Run?! Pssh! Who am I kidding. I walk this baby, with a stroller…..very, very, slowly.
I try though. Really, I want to be that “20+ posts a month” person, but Life After 8-5.
This isn’t about that though. It’s about how you, like me, can have your own fully functional website for less than R50/month. Really!
How do I run my own website? Isn’t it expensive? I don’t know how to code, what now?
Not only have I been asked these questions many times, so much so that I decided to write something I can refer people to, I too have asked them at one point in time. Let me say that this is NOT the only (or necessarily the best) way to do it but rather the way I get it done, both successfully and hassle free. I am not sponsored by any service provider mentioned in this blog. Without further-ado, let’s get you going.
I’ll start off with a list of easily acquirable things you’ll need. Here they are in no particular order :
- An Internet Service Provider (ISP)to host your site.
- A domain name.
- WordPress, which you can install your website onto. Kinda like the face of your site.
That’s it! Well….and data. But, you get the picture.
1.Internet Service Provider
Your internet service provider will be responsible for storing your site data on their servers. They call this “hosting”. You basically pay for them to save your site securely and make it accessible to both you and whoever visits it.
You, as admin get log in details that allows you to access the back-end, sort of behind the scenes part of your site. This is where you make all the changes that people see on the front-end.
This post is case in point. Check out its back-end [the part that I see] below:
I use Afrihost. They’re shared Linux Web Hosting packages (which is what I use) starts at R29/month. You can run a full on blog with that. I chose a package slightly higher than that (at R49/month) which offers me more email addresses and also more space on the server. Still a very good deal.
2. Domain name
This is what people type into their web browser to access your site. Mine is “www.maverickcoltman.co.za” . Behind the scenes, it points the browser to the server on which your website lives…i.e. your web host.
Registration can be done with your preferred web host. Your top level domain, or the part at the end (.co.za; .com; .org, etc), will determine the cost of registration for your domain name. Like most South African ISP’s, Afrihost offers a “.co.za” domain for free in the first year of registering.
If you’re not quite ready to launch your site, you can “park” your domain. This is done by registering a domain name without hosting in order to prevent anyone else from using it. This is good practice if your whole site revolves around a particular niche, like bouncing cats. I’m serious… it’s real. See for yourself.
This is probably the part we all enjoy as creatives. My ideal site will cost me around R6-8k. For now, however, and for the love of freebies, we’ll start with WordPress. This is what the end user will see when visiting your domain.
Although the likelihood of finding a bouncing cat theme are slim to none, WordPress offers tons of customizable themes (both premium and free) that will be the face of your site. In conjunction with the theme, you can tailor your site to suit your needs with the plugins and other add-ons that are readily available.
With about 75 million people using it, WordPress accounts for approximately 19% of all websites. Although there are other site builders out there, with notable brands like MTV News, BBC America, The New Yorker, Tech Crunch and others using it, WP is undoubtedly the most popular to date.
It’s not a discussion I’d want to get into here, but it’s worth mentioning that you may want to use WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com. The main difference between the two is who hosts your site. WordPress.com offers hosting, but since we’ve covered how you can host your own site in a section of its own, WordPress.org would be the ideal choice. If you’re interested, here’s a more in-depth article about the differences between the two.
That pretty much sums up how you can run your own functional site for less than R50/month. If you’ve been wanting to have your own website, I hope this can help steer you in the right direction.
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