(How to Create a Home Page)
This guide will teach you how to write HTML code by using interactive test boxes, starting in Chapter 1. I keep the chapters short and simple, so I call every chapter a MiniChapter. By the time you finish MiniChapter 10, you’ll have a pretty great idea of how to put together your web site.
You’re probably thinking, “Great, I can learn basic HTML in 10 short chapters, but how do I get that HTML code up on my web site?”
After you’ve learned HTML, you’ll have to save copies your finished web pages onto your web host.
What is a web host? A web host is a company that runs the super-fast server computers that visitors will access your web site on.
You’ll be able to view your choices from my recommended web hosts in the next chapter, which is a quick overview of how to launch your .com.
Chapters 1 through 9 go through how the HTML tags work, teaching you with easy examples.
After you complete those quick chapters, this is the process of posting your HTML files to your web host:
- Save your HTML files (and images) to a folder on your computer.
- Copy them to your web host ( really easy, we use something called FTP, covered in MiniChapter 10 -after- you’re a HTML pro. )
- Now the world can access your web site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even when you’re sleeping, or your computer is turned off, or even when you’re on vacation!
You can even create a web site to make money if that’s something that interests you. (That’s covered later in the course.)
During this tutorial, you will be using our interactive system to learn how to code HTML. Once you’re ready to code on your own computer, you can use a regular text editor such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac.
Both Notepad and TextEdit are free and come pre-installed on your computer. You can even download free text editors to make coding easier. But you don’t need to worry about those details right now.
Getting on the Web (Finding a Host)
You’ll need to find a web host for your site unless you run your own web server 24/7. (Running your own server is very expensive, complicated, and not recommended.)
By choosing a web host, your site will be available to the world all day every day. Most hosts are only down a minute or two in an entire month, for a small software upgrade.
If you’re making a personal web site, you can choose to get a web site from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or go straight to the big leagues with a domain web host. (My personal site is on a domain host: http://www.davekristula.com/ )
Watch out for this:
- If you switch from one Internet provider to another (say, from DSL to cable, or cable to DSL) you’ll lose your entire web site when you cancel your account. I under no circumstances can recommend using your ISP as your web site provider.
- To avoid this, you’ll need to buy a full hosting package,
which an investment under $10 a month. **Highly Recommended**
- With a full hosting package, you can pick any ISP you want. You’ll never be forced into the “I can’t change my e-mail address” position that so many thousands of people fall for by mistake.
You may also see sites claiming to be “free” hosts. There are several disadvantages of free hosts:
- Free hosts show banner ads or pop-up windows (or both) to pay for your service (so it’s not really free).
- There is no way to turn off the ads on a free service.
- Free hosts limit the amount of web space you get, usually to about 20 MB.
- Free hosts also limit the number of visitors you can receive in a month.
- If you exceed their “limit” your site will be “turned off” until the next month.
- Free hosts are a scam, in my opinion. Let’s be honest here, they’re showing ads to your visitors, distracting them, and you don’t make a penny.
Domain hosts on the other hand:
- Give you a customized dot something of your choice (.com, .info, .etc)
- Often give you 1000 MB (1 GB) or more of web space.
- Do not shut off your account based on number visitors.
- Place no (none, zero, no) ads on your site. (You can add them yourself if you want to make money).
So if you’re making a personal web site you want to look professional, or you’re making a business web site or a web site for an organization (church, community group, etc) you’ll want to get a domain host. A domain name ends in a .com, .org, or .net. (For example, davesite.com is a domain name.)
Prices for domain hosts usually range from $5 a month to $10 a month. For that price, you can get both the name and an entire month of hosting. (That’s less than the cost of a pizza, seriously.)
Let me say it again, domain hosts do not show ads, unless you put them up yourself to earn money. The next chapter contains information on domain hosts.
Once you sign up for a host, you’ll get a username and password to log in and edit your site.
What do I call my files when I save them?
Your main web page is called index.html on the web host. Why index.html? That’s just how hosts are set up. Well, to be completely accurate, each folder has its own index file. Davesite.com has one index file for www.webduos.com/ and a separate index file for www.davesite.com/html/
When you type davesite.com in your web browser, your computer is asking the web server “Hey, do you have an index file for me?” The web server gives the file automatically. How tedious would it be to type google.com/index.html?
(Note: Webmasters can customize the filename so it can be called something else after customization.)
Your other files can be called whatever you want to call them, so long as it ends with .html. This is how your web browser knows its HTML and not another type, for example, a Microsoft Word document.
You can have a contact.html, a directions.html, a favoritefoods.html. Just don’t put a space in the name of the file, favoritefoods.html is okay, favorite foods.html is not.
Now, time to learn about web hosts, then we’ll dive into the details of all these brackets and tags we call HTML!
The web hosting companies mentioned on this page are paying sponsors of this web site.
You’ve come here to learn the all the cool <html> tags to develop your web site. Having someone make a web site for you would probably cost well over $1,000, which is why it’s so great to be able to learn web design online for free.
Having a web site you design yourself is better than having no web site at all, even if you’re not a perfect designer on day 1. And with some practice, you can certainly become a very good designer.
You’re probably thinking, well, I came here to learn HTML, what’s all this host stuff have to do with it? What is a host? Why do I need one? When you visit davesite.com, you’re not visiting my home computer. Your web browser is grabbing a web site from a computer in a data center. Web sites are not run from personal computers, I think that’s a common mistake people make in their minds.
Yeah, big web sites like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, they’re run on huge, expensive computers, thousands upon thousands of computers. davesite.com is run from a web server that costs me just $8.95 a month. How cool is that?
So how does that work? I hire a company called a web host. They purchase the computers, install them at their computer server center for you, and take care of all the geek stuff required to keep your web site up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re professionals at it, web hosting is their job. You just pay them a few dollars a month. There are even some companies like RackSpace cloud computing that allow you to host and store all of your important business files and information via “cloud” based servers so that you’ll always have a backup copy available.
Check out the features of the four hosts I partner with below.
Do you need a domain name even though you can use a site like Facebook to update your customers? Absolutely. Facebook is something you do in addition to your hosted web site, not something that replaces it. Most of the Internet is not on Facebook, that’s a fact. It’s popular in some circles, and its talked about a lot, but the fact is most people, and at least half of your web site visitors, do not (and probably never will) use Facebook.
When friends ask me what hosts I would set up a brand-new site on, these are the ones I can wholeheartedly recommend to them. I have active sites on each of the hosts. They are great companies.
Click the link of the host to view the details on their site. If you see a daily special, take it!
(I have a chapter on how to make money with your site once you order your host.