Introduction: Make a Website

Learn the basics to getting your own website online.

Step 1: What You Will Need

A powerful yet lightweight notepad application.

This is the browser for web designers.

While you don't need to get CS4, this is definitely the best software for the job. Other software just
doesn't cut it, and are generally much less functional. If you're starting off, I'd suggest Photoshop Album, which has all of the most commonly used tools at only a fraction of the price

Professional grade web design software. It's a bit expensive, and there are other free
If you're a student, you can get Microsoft Expression Studio, Microsoft's multimedia software bundle, for free through DreamSpark! Awesome, I know! That's basically Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Illustrator all for free.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application for uploading files to the server.

(Preferably an HP TouchSmart)

Lots of drinks (Coca-Cola?


Awesome ergo keyboard and optical mouse

You can either learn the code online or simply purchase some books. Books are a bit handier since it's much easier to look things up, but all the information is available online at

I first learned HTML with the help of Elizabeth Castro's fantastic HTML for the World Wide Web 4th edition. The latest edition now includes XHTML and CSS, and I highly recommend it.

Step 2: Learn the Code

As you are learning the code, a good place to get support along the way is

Required Languages
XHTML (eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language) - This is basic formatting code such as content boxes, bolding text, paragraphs, etc. It's not programming, just formatting.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) - This is styling the formatting (you'll see later) - where the content box goes, which kind of text should be bold, line spacing in paragraphs, etc.

Useful Languages
PHP (Personal Home Page) and MySQL - These are a must if you want to create advanced sites such as Instructables. These are used for more advanced functions as well as data management.
JavaScript - This simple client side script allows for dynamic effects.

While books are more useful, all the information is available online at

Step 3: Practice Good Design

You also need a good design sense for what looks good and what doesn't. The best code in the world won't matter if your website looks bad!

To get inspiration, browse web design galleries and keep up to date with the latest trends.

Step 4: Choosing a Hosting Package

There are three main types of hosting packages - shared, virtual private servers (VPS) also known as Virtual Dedicated Servers (VDS), and dedicated servers.

Basically shared hosting means multiple sites are hosted on one server, so the server's resources are shared. This is sufficient for most websites. If your website uses more bandwidth or CPU cycles, you might want to consider a VPS or a Dedicated Server.

Step 5: Choosing a Host

I would recommend HostGator as a decent starter web host. FatCow is great as well, although they use a custom control panel software. Looks a lot nicer than cPanel though.

Step 6: Choosing a Domain Name

After you sign up, you will be asked to choose a domain name, which is your web address, like or There are also other extensions such as .net, .biz, .org, or .info.

Step 7: Cpanel and Software

Cpanel is essentially the administration panel for your website. You can access it at From there, you can setup email accounts at your domain, install applications like PHPBB, and change settings. Webmail can usually be accessed at

To upload your files, open up FileZilla and enter your FTP account information. Files are always uploaded to the public_html folder. The www folder is simply a mirror of the public_html folder.

In addition, you can use the application Fantastico de Luxe in CPanel to install scripts such as forums such as PHPBB and blog scripts such as Wordpress.

Step 8: Share Your Site!

If you've made a website with this Instructable, it'd be great if you could post a link!