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The Building Blocks of a Website – A Guide for Kids & Teens


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You've probably been using the Internet since you were a little kid; you already know that you can look up anything online – you use it for school research, shopping, communicating with friends and following movies or sports. But, what does it take to create your own website? If you have something that you would like to share with the world, we can help you figure out the building blocks of starting your own site.

What do you do on the web?

Anything you want! You might be a savvy online shopper, searching websites for the best deals, or maybe you use it to track sports and your favorite teams. Or, perhaps you use the Internet more as a library – you look up what you need for school or other projects from the comfort of your own computer.

As you likely already know, possibilities are endless on the Internet. According to a recent survey, there are 670 million websites (source A). If you visited one website per minute, you would have to live more than 1,000 years to see them all!

What is a website and why is it important?

A website is a series of connected documents that are associated with a single address. Each website contains a different type of information. In “real life” terms, it's kind of like the books you carry to school each day. Your math textbook is filled with information and resources about math, but your history book is complete with a whole other set of information. Websites are a similar concept; you can search for a particular website based on the kind of information it contains and each one is different.

Although you may be using websites each day for shopping, sports or schoolwork, the Internet doesn't end there; millions of professionals are using the web every day in the course of their jobs. For example, medical professionals keep track of patient records online and use the Internet to find life-saving medication and procedures. Banks (and consumers) use websites to keep track of customer accounts. The government allows people to use websites to do everything from applying for passes to the Grand Canyon to paying their taxes.

The earliest websites were started just twenty years ago, so it's pretty incredible that websites are now essential to our daily lives. Almost everyone uses the web every day for work, fun and everything in between.

How do I start a website?

Starting your own website is easy. With a few simple steps, you can have your own domain name (like “mysite.com”), a place to store your important documents, and your own web pages that anyone can access. If you want to start your own website, here's what you need to do:

1. Register Your Domain.

The domain name is the nickname for your website. Most domain names have two parts: the top-level domain and the second-level domain.

A top-level domain is the part that is used by many, many websites. Examples of top-level domains include .com and .org. There are dozens of top-level domains out there, including different ones for most countries, but most websites use .com.

The second-level domain is the part where you need to be creative. While you can call your website anything you want, in order for others to find it you need to make sure that your domain name is easy to remember. If you're making a personal website, you might consider using your name. It's always good to have a few ideas for your domain names, just in case your first pick is taken.

Once you've decided what you want to call your site, you need to go to a domain registrar to register your domain. The registrar will make sure that no one else has claimed the domain you want, and will assign you the exclusive rights to use it for a period of time. Usually, you get the domain for a year, and can renew it as many times as you like.

2. Sign up with a hosting company.

Once you have registered your domain, you need to find a place to put your website. Website hosting companies provide you access to the servers—a computer that is designed to hold websites—you need in order for people around the world to access your site.

Some hosting companies will let you register your domain name as well, while others will just ask you to let them know details about your domain name so they make sure it works.

If you're making a website for the first time, you'll probably want to choose a shared hosting plan, which means that you'll share server space with other websites. Your site will remain unrelated to the others and there will be no visible association, but it allows smaller sites to share resources and energy, making it more cost-effective.

3. Start making your website.

blank canvas

Photo by ginsnob

Now that you have a domain name, and space reserved with a web hosting company, you can start making your website. If you'd like, you can learn HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), which is the language used to create web pages.

Many people now make websites with a content management system (CMS), which automates most of the work behind creating web pages. The most popular CMS, WordPress, is free. Most hosting companies will even install it for you automatically, so you can have an attractive web site in minutes.

Websites are fun and easy

When you make your own website, you're letting others know that you have something important to share with your friends, your family and the world. It's easy to set up a website, so get started today!

Source A: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2013/05/03/may-2013-web-server-survey.html

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