How to get your site hosted


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If you don't want your own domain name

For example:

Your internet service provider may offer free hosting. See their web site for more information. and BT Internet offer free hosting with no pop-up or banner ads, if you sign up for a dial-up account with them (you don't have to actually dial up through them though do you...). The problem with these is that if you change service provider, you usually cannot take your site's address with you, and will have to set up a new one with your new provider, then wait for all of the search engines to find your site again.

Failing that, there are companies that will host your site for free but most of them (like or will put some form of advertising on your page, usually a combination of banner ads and extremely annoying pop-up ads. Some may require you to put links back to the hosting service or demand that your viewers allow cookies.

You could always pay for hosting, but if you are going to do that, why not try the following (with names, it can be very low cost):

If you want your own domain name

For example: - approximate cost can be less than £3 per year. £3 ~= $4.50 ~= €4.70.

Selecting a domain name

Firstly you need to choose a domain name. Make it relevant to your sites content, and don't choose a name that may infringe on a company name, because under some conditions they can take you to court and have it taken from you.

Note, if a company tries to demand it, whatever you do, don't try to sell it to them. You will be considered a domain squatter and you will effectively lose all claim to the domain name. Most domain registration agencies have domain name dispute resolution service that you can use if anything like this anyone tries to demand that you sign over your domain name.

A domain name looks like one of these:

In theory, you should pick a top level domain that suits your purpose:

A global company
A global non-commercial organisation
A New Zealand-based company
An globally informative site with no other purpose
A global educational establishment such as an international university
A UK-based educational establishment
A norwegian site
See the relevant definitions provided by the organisation that manages that top level domain.

In practice, most USA companies believe they are global, and simply use "com". Many users seem to assume that everyone uses "com" or "co.CountryCode", and will have trouble remembering any other top level domains, even though more are being created all the time. As a result, many sites (including this one) simply use those top level domains instead of more appropriate ones. This is also true for many older sites that were created before the relevant top level domains existed ("info" was not available when this site was created).

Go to a respected domain name registration company like (fasthosts) to check if someone else has already chosen that name. If it is free, check first if the domain name registration company needs valid DNS records to be ready first (this is required for domain names and a few others). If they do, move on to the third step before you register it - just cross your fingers that no-one steals it in the next two days...

Registering the domain name

For non names, go to a respected domain name registration company like (fasthosts) and register the domain name. are the cheapest I have found to date, costing less than £6 for a domain name for two years. Most registration companies will continue to re-register the domain name every two years for you, using the bank details you gave them when you registered.

For names, go to and register the domain name. You should use the country suffix for whatever EU country your site is relevant to; eg. for a UK site, or just if it is relevant to the whole EU.

When you register the domain name, you will need to supply the two domain name server (DNS) addresses you are given when you apply for hosting (see the next step). If you have not done that yet, you should be able to leave it blank and update it once you have got it hosted. If you cannot leave it blank, move on to the next step then go back to registering it, once your hosting service have activated the account. The registration may take a couple of days (or even a week for addresses). You do not need to wait for the registration process to be complete before you get someone to host it for you, if you have not done so already.

Finding someone who will host it for you

Many companies will host your site for prices between £40 to £200 per year. If possible, choose a hosting company that do not insist on you registering the domain name with them. If you are willing to pay a small amount, the most highly rated and low cost hosting service is DreamHost. For about £5 per month (their basic package), you can get server side script and database support, and about 5 times as much bandwidth as I use on this site (so it should be easily enough for most personal sites).

When you have decided on a hosting company, apply for them to host the domain name. They should give you details of usernames, passwords and their (DNS) name servers. This usually takes a day or two to activate. Occasionally, hosting services do not offer DNS. I would not recommend any of these companies, but if you do use one, you will also need to find a DNS company like GraniteCanyon who will need to know the IP address of your hosting service, which your hosting service should give you when you register.

If you have not done so already, go back to the domain name registration company, and supply them the names of the DNS servers. Within a few days, the central registration servers will then be updated with the new details. You should find that everything works.

Putting files on the site

All you need to do now is transfer your files to your hosting service. Normally you will use either FTP or a Web-based file upload to do this, depending on what your hosting service tells you to use. (If you use FTP, some hosts may need you to switch off passive mode in your FTP client, if you can.) Your hosting service should also have provided you with relevant usernames and passwords to do this.

If you are using a content management or publishing system, you are on your own. I do not use them, and I have no suggestions or recommendations (except that I suggest you learn how to make pages yourself first, so you will understand how to fix the garbage produced by many of these systems). Most of these systems have their own help pages with instructions for how to use them. I suggest you follow those.

If you are making pages for yourself, the first file you will want to create should be called index.html as this is the file that will be used if you just ask for without requesting a specific file. You can also create other files, and put them in different folders if you want, and these can link to each other. Note that when linking to the index file, you should not link to it by name. Just link to "./" (from files in the same folder) or "/" (from files in any folder).

This site was created by Mark "Tarquin" Wilton-Jones.
Don't click this link unless you want to be banned from our site.