Setting Up Your Own Website In Three Easy Steps

Posted by Hans Zbinden on August 04, 2001 at 10:30:36:

TZ Classics Forum Number: 1758

Posted from Host: (

Hello Forumners

In light of the recent shutdown of various picture hosting sites and the new restrictions in regard to direct linking other such sites have imposed, I can imagine that some of you have thought about setting up their own website to host pictures and other things. I’ve been renting 30 MB for just over a year now and am really happy with the added flexibility, convenience and reliability over the free web space I used before.

The main advantages of having your own domain name are:

  • no restrictions in regard to linking pictures in a post like i.e. on
  • the size of the picture isn’t changed like i.e. on
  • the name of the picture isn’t changed to some cryptic link like i.e. on
  • no thumbnail galleries or half-sized pictures to wade through to finally get to the picture you want
  • upload and delete as many pictures as you want at the same time
  • no flashing banner ads or nagging special offer screens to deal with
  • practically constant availability of service and no noticeable slowing down during peak traffic hours
  • In Windows 2000, handling the contents of your web space is no different than if it was another hard drive on your computer. You can copy, paste and delete files and define subdirectories as if it was another drive on your computer. With other operating systems, uploading can be just as easy, some require additional software described below.
  • Additionally, you can set up your own personalized email accounts with the domain name you chose, if your domain name is i.e., your email could be something like

The disadvantages are comparably small, the most significant one is that maintaining such a website isn’t quite free:

  • registration of a domain name in the .com, .net or .org domain costs $15-35 per year (depending on the registrary you use), many other country specific endings like .ca (for Canada) or .ch (for Switzerland) can be had for a similar amount, some restrictions as who can register a country domain may apply.
  • prices for renting web space can vary greatly and range from around $3-$40/month for 20-100 MB
  • to upload and organize your files on your web space, you’ll usually need some sort of software tool. This would typically be either a web publishing tool or a so-called “ftp client” which allows you to access your directories. More on the topic later.

Setting up and using your own website isn’t very difficult as you can tell by the few steps it takes listed below. I’d say anybody with a bit of experience using computers and the web should be able to follow. If anything is unclear, feel free to ask here or on the Timezone Water Cooler which is a great resource for all kinds of questions.

Step 1: Chosing and registering your domain name

There are many companies on the web which will register the domain name of your choice for a fee of $15-35 a year. Two of the most popular and easy to use are Network Solutions and, countless others can be found at Yahoo Domain Registration Listings.Note: After this article was posted on the Public Forum, a few people mentioned that Network Solutions and were comparably expensive and that registering a domain name cost less at other registraries In the following example, I will go through the steps of registration using the Network Solutions service:

Enter the domain name you’d like to register and chose the domain, i.e. .com or .net and click on “Go” to see if the name is still available

If your name is still available, mark the checkbox and click on “Continue”, otherwise, chose one of the suggested alternatives or go back and search for a different name

Here you can chose from various additional service, some of which are BTW offered free from, just click on “Select” to continue.

Choose the duration you’d like to register your name for, you can extend at a later time if you wish, the name is protected until the period you registered ends.

On the following pages, you set up a password protected account and enter your name, address and credit card details.

Note: Many Web Hosting Providers discussed below will take care of registration for you but often charge quite a hefty fee for the few minutes it takes them.

Step 2: Choosing and signing up with a Web Hosting Provider

To bring your pictures or articles to the internet, they have to be stored on a web server which is simply said a powerful computer running special software constantly hooked up to the internet and whose name and location is known by all the ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Of course not everybody wants to maintain such a machine so specialized companies, Web Hosting Providers, will rent you space on theirs. There are countless such providers which offer varying degrees of service. The one I use is based in Switzerland but – this is the beauty of the net – technically it doesn’t really matter where their servers are physically located.

Needless to say, communication, arranging payment and trouble-shooting will be simpler if you choose a host based in your country. Perhaps somebody can recommend a provider, as a starting point, a large selection can be found at Yahoo Web Hosting Providers. In any case, I’d try to find a provider that offers support, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. Almost all ISPs offer web hosting services, if you’ve had a good experience with yours, check their homepage to see what kind of packages they offer.

Monthly fees can be anywhere as low as $3 for 20 MB or $7 for 100 MB of web space, space with companies that offer additional services and 24/7 support can cost significantly more. Often a small fee for setting up a new account is charged. Even though 20 MB sounds like a lot, once you have it you always need more. I managed to fill up my 30 MB in just over a year and will shortly upgrade to my host’s 100 MB package. To put things in perspective, 100 watch pictures the size typically shown on discussion boards take up about 6 MB of space.

A typical package offered by one of countless Web Hosting Providers, usually one or several personalized POP email accounts ( are included.

Once you’ve signed up with such a provider, you need to let the world (meaning all the ISPs) know where you website is hosted. You can usually do this directly at the site you registered your domain name, all you have to do is enter the names of your Web Hosting Providers “Name Servers”. Either you’ll receive detailed instructions on how to do this (it’s very simple) or your provider will do it for you. Typically it will take one to two days before your website can be reached by its domain name.

A typical sign-up page of a Web Hosting Provider where you can have them register a domain name for you or have them transfer it from Network Solutions.

If you’ve come this far, you now have an active albeit empty website with its very own URL ! Now it’s time to start filling it …

Step 3: Bringing your content to your website

There are various ways to upload files to your website, as mentioned above, certain operating systems let you drag and drop them in your file manager when your connected to the internet. Another way is to use a so-called ftp client, your web host will probably have one to download and instructions how to use it available on their site. Another simple way is to use a web publishing tool with such an ftp client built in. With these, you can design web pages, organize your files in directories and then upload them to your site using the same tool. All these methods require a simple setup beforehand. You usually have to enter the name of your web host’s ftp server and the name and password of your account with them.

I currently use Microsoft’s Frontpage 2000, simply because it came bundled with the computer I use. The basics are easy to grasp with any of these tools, you create your subdirectory layout directly on your hard disk, copy your (picture) files where you want them and when you’re finished, upload them to your website.

On the left, you can see the directory layout of my own website. Under the directory “beast” there’s a subdirectory called “images” which contains a number of picture files, one of them which is called “offbracelet.jpg”. As the domain name of my site is, the URL of that particular picture would be

I realize that what’s written above barely scrapes the surface of the topic but maybe it will animate one or the other of you to pursue the project of setting up their own website, even if it’s only a place to host their pictures at first.