Website Hosting

The purpose of this page is to teach you how to setup your own website through a hosting service and start building your first website.

I encourage you to watch the video below to learn how to setup a hosting service for the first time.

Step 1: Find a good hosting service

Hosting companies vary from Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, and others. This is probably one of the most important decisions you will make before setting up your pages. The reason for this is cost, convenience, tools, and customer service.

Times are hard financially so having an affordable hosting provider will reduce the amount of money depleting from your account. I will not review all of the hosting services since I have only tried one. However I have found that Bluehost offers a reasonable rate of about $4.95/month. You can visit their website here.To sign up just click on the Sign Up Now button. Then you will be asked to choose a domain name for your website. My domain is www.programmermind.com as an example. It will then verify a potential match in their database. So if that one is taken, you will be notified.

Having covenience with a hosting provider is necessary to give you more flexibility. The great thing about Bluehost is that they have a live chat service so there is no need to respond through a messageboard or email. When you first contact them you will get a popup box that looks similar to this screenshot. Once you fill in your information a time will be given of the next available representative. This can vary depending on whattime of day you are contacting them. The most important thing you will need is the last 4digits of your password. Don't worry as it is a secured client.

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Step 2: Select a good website tool

Finding a handy html editor to develop your website is a snap on the Internet today. I will only speak of the one I currently use, but please research the Internet to find a suitable match for your taste.

I have been using Evrsoft First Page 2006 since I first found it on the Internet years ago. It contains a nice GUI interface that you can click around on. There are far too many options to go into detail here, but I can tell you that it has met my expectations for the most part. This page is not setup to train a user how to use Ervsoft. I would again recommend a quick Google search for that as there are still things I am learning about it. Here is a screenshot of that tool.

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Step 3: Choose a good FTP Client

THE FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Client I use for Windows 7 is FileZilla, which was actually recommended by Bluehost. You can still opt to use the hosting service within the CPanel in Bluehost. Since I had problems getting it to work, I decided to use FileZilla.

An FTP tool allows you to transfer files from your computer's hard drive to the web server (hosting service website). This is necessary since the files are your hard drive cannot be seen by the hosting service site until they reside on that server. Think of it as if you store a file in one folder and create a second folder with another file then unless you have copied the second file to the first one the system will never see it.

FileZilla is easy to use once you get used to it. I have broken down the process into several steps of how to get the FTP server working.

Host: In this field you will type in the name of your website (or domain name). In the example below I would use www.programmermind.com.

Username: If this field you will use a username you setup with Bluehost, HostGator, Godaddy, etc. If you don't know this then I recommend to contact Customer Support through the Bluehost text chat.

Password: This one is obvious. Make sure you don't forget your password also. Bluehost will actually ask you to verify the last 4 characters if you forget it. Trust me when I say you don't want to lose this as you will be transferred to multiple departments before someone can get you anywhere.

Port: You can leave this field blank unless of course you are creating your own server. A port is used to establish a connection to a remote host. For example your email is stored on a specific port, a text chat has it's own port, there is also a way to established an encrypted connection, and so on.

Once you get all the fields completed click on the Quickconnect button to the right. FileZilla will then authenticate your information and attempt to connect you to the server.

When you are signed into FileZilla you will see a screenshot similar to the one below. Note: I have removed all of my sign in data at the top for confidentiality. The section of the left is where your computer files are stored and the section on the right is where the web server files are contained. When you transfer files then will move from the Local site section to the Remote site (client).

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You can watch the video below to see the above points demonstrated in action.

Using FileZilla

FileZilla is very similar to Windows Explorer or the Computer icon you see when you click on the Windows 7 Start menu. In the left pane you will see your computer disk contents in the section for Local Site. You can click on the folders and see your hard drive files.

In the right pane you will see the files on your Hosted Server. Your startup page is always called Index.html (unless your Hosting service has an alternative name). The folder /public.html is where you can save all of your web pages. It is also necessary to have an images folder for your pictures and css folder for your Cascading Style Scripts. Finally feel free to create your own folders. Just right click on a folder below the public_html folder and select Create dictory. You can then choose the path where you want to save that folder on the hosted server. Notice you can also rename a folder by right clicking on it.

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Uploading your Web Pages

Uploading a web page is a snap. Just select the folder in the left panel under Filename. Right click on it and choose Upload. You will often receive the dialog popup box for Target file already exists if you are overwriting a previous page. A common practice I use is to backup an old page so I can revert back to my previous change if something has gone wrong. This is especially important if you are writing over a css file as it can be very tedious to correct a mistake.Also note that it is important to upload to /public_html in the Remote site on the right pane if you are saving things directory to the root server directory. Otherwise you can upload to your own folder if you have created one.

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Downloading your Web Pages

Downloading a page is just as easy. In the right pane under Filename right click and select Download Make sure that you are saving to the correct folder. FileZilla will prompt you if it is again overwriting a previous page. In this example I am copying over a css file (style.css).Also note that it is important to upload to /public_html in the Remote site on the right pane if you are saving things directory to the root server directory. Otherwise you can upload to your own folder if you have created one.

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Save As Image (PNG/JPEG,etc)

A handy tool you can use is the Snipping Tool included with Windows 7. To locate this click on the Start menu and in the search box type snip.

To copy an image left click and hold down the mouse button. Then move themouse in a downward diagonal direction to the right. You will see a dotted square around the image. When you are satisifed with the section to be captured, release the mouse and your will get a popup dialogue box where you can save the image on your computer.Here is a screenshot of the snipping tool. Anytime you want to start copying a new screen, just click the New Button. You can also use the Cancel button to start over.

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Only the beginning

This is only the icing on the cake. The next level would involve learning HTML, CSS, .NET, etc to start building your own web pages. That is the purpose of this website.Although it is highly focused toward the more technical person, you can learn some basics by clicking on the Lesson 1:Learn HTML link in the left navigation panel. However by following the guidelines on this page, you should be able to select a good Hostingprovider, have an FTP tool to transfer content with, and know how to copy screen images usingthe Snipping Tool.

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