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Getting Your Webpage Online: Where To Start?

We are often asked 'Where do I start in getting a webpage on the Internet?'

The general process is that you (1) register a domain name, (2) find a company to host the webpage, (3) design and develop the webpage, and then (4) publish it. Any good webpage changes over time, so there will be maintenance work as well.

Of course, we can take care of any or all these steps for you. We will meet with you, either in person or on the phone, to get an idea of what you need from us; and if we are developing the website, of what style website you want, what pages you want, and what should be on those pages.

1. Registering Your Domain Name

You need to register the domain name you wish to use so that no one else can use it also. However, if the name you wish to use is already registered, you will need to choose something else. It is usually best to use your company name, spelled out, as your domain name. This makes it easy for your existing customers to find you online!

If you wish to register your domain name on your own, we recommend registering your domain name at Network Solutions, and set us as your Technical Contact if we will be hosting your webpages. Or we can register your name for you, and set this all up.

2. Find a Company to Host Your Website

This is 'a place for your webpage to be so that Internet users can access it anytime.' You could set up your computer to host webpages, but those webpages would only be available to the Internet public whenever your computer is actually online. Our web hosting service is always online, so your webpage is always accessible, and is reliable and competitively priced. [See our Web Hosting Pricing Plans.]

3. Design and Develop Your Website

There are two main methods to generate webpages. First, you can code the HTML that the Internet browsers (like Microsoft's Internet Explorer) use to display the page. This is a bit like programming, as you have to know the commands (called 'tags' in HTML) rather than just putting a picture where you want it to be. Which leads us to the second method of generating a webpage: using webpage creation software. This will be like using a word processor or page layout software like Microsoft's Publisher, where you put the text, links and pictures where you want them on the screen, and then that software generates the code that the browsers need and use to display the page on the Internet.

We're often asked for recommendations for this webpage creation software. Unfortunately, we are not able to recommend one over the other. Writing straight code usually results in much more streamlined code than the page generation software will create, which will then load somewhat faster for the web browser (of course, with the high-speed access methods available today, that is less of an issue than it used to be). This isn't due to deficiencies on the part of web creation software, but to the fact that they have to compensate for a virtually unlimited number of possibilities of what users may be putting on their pages, and, in doing so, usually end up generating more code that what would be required.

Although we can't recommend software, here are a couple of points to consider when deciding whether to learn to code HTML or buy software:

  • Our web server by default doesn't support FrontPage extensions, so if you go with Microsoft's FrontPage, you'll need to be careful to avoid using features which require the use of their extensions: usually email forms and database-related features. If you have a form that you'll need emailed to you when someone fills it out, we have a free utility for our web hosting customers to use which will do that for you, just ask us for instructions on using it when you are ready to use it. If you need database access, the best way to acheive this is to have us program it for you.

  • Whatever software you choose must be able to upload your webpage to the server using ftp file access.

  • Creating webpages in HTML (or XHTML) only requires a text editor (like Notepad or Wordpad - saved as ASCII text), so you likely would already have the necessary software for that. However, remember that creating webpages in HTML code is like programming in that you have to learn the commands. It's not like just dragging a picture to where you'll want it, like the webpage creation software will be.

If you would like for us to create the website for you, we do offer those services as well. For a look at some of the websites we've done, see our gallery.

4. Publish Your Website

If you have coded the HTML, you will need to have an ftp client for uploading your webpages files to the server (like CoffeeCup FTP or CuteFTP). Using this ftp client, you will transfer all the files you have created for your webpage up to our ftp server.

If you have webpage creation software that is ftp-enabled, you won't need a separate ftp client.

In either case, you will need to know the ftp location you are to publish to, and the folder to publish to, and your ftp username and password with us. This will be provided to you when you sign up for a web hosting account with us.

If you have further questions, you may use our Online Information Request Form.

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Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided to you 'as is', with every intention of being helpful to you, but with no warranty of any kind. If you find an error, please report it to our Web Development department. The Internet and its related technologies (for example, email client software programs) change rapidly, and to make every effort to keep this page current, we welcome your suggestions.

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