide to Building Websites - No programming required - Part 1

Many people want to build websites but think they will have to learn programming to do so. This series of posts will show you how to build a website without requiring any coding. Many basic sites can be set up without writing any new code at all. However, programming will be necessary if you want to customize things further, or to create a new type of site. This series will therefore focus on solutions that will work well with actual custom coding later. These posts will also be useful for someone with some programming experience who wants to learn the non-programming aspects of building websites.

What is a website?
A website means you have files hosted on a computer that is always connected to the internet, which is known as a server. The server sends webpages over the internet so that anyone connected can view them. So when a user goes to, a server from Amazon send his computer Amazon's homepage. Technically, any computer can be turned into a server, but practically, you will want to use a web host to host your files on their servers.
So a website is just a collection of files? 
This depends on what type of site you have - static or dynamic. A static site doesn't do anything, it can just display text, images, links and videos. The files are stored on a server and sent over to the user when requested. This may be enough for your site if all you need is a simple online presence for yourself or your business. The pages just consist of simple pages made with HTML and CSS. You can't run any code from the server, but you can use javascript to run simple code from the users' computers. However, if you need a site that can 'do stuff' such as using databases and running code, you'll need a dynamic site, which will be discussed in a future post.

The easiest way to create simple website is to use a DIY-service such as Google Sites or They offer easy-to-use interfaces for creating simple sites. However, if you want to be able to customize more aspects of your site and have more control over the actual HTML, you'll need a web host that lets you upload your own web files. This guide will assume you will pick a host with such flexibility. There are many free options you can choose from, such as, Microsoft Office Live or Static Cloud.

What is a Domain Name Registrar? 

A domain name registrar is where you buy your domain name from, such as A website actually requires two things - a web server that holds the websites, and a domain server that sends people to the web server when they type in the website name. For example, when you type in into your browser, the name is sent to a Domain Name Server which looks up and then sends your computer the information to connect to Amazon's web servers. The web hosting and domain hosting are often packages together, but they're two separate aspects. So you can buy your web hosting from one place, and then buy five domains from another place.

Where should I buy a Domain Name? 

If you're building a simple site, offers a basic web hosting package with your Domain purchase. If you picked a web host separately, they normally also offer the option to buy a domain name. Though if you want a special deal, and often offer domain names for $1 for the first year (You can check deals here). If you're going to get a dynamic host, most of them will throw in a free domain name. Otherwise most Domain Names cost about $10 a year. After you have a domain and a web host, you'll be able to create static websites.

How will I do that? 

Stay tuned for the next post...


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