When I first researched into building a websites it was so confusing, you need all these components before your website will actually work.
At first I thought buying a "website address" or domain name will be enough for me to build a website, then I was faced will DNS hosting offers and Email hosting offers and all this other stuff that I just bought because I thought I needed.
I want to use the analogy of buying a house to explain this. When you buy a house you technically need 3 components to make it a "home".
1. Your address
2. The piece of land at the address
3. The house to be built on that piece of land.
The most obvious step to creating a website is to purchase a website address. You can purchase these for a fairly low price, not much more than $25 a year, and you technically have "property" on the internet.
How ever an address with no "house" on it seems like a pretty pointless exercise and when I first tried creating my own website I sat there wondering what to do with my newly purchased www.wendyhuang.com.au web address.
Land land land
As I did more research I realised that I needed something called "hosting", this is my little "hard-drive on the internet or basically your piece of land you can start putting things on. Hosting can be bought for as little as $9 a month on shared servers and you can get your own dedicated servers for much more. Cloud hosting is also becoming very popular. Having a hosting account usually gives you space to store emails, so you don't need to upgrade to an email package when you buy your website address.
Build the house
Once you have your piece of land or hosting, you can start building a website on it. You may need to hire a web-developer at this stage to help you do that or if you are keen to learn, you can install wordpress or other open source programs into your website fairly easily. Building the house takes the longest time as you may know, and obviously the costs increase with the size and quality of the house you want to build.
How to pull it all together?
So now that you have these 3 components, perhaps the hardest thing to get your head across is how it all ties together? After all chances are you are probably using a different company for each of these components.
Pointing your address to your piece of land.
In the real world, we kind of have the luxury of knowing what address a piece of land has purely from the location. But what if we lived on a huge empty block of space and we needed to claim a certain amount of land and lodge our claim. This is the case with the internet. Every website address comes with a setting you can change called "name servers". What this does is allows you to point your address to the IP or website address of your host or online harddrive.
When you buy a hosting account from a company they will give you the "host address" they use. You simply need to associate this address with your website address through your account settings. You then need to tell your piece of "land" that this is the address associated to it but adding it into your hosting settings. Once this is done you are ready to build, and everything will show up on the address.
There are many other different products you can buy online, but this is probably the basics you will need to know to get started. Don't worry if it's confusing at first, since it took me a very long time to get my head around everything and it can be a challenge.
I advise you to get the help of a experienced web designer to hand hold you through your first website, but it's always good to kind of know what they are talking about :)
If you are interested in knowing how to attract a community of people to your "house" please have a read of my giving to the community article.
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