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Web and IT

 

 

WEB and IT

Web Hosting Guide and DIY Web Designs

I have always been fascinated by the Web and IT stuffs and it has always been my wish to set up my own website. Now that my wish has come true, I'll like to share the wonderful learning experience with all of you.

Fun With Web Designs (1) - HTML pages

 

How to set up your own website

A) Plan what you want on your website

  • Write an outline for your site to define its goals and target audience.
  • Decide on the categories and an estimated number of pages for your website.
  • Gather the content materials.

B) Choose a web-hosting plan

You need to source for a web-services company (I subscribe to 3ix) to register your domain name (e.g. learningcirclesg.com) and buy web space to store and publish your web articles.

When comparing the web-hosting plans provided by different web-services companies, it is important to take note of the following resources:

Server Uptime
You do not want your website to be down frequently. As no web hosting company can guarantee you 100% uptime, look for one that provides 99% and above uptime. The physical location of the web service company is crucial in ensuring a high server uptime.

Server Type and Operating System
My web-hosting plan comes with Apache Web Server and Red Hat Linux operating system. I use PHP programming script on the server, so Linux operating system is recommended (I learnt that Linux operating system running on Apache server is more stable, and widely used).
The other commonly used server is Windows server. If you are using ASP (a Microsoft Technology), then you have to choose Windows server instead.

Other Features of a Web-hosting Package/Plan

Server Management Software/Control Panel
Some companies use control panels like Plesk, DirectAdmin etc.
I am using the current leading control panel in the market - the Cpanel. This software is easy to use for uploading and storing your web files, and also for managing your e-mails.

Web Storage Space
You should not have any problem with 1GB and above of web storage space if you do not have numerous very large image files.

File Transfer Bandwidth
A minimum of 5GB monthly bandwidth should be good enough unless your website encounters very large amount of traffic (the total amount of files or graphics downloaded by your visitors exceed the amount of allocated space).

Technical support
Preferably 24/7 technical support.

Money back guarantee
This will be very important when you realise the web hosting plan you've subscribed is not suitable due to different configuration, operating system and type of server management software that are used etc.

C) Decide on a web design

Select and use a web design that you like. Avoid choosing one that has too large a file size, as it would take very long to load, and thus deter people from visiting your site.
Most web-hosting companies provide free website templates. You can also get it free from some websites e.g. www.opendesigns.org
It is even more interesting and fulfilling if you design your own website (I will try to find time to write an article Web Design DIY to share some techniques of creating simple web designs and html pages that I've acquired).

D) Create your web pages

You can create your web pages using HTML or a web-authoring programme.
Some popular web-authoring programmes:
Mozilla (free) www.mozilla.org (comes as part of the Mozilla Internet suite)
Nvu (free) www.Nvu.com (standalone application based on Mozilla Composer)
Macromedia Dreamweaver www.Macromedia.com
Microsoft FrontPage www.Microsoft.com/frontpage
NetObjects Fusion www.NetObjects.com

E) Upload your HTML files

Upload the HTML files from your computer to your web server using the File Manager from the Control Panel of your web server, or using Filezilla (a free FTP software) www.filezilla-project.org

F) Test your website

Type your website address (URL) in your web-browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) to go online to your home page. Click on every page to make sure that all the links work, all your articles are properly displayed, every graphic is there and all e-mail forms work. Make all the necessary changes where they go wrong.
(Note: *I've yet to learn to correct some errors on my website.)

G) Register your website

Let people know about your website by registering it.
Type "Add URL" in Google's or Yahoo's search box and it will show a list of Search Engines or Directories where you can register your website for free or for a nominal sum. Register your new website once only with each search engine as some search engines may penalise repeated registrations. Resubmit your URL again when you have new contents.

P/S:
I had spent a lot of time searching for various web-services companies to compare their web-hosting plans, and found that 3ix web-hosting package best meets my needs and is affordable as well.
Its services are good and efficient so far, so I've decided to sign on as partner with it to recommend its products. I hope to be able to share and to relieve people of some precious time in searching for a good product.

 

UPDATE (5 November 2008):

My website server was recently down for quite a few days due to heavy DDos attack. It was very frustrating not to be able to access my website during that period of time. Luckily, the Host-care Technical Support Team responded to my every query very promptly and did their best to resolve the problem, thus soothing my frustrations and recovering my confidence in them.

  

Fun With Web Designs (1) - HTML pages

Finally, I have found a little time to write something on one of my interests - Web Design. I would like to share the joy of creating some simple web pages with my readers.

Many people will argue that it is so much easier and more convenient to use a web-authoring software to design their website. True, but to me, designing a website from scratch, using HTML and other programming languages and codes, is far more challenging and it provides one with a greater sense of achievement. Furthermore, there are certain constraints with most web-authoring software, so, acquiring some knowledge of HTML enables you to modify and improve your website design. 

To create HTML pages, you'll need a plain text editor, such as Notepad or WordPad (for Windows), or TextEdit (for Mac OS). Do NOT use the normal Word Application that is designed for typing normal documents or it'll not work.

Procedure:
First, click on the Notepad to open a new page.

For a basic, functional web-page with a horizontal navigation bar and a vertical navigation bar (menu), using only inline styled HTML, type (or copy and paste) the following:
  • <HTML>
    <HEAD>
    <title>My Website</title>
    </HEAD>

    <BODY>
    <div id="Header"><A HREF="index.htm">My Home Page</A> | <A HREF="profile.htm">My Profile</A> | <A HREF="friends.htm">My Friends</A> | <A HREF="mail.htm">My Contact</A></div>

    <div style="float: left; width: 120px;
      margin: 5px; padding: 5px; border: 1px none;">

    <TABLE>
    <TABLE BORDER=2; TABLE WIDTH=120px;>
    <TR><TD BGCOLOR="pink"><a href="school.html">MY SCHOOL</a></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD BGCOLOR="pink"><a href="hobby.html">MY HOBBIES</a></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD BGCOLOR="pink"><a href="recipe.html">MY RECIPES</a></TD></TR>
    <TR><TD BGCOLOR="pink"><a href="photo.html">MY PHOTOS</a></TD></TR>
    </TABLE>
    </div>

    <div id="Content">
    <H3>Welcome to My Home Page (the heading)</H3>

    <p>Write your contents here.</p>
    </div>
    </BODY>
    </HTML>
 

Note: HTML is case insensitive, so it does not matter if you type in the upper or lower case. Only the words between the opening < > and closing tags </ > are affected.

Saving the file
Save as type: All Files (do not save it as a Text Document)
File Name: index.html

From this file, you can improvise and create other web pages e.g. My Hobbies page and My Recipes page. Simply give your new files related names e.g. hobby.html and recipe.html and change the contents accordingly.

Save all your web pages, including your Home Page (index.html), in the same folder, and you'll be able to link them.

Double click on your web file and lo and behold, you'll see your self-created web page!
 

Joyce Sim (30 November 08)
P/S: Will try to find time to write about the anatomy of the HTML page, as well as the use of CSS and JavaScript, so that learners will be able to use them appropriately to design their own unique web pages.
Important Note: I�m just a beginning learner who is very keen on Web Designing, not a web-designing guru. The articles here are meant solely for sharing and for exchanging ideas.



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