Don't pay $5, $10, $15 a month for hosting and $30 a year for a domain just to host a simple 5-page website! Learn how to create and host a website with your own domain and no ads for less than $20 a year.
Time Required: 3 days
- Pick a good domain name. Shorter is better. Memorable is better. Keywords in the domain name is good, but may or may not be appropriate, depending on your business.
- Find a cheap domain registrar. Network Solutions still charges something like $35 a year for basically the same service others provide for less than $10. I have used GoDaddy for all my personal and business sites since 2001 and have been very happy with them. As of 2006, they are the #1 registrar for .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO and .BIZ domains. I'll use them as the example in the following steps.
- Visit GoDaddy.com and see if your desired domain name is available. If it is, scroll down and hit the "Continue" button. Otherwise, pick from one of the available suggested names, or go back to the drawing board (Step 1).
- Create an account if you don't already have one. Enter and/or update the registration information. Choose the length of registration you want, then keep clicking on "Continue to checkout" to skip all the offers for additional services.
- Within a few minutes, the domain will be set up. If you already have your hosting arranged, on GoDaddy, from the menu choose Domains/My Domains. Click on the checkbox next to the new domain name then click on Nameservers at the top of the list.
- Select the "Custom Nameservers" tab and enter the nameservers for your host. Two are generally required and most often they are NS1.NameOfYourHostingCompany.com and NS2.NameOfYourHostingCompany.com, but you should confirm before entering them.
- Find an inexpensive web host. The host I recommended for about five years finally stopped their $10 a year service, but there are a number of other companies that offer $1 a month web hosting. This is pretty no-frills, and there's not typically an uptime guarantee, but if you're just starting out on a budget, you can get a year's worth of hosting for what other places charge monthly. Just search Google for $1 web hosting and you'll find plenty of results. You'll usually have to prepay the year, but at that price, who cares?
- Find an inexpensive web host. The host I recommended for about five years finally stopped their $10 a year service, but there are a number of other companies that offer $1 a month web hosting. This is pretty no-frills, and there's not typically an uptime guarantee, but if you're just starting out on a budget, you can get a year's worth of hosting for what other places charge monthly. Just search Google for $1 web hosting and you'll find plenty of results.
- Visit the site and sign up. You will provide your new domain name during the registration process. Be sure to jot down the nameservers (there should be at least two) and the FTP login information they provide.
- Create a website using the HTML editor of your choice. If you don't already have FrontPage or FrontPage Express, there are many free HTML editors (for Mac) to choose from.
- Upload your site, and "voilá" - you're done!
- You really don't save much money registering your domain for two years (many domain registrars will automatically set it for this term unless you specify otherwise) over doing it a year at a time. To make sure you don't lose your domain because you forgot to pay it, you can choose to automatically renew, and they'll just re-bill your credit card every year.
- Realize that discount hosting plans are usually fairly inflexible. Make sure you know what features you're actually getting and that it will meet your needs. For example, do you need an actual e-mail account? Or can you just have e-mail forwarding set up to go to your existing GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL account?
- You can do a lot with PHP and a database, which even most cheap hosting plans include. Check out the PHP scripts at HotScripts.com for shopping carts, portals, content managements systems - everything you'd probably ever want.
- Don't expect a lot of support for $1 a month hosting. You'll usually have to submit support questions via e-mail or a discussion forum -- you probably won't be able to get anyone on the phone. If that's an issue for you, you should consider a mid-priced hosting service.
What You Need
- A good domain name
- Your credit card handy
- An e-mail account