Build Your First Website

This is focused on building a simple website. When you are able to complete this section you will be a basic level web developer.

This section provides you with general steps and resources to help you finish those steps. It is not a step by step process. The idea is for you to learn the details as you complete each step.

For a truly detailed guide to building your first website take a look at this guide from Shay Howe.

Step 1: Setup a Web Host and a Web Domain

You need to establish an account with a low cost web host and purchase your first web domain.

We suggest you make your first domain a URL you can use for your portfolio later. Something like your full name or the potential name of your web development freelance business.



If you go ahead and set up your domain and URL now, you will be ready for the future step of setting up your portfolio for finding your first job.

Here are some low cost web hosting companies you can use to host your first site. The hosting companies have all the information you need to setup your first server and domain:

Step 2: Upload a Test File

Do not use any website building tool from the web host you choose. Web Developers hand write their code and upload it themselves.

After you set up your web server through your host, you should only interact with up by upload files via FTP. Use the help section of your hosting company’s website to determine the FTP settings for your site.

After you determine those settings, download the free FTP program FileZilla so you can upload files to your server on your webhost.

Use the existing application Notepad in Windows or TextEdit on Mac to create a simple file named index.html. Inside that file type and save the text: Hello World.

Use FileZilla to upload index.html to the root folder of your web server. You can use the help section of your web host to determine where to find the root folder.

You will know you are successful when you can go to your URL in a web browser and see Hello World.

Step 3: Build and Upload Your First Site

Now you have a web server set up and you know how to upload files to it.

The next step is to build a small website and upload it to your server. There are some simple things your site must have for you to consider this task done:

  • It must have at least three webpages.
  • There must be a navigation menu which is on every page.
    • You could use PHP includes to have the same menu on every page.
  • Each page must use HTML & CSS.
  • One page must use JavaScript.

When building your first site use the resources found in Learn the Details to guide you.

The book HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites is a great all-in-one book for starting website development.

The W3C Community Pages are some of the best online resources for many areas of web development.

And always remember that Google is your friend. There are numerous forums dedicated to web development, so simply putting a question you have in Google will often result in a direct answer.

The content of the site is not important. One technique people use when building example sites is to use Lorem Ipsum in place of real text.

Lorem Ipsum is Latin text which is meaningless to most people, but can easily be copy and pasted to your site to take up space. It means you do not have to spend time writing text.

Lorem Ipsum text can be found here:

After you have built and uploaded your first website you are officially a basic web developer. You are not quite ready to jump in the job market yet, but you are past the halfway mark to your new career.

The next big step is to build your portfolio. The task of building your first site exposed you to all aspects of web development and in the next section we will help you hone your skills and get ready to make money.

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