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Take a look at the most commonly asked questions.
- I want a website. Where do I start?
- First, ask yourself what kind of website you are looking for. That can make a huge difference in the developer you choose, the scale of the project, and the tools needed. A small-business' website is going to have different objectives than a personal blog, just like an not-for-profit organization's site will have different goals than a local-band's demo website.
- I have a website, how do I put it on the internet?
If you're looking to move your website onto the internet, then you're going to need a few things. First, you need to find a web hosting provider. I personally recommend BlueHost, but if you look around you can find one that is tailored to your needs. By setting up a hosting agreement you're reserving a space for yourself on a computer server. Your space is identified by a long series of numbers known as an IP Address.
Second, you need to register a domain name. Think of a domain name as an alias, or nickname, which points to the location of your space hosted on a server. The domain name is used in web and email addresses, such as http://www.geotrice.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Without it, people would have to enter the full IP address. Depending on your hosting agreement, you may get a domain name for free.
Once you have both a hosting agreement and a domain name, you should be able to set up a method of transfering files from your computer to your reseved space on the server. The simplest method is FTP, but there are other methods.
- What's FTP?
- FTP is an acronym for File Tranfer Protocol. It's the simplest way to transfer files over the Internet. In most cases, you'll use an FTP client, such as FileZilla, to facilitate the file transfers. In order to send an file via FTP you have to specify three things: A host address which will likely appear as "ftp.your-domain-name.com", a username, and a password. FTP is great for simple file transfers but it is not a secure method of transfer so if you are able to use a better transfer method I recommend it. In fact, your username and password are sent with the file as plain text, meaning they are not encrypted at all.
- I just want to start a blog, is that expensive?
- If all you want is a blog with no enhancements and you don't need any of the flexiblity that comes with a web hosting provider, then you should check out WordPress.com. You can start a free blog which they'll host for you! You can start blogging in seconds!
- What is PHP?
- PHP is a server-side scripting language. When you visit a webpage, several things happen very quickly. First, your computer sends a request for the webpage to a server somewhere out on the Internet. The server examines the request and determines what files (documents, images, scripts, etc.) are needed to create that webpage. It does this, in part, with the help of instructions written in a server-side scripting language, such as PHP. Then the server sends those files back to your computer as a webpage. Creating a site with PHP has many advantages over sites strictly made with HTML!
- What's the first "P" in PHP stand for?
- It stands for PHP. The term PHP is a recursive acronym which is a very inside joke in the computer world. Having the P stand for PHP causes an infinite loop of asking what the P stands for. In the computer world, an infinite loop happens when software runs the same set of instructions forever. Other recursive acronyms include GNU, BING, VISA, PNG, and UIRA.