Creating a website, in less than an hour, for free

Over the weekend a friend discussed his idea of creating a web portal for some specific services with me. The failed entrepreneur in me liked his idea and encouraged him to go ahead (anyone, who is trying, should be encouraged). He shared some wireframes for his portal, but he was not sure how will it actually look on the web. So after returning home, I decided to get some basic version of the website up on the internet to help him. Resulting in the journey mentioned below.

Step 1: I knew I will have to share my email address with service providers (hosting space/ domain name etc.). And as I am looking for free stuff, it would be more than possible that I come across some fake websites. So I thought of creating a dummy email id which could be used to register to all these websites.

Step 2: Now I needed a domain name. I could buy, but as this was just a dummy site, why waste money. Next option is using subdomain from web hosting provider. Here I had to look for a free web hosting provider, and my past experience with free hosting providers is ‘don’t trust them’. The site can go down anytime without notice (its for free. What were you expecting?). So I thought of getting a free domain name, yes, a co.cc domain. I registered a domain with http://www.co.cc/, which I could use with any service provider.

Step 3: Now I needed web hosting. I googled around some free web hosting sites, zeroed upon one (checked features and reviews), registered, and bam, it is not working. Moved to second one, registered, and this time it worked. It was awardspace.com. I got Linux hosting with Apache, PHP, MYSQL. Basically all I needed, for free. I set up the nameservers for the domain and all is good. (Ofcourse I tried a hello world example, I am still the same old fashioned developer at heart).

Step 4: Now we have all set to host our web pages. I had the wireframe with me, and I had frontpage, I could easily create the HTML pages. BUT, from my past experience, I knew designing web pages is a sin for a developer (“Are you colorblind! Why are all the pages grey?”). So instead I pinged a designer friend and asked for some templates. Who suggested checking http://projectw.org for free html/ php templates (you will find more interesting stuff on the forum, but handle with care :D). Ok so I had a template with me, now I needed to customize it for my pages. Actually this was the part which took most of the time. Once done! I just had to upload the pages to my website using ftp. And we are done.

Wasn’t it simple. If instead of a website you are trying to create a blog, you can simply upload the blogging software. Infact most of control panels come with blogging softwares, so that is actually simpler.

If you don’t have your website yet, what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Get your hands dirty.

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