There are a few important steps to building a website and having it displayed online.
This article covers how to set up a website and how to attract visitors once it's uploaded to DreamHost's web servers.
Setting up your website
- Obtain a domain registration.
- To purchase one in the panel, go to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) page.
- You can also transfer an existing domain registration to DreamHost. View the Transfer your domain registration to DreamHost article for further instructions.
- If you have a domain registered through another provider and don't want to transfer the registration, make sure to point the nameservers or configure custom DNS records to point to DreamHost.
You must configure DNS at the company where your site is registered. DreamHost support cannot help with this as you are the owner of the domain, not DreamHost.
- Build your web pages on your home computer. Below are a few sites to help you.
- W3Schools offers free tutorials on how to build a website.
- You can also use a WYSIWYG program such as Dreamweaver.
- Webreference (a bit more advanced, but good for finding other resources) – http://www.webreference.com
- HTML Goodies (a resource site) – http://www.htmlgoodies.com/
- Free Beginner, intermediate, and advanced XHTML and CSS tutorials – http://htmldog.com/
- Access a web server which you'll use to upload your files.
- Visit the adding domains & subdomains article for instructions on how to FULLY HOST your website.
- Upload the content using an FTP client.
- Once your domain is registered, hosted and you've uploaded your content to the web server, your site is live on the Internet for anyone to visit.
Glossary of terms shown in the above steps
- Domain registration
- you have paid for and are registered as owning a specific domain name, such as example.com.
- Domain hosting
- you have paid a company, such as DreamHost, to store your website files on its server.
- Transferring a domain
- you are changing the domain registration ownership information so that your site is registered at DreamHost.
What if I see an empty directory listing where my website should be?
When you first add hosting to your site, you’ll see a ‘Coming Soon’ page that DreamHost creates by default. To upload a site you've already created, visit the FTP page for detailed instructions.
If you have already uploaded your site files, you may instead only see a directory listing of those files and not the actual website. If that’s the case, you need to create an index page such as an index.html or index.php page. This index page is then used to automatically load your site when it’s visited.
How do I get people to visit my site?
Once your site is up and running, you need to publicize it. Nobody will visit if they can't find you through a search engine or from another related site. Below are a few steps to help make this happen:
- Visit each of the major search engines and submit your URL. Most of these sites have a link that allows you to submit your site to their database. Some popular search engines include:
There are also many other services (free or at a cost) which submit your site to search engines for you.
- To make your site easier for the search engines to crawl and classify, consider adding some META tags to your index page.
- Enter the DreamHost Site of the Month Contest!
Here are some good resources for you to use in learning the basics of web design.
- http://www.htmlhelp.com – great reference for HTML syntax
- http://www.webreference.com – a bit more advanced, but good for finding additional resources
- http://www.htmlgoodies.com – another resource site
- http://www.w3schools.com – HTML tutorials and examples