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How to Host a Website Cost-Saving Tips for Getting Your Family or Hobby Website Online Fast

by Kevin Nelson

Even if you don't know anything about the web or web hosting, you can quickly and easily get your family or hobby website online...today!

With more and more people taking advantage of broadband service and getting online, it's inevitable that some people will soon want to create their own website. Many people use family websites to keep in touch with family members scattered all over the country or all over the world. Others use their websites as a place to show off their enthusiasm for a particular hobby and connect with other die-hard fans. Either way, there are several low-cost options for you to choose from if you're looking to carve out your virtual space online. However, it's good to understand your options and what you should look for.

How to Host a WebsiteLet's not get into the granular details of what website hosting is. Simply put, web hosting is a service provided by many companies that allows you to use space on one of their computers (called "servers") in order to upload files that can be seen online. These files can be images, movies, the individual files that make up your webpage, etc. And for the purpose of a family or hobby site, the cost is relatively low and the hosting company will take care of all of the day-to-day maintenance of the server for you.


You can find web hosting for as little as $10 per month. There are free services available also, but usually they require you to place ads on your site in order to cover their costs. For only a few pennies per day, you can have ad-free hosting and avoid the need to turn your website into the company's virtual billboard. And that price gets you pretty much everything you need. If you decide you want multiple sites, you may be able to do that with your web host depending on the hosting package you choose and if not, they can usually upgrade your plan if necessary, similar to how cell phone companies can increase your minutes.

Install the Easiest Website Builder With Just a Few ClicksBlogs (short for Web Logs) are all the rage now and with most web hosting companies, you can set up a blog quickly and easily. This is one of the best ways for the novice website owner to get a site up and running since adding to the site is much like typing something in a word processor. My recommendation for beginners is Wordpress since it's free and has several "themes" available. Themes allow you to change the look and feel of your site in just one click. A quick Google search can point you to plenty of themes which you can use to customize your site. That way, you can focus on adding info to your site and not have to worry about becoming a web design expert.


Many web hosting companies provide a feature known as "Fantastico". This is a set of free software programs that you can install and get up and running with a few clicks. It makes it really easy for even the beginner to install software on their server and blog software (such as Wordpress) is one type of software that's included...and it's included for free!

Another good thing about Wordpress and other blog software, especially for family or hobby sites, is that you can allow multiple people to add to the site and they can do so from anywhere in the world (as long as they're connected to the 'net). So if you have a family site, each family member can have their own login name for the site and can post messages for the family spreading the good news about their recent promotion, the great vacation they just had, or the little one's A+ book report. It's a great way to keep in touch and I'm sure you can see the similar uses for a hobby site too.

More One-Click WondersBy choosing a web host with "Fantastico", you have more than just blog software available to you. You could set up an online forum for your hobby where others that share your enthusiasm for the hobby can gather online, trade ideas, tips, etc. Forum software like "phpBB" or "Simple Machines Forum (SMF)" work nicely for this and are usually part of the Fantastico package.


If you decide you want to have an online photo gallery, look for something like "Coppermine" which allows you to post and share pictures on your site in an easy to use gallery format. This or similar photo gallery software is also standard fare with Fantastico.

How To Find Out MoreIf you'd like to get more info or get started with your very own family or hobby website, a simple search in the search engines will point you in the right direction. Then you can compare the features offered by each web host and make sure they have what you need.


Here's what you should look for:

1. Monthly fee of around $10/month, maybe $15 maximum
2. Fantastico Install (an absolute must)
3. Multiple email addresses (most give you unlimited email addresses)
4. The most disk space and bandwidth you can get and still get items 1 - 3 also (these won't be an issue unless your site gets really large and you can always upgrade so don't worry too much about this part)
5. PHP and MySQL (since many Fantastico programs use these, if the hosting company offers Fantastico they probably offer these items too)

**Note: Many web hosts also include built-in website design software that you can use for a traditional site. I simply recommend blog software because it's so darned easy to use, even for the beginner.

So if you're interested in getting your website up and running, start researching your options today and enjoy your new-found space on the web.

Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2006