Feb 172010
 
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

Many of the common folk on the streets of CSU do not have their own Web site. Most of them probably don’t know how to make one. Well, we have news for you CSU: Even a caveman can do it.

There are many reasons you should have your own Web site. Employers love a link to an online resumé a lot more than the papyrus version from decades of old. Whatever job you apply for after graduation will involve interacting with the Web.

Having your own Web site allows you to upload things and be able to send them around all over the place on t3h interwebz via handy URLs. 

Coming at you right now is our Quick Reference Guide to setting up your own site. Please note that this is not a Web design article … we can’t teach you Dreamweaver in 700 words.

Step one: buy a domain name

Perhaps the most important decision you’ll make for your Web site is choosing your domain name –– for example, Collegian.com. Domain name purchases are pretty funky, and not in a ’60s disco dance kind of way.

No one owns the URL. When you buy one, you pay a domain name registrar for the rights to use it, and they use that money to pay another company that helps do something that keeps the Internet afloat.

If you had the rights to iPad.com a year ago, Apple would have paid you to surrender those rights, and you could have made a few grand. If you had Business.com, you could have made $7.1 million at one point.

To get your own domain name, you’ll need to head over to a registrar (such as GoDaddy, which you probably recognize from their branding) and see if your desired name is available.

Many people use their name, a logical way for people to find you, while others try to get traffic by choosing a name that’s close to popular sites like Facebook.com. Either way, you’ll be looking at a few bucks a month for the rights. And as the name gets more popular, the price will go up.

Step two: hosting your site

What is hosting space, you might wonder? Well the simple answer is that it’s where the Internet lives.

For the longest time society believed that the Earth was flat and that the Internet lived in the tiny spaces between the walls of your house. But this is not true.
All of the content you see on the Internet –– the code, the pictures, the video –– is data stored on humongous servers somewhere, which are like giant hard drives that your computer accesses from far away when you visit a Web site.

Many places that you can buy a domain name from also sell hosting space, often as a package. You use this to upload the Web pages you create.

This space costs more money, a fair bit more than just the URL. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of space because Web sites have to be pretty compact, or they’ll take forever to load.

A Google search will uncover many places that will be happy to take down your credit card number in exchange for hosting space.

Another inconvenience you must work around is the method you must use to upload the pages you design to your hosting space. This is called File Transfer Protocol, or FTP.

If you subscribe to a service like Apple’s MobileMe, FTPing is as simple as dragging and dropping your files into a folder. But if you don’t, you’ll have to use a free program like FileZilla or Fetch to transfer your files to the Web.

Step three: creating a Web site

Thankfully, making Web sites is a lot easier then it used to be. Back in the day, people had to use this scary code called HTML (remember the simple code tricks you used to customize your Myspace profile? Same thing).

People had to write hundreds of lines of this code and all they would get was a few lines of text and a picture, if they were lucky.

Now, we have programs like Adobe Dreamweaver that can write the code for you while you use a graphical user interface.

Once you finish designing your Web site, you’ll end with a lot of .html files that you need to FTP, along with all of its components (pictures, videos, sound bytes, etc.) to your hosting site. Check to make sure your links are working and you’re connected your domain name properly.

There you have it.

_Columnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer need your support. We will be attempting to qualify for the Olympic men’s doubles figure skating in four years. We need outfit ideas. Please send to verve@collegian.com. _

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