031 - How To Host A Website (Part 1)

31 Aug, 2017

Once you’ve learned a bit of code, you want to show it off! Here are some of the options you can try for hosting a static website.

In part 1 of 2 we’re talking about hosting static websites, or sites that don’t require any database connection or dynamic content. You might want to buy your own domain name (ex: yourname.com) which is where people will find your website. Separately, you will need website hosting, a service which stores your webpage files on a server and sends them to users when they visit your domain.

There are many companies eager to sell you a domain name and/or their hosting services. Sometimes you can bundle the two and get some great discounts! Here’s a quick overview of the different web services I mention in the podcast (not a comprehensive list!!):

Free Web Builders

GitHub Pages

Squarespace

Wordpress.org

Amazon Web Services

My Approach

So which of these should you choose? My approach is always based on my goals for the site I’m building at the time. Do I want it to be ready quickly, do I want it to be inexpensive, or do I want it to be high quality (ideally with my own code)? You can only get 2 out of 3 at a time!

For fast & quality, Squarespace is certainly the one to pick, but I’ll pay more than what I’d like. For cheap & quality (well, as good quality as I’m capable of writing), it’s AWS…but the tradeoff is the time it will take me to write my code, AND the time to figure out the monster that is AWS!

The next thing I ask myself is what are the goals for this project. If it’s something I know I’ll keep up long term, I’ll take the time to set things up properly on AWS and build it myself from scratch. On the other hand if it’s something I’m just trying out, I might start on Wordpress.org (with a steeply discounted hosting plan) just to get something up quickly and see whether I’ll actually stick with it. Perfect example–startovercoder.com!

Next question–are there any deals to be had? Even though I prefer AWS, sometimes it’s worth it to use another service in the first year to take advantage of their promotions. For example, to buy the Start Over Coder domain on AWS it would be $12 for the domain, plus the monthly hosting and storage costs. Instead I used a registrar which offered a free domain and 12 months of hosting for $11.92! At the end of the year it’s just a matter of moving everything over to AWS (another great skill to learn!).

Visit domcomp.com to compare the latest prices & services from many registrars at once.

Final question: I ask myself what I want to learn by building my website. Personally, I’m not interested in learning PHP (not for now at least) so I’m fine to use a mediocre-looking Wordpress theme rather than building my own or doing a lot of customizations. On the other hand, having a level of comfort with AWS will be a great asset (I think!) when it comes to looking for jobs, so I accept the pain & time that will go into figuring it out.

Thoughts on this episode? Have I missed any services you think are worth mentioning? Leave a comment below or tweet me @startovercoder.