What you need to build a website
If you want to build a website then there are the things you need to think about:
- Getting hosting for your website.
- Buying a custom domain for your website.
- Designing and building your website.
Of course, this is just to get started, and there's much more to building a site than we can cover here, but these steps will help you get started.
Getting hosting for your website with a Mac
Many people don't question how websites work. The content of your website is typically stored on a computer, somewhere, and when you go online and request a website you request that computer to serve it to you, hence the term "server".
So you need to store your website on a server somewhere, this is called "hosting". You upload the content for your website as files to the server, and it then delivers them to web browsers upon request.
Now, you can set up an old Mac to work as a server and deliver your website directly to people. You do this using OS X Server edition, available from the Mac App Store for just £14.99. You will also need a static IP address, which you can typically get from your ISP for a small monthly fee. If you don't know what a static IP address is then maybe you should stop right here. It's best to do what most people do, and rent hosting for your website from a company that knows what it's doing.
Hosting a small website is a relatively cheap affair, and most companies will rent you space on a server for a couple of pounds a month. A good hosting solution will also have support for content management tools like WordPress (more on that in a bit). With hosting you also get FTP, webmail, and it should have an integrated backup solution.
There is no shortage of hosting services out there, and there is much debate about which one is best. Here are some popular names to help you get started:
- 123-reg: One of the biggest global domain and hosting providers.
- GoDaddy: A global brand, that hosts a wide variety of UK websites.
- SiteGround: A well-known US hosting company that has fast global customer supoprt.
- TSOHost: Popular with beginners and has good WordPress integration.
- FatCow: Reliable with good support. A popular choice for small businesses.
- 1&1: Great value service based in the UK. Offers hosting for a very low price.
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