Every so often I get a request to help with some techy stuff. To be completely honest, I love doing this kinda stuff because I like to make things. I also like to see things other people create things. Helping people to get blogs up seems to fill both of these needs. So, without further delay, how to build a website form scratch for 20$.
First, find a domain that you like:
A domain is a web address that people type into their browser to get to your site. These generally cost about 10$ and can be registered for about a year before they need to be renewed. I like Dreamhost (http://dreamhost.com/domains/) and have my domains there. You can do the same, or use any other domain service to buy your domain. Be creative and try to think of an address that people will remember. Sometimes, the name you want won’t be available so try a lot of different variations.
Now that you have a Domain, it’s time to decide where you would like to host your content. In other words, you’ll be renting a computer from a server to hold the content that you put up (in this case, your blog). You can use your own computer to host a website, but that’s a little more complicated, and I won’t go into it for this post. Again, for hosting I use Dreamhost which clocks in at 9$/month. Dreamhost provides unlimited bandwidth, allows you to host multiple websites for free, and maintains the computers for you (which I think is helpful if you can’t maintain a server yourself).
Once you’ve done both of the above, using your same account, you can now install your blog. For this step we’ll use wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) and Dreamhost’s installer.
This should show your domain(s) and whether or not they are being hosted. Click on “add hosting” under the actions column and it should take you to another screen that looks like this:
Lots of information here, but don’t worry about that for now. Right now, just click on “Fully host domain”. The quick version of what you’re doing here is: you’re telling dreamhost to make a folder on their computer so that when people go to your domain they’ll see the stuff in that folder. In the future I might go into putting stuff into these folders using FTP, but for now we’ll just install wordpress.
Almost done. Next, click on “goodies” and then “one-click installs” while logged into your dreamhost account. This will take you to a page that lists a lot of services you can install on your site (this includes wordpress).
Click on the wordpress link and it’ll take you to the install page.
Click on custom installation and then select your domain from the dropdown menu. Dreamhost should now send you an email saying it’s installing wordpress and will notify you when your site is ready. Once you get the “Finished installing” email from dreamhost, follow the directions to set up an admin account. You can now post things onto your blog!
That’s it. You’re done. You can now go to the web address you bought and start sharing your thoughts. If you have any questions, or want to show off your new site, leave a comment.