For those of you who have decided that building your own website may be the way to go, you’ll first want to know how a website works. It’s not as difficult to understand as you may think, and a basic knowledge of what a website is and how it’s presented on the internet will help you to get the most out of your personal site. One good thing about modern technology is that it continues to make it increasingly easier to construct a website without having many technical skills.
There are hosting companies that supply templates for websites to which you only have to add your information, whether it be in text or image form, and you simply pay them a monthly or annual fee to host your website. Some of these hosting sites are very advanced in the options they offer you as far as what you can post to your website, but some are very basic. Even the most advanced hosting sites however may not be able to convert your GEDCOM files or allow you to upload them. Let’s take a look then at what a website actually is, and how web pages and web space (internet address) relate to the scenario.
The Mechanics of a Website
A website is basically a collection of individual files that are stored on what is known as a web serve. A web server is a computer, usually quite a large one or combination of several, which has a permanent connection to the worldwide web. The server has the capacity to handle multiple requests from many different computers all looking for information on the internet. Large corporations usually have what is known as their own dedicated server, while individuals and smaller companies will rent a small portion of the file space on the server to house their collection of files, and consequently their personal web site. You’ll upload your files to the server as web pages, which in turn will compose your website. There are three essential things you’ll need in order to create your own website. They are:
Web Space – which will be your internet address
Software to create your web pages
Software to upload your web pages to your web space
You may also need separate software for uploading graphics and image files, but some software is capable of both. There is a variety of software for creating web pages, all you have to do is search something like “simple software for creating web pages” and you’ll be amazed at the choices you’ll have. The good thing is that you can use your home computer, and you may even be able to use your web browser to upload your web pages.
A Brief Description of Web Space
Most Internet Service Providers (the company that provides you with internet access) include an amount of web space in their subscription package. Before purchasing web space from an independent company, check to see if your own ISP includes this facility in the internet package that you have. Usually what they provide is enough to build a simple personal web site, however if you are planning on adding high resolution graphics or compiling your own databases, you may have to purchase additional web space, either from your current provider or another company. There are a number of companies that provide free web space regardless of which provider you’re using, however these companies often expect you to place advertising of their choice on your site. It is well worth investing in purchasing some web space so that you maintain full control over what appears on your site. For a small personal genealogy website though, what your ISP offers in your current package should be enough.