In this article we will go through the basic steps required to build a website using Dreamhost Web Service. These steps apply regardless of the complexity or size of your website, but the amount of time spent on these steps and the order of completion may vary. Complex and expensive sites with a large team of developers will naturally want to spend most of their time planning before implementing, but smaller sites may require only a little forethought. That said, especially for small sites with a small team – or a team of one – it pays to plan ahead.
General Information about Dreamhost
Dreamhost Web Services offers a wide array of web-hosting options, ranging from Remixer for simple point and click web design through to high-end, dedicated web hosting of complex, high-traffic servers. In business since 1997, Dreamhost presently has over 400,000 customers with over 1.5 million websites. In addition to web hosting, Dreamhost also offers cloud data storage and domain name registry. Essentially, Dreamhost is a low-cost, reliable and scalable option for new and existing websites.
7 Steps to Build a Website Using the Dreamhost Web Service
1. Planning Stage
All good web design begins with good planning. What is your target audience? How much data storage do you need? What kind of traffic are you expecting, and how much bandwidth will you need? What domain name(s) have you chosen and are they available/registered to you? (If not, check availability and register the domain name with Dreamhost ASAP before proceeding.) These questions will lay the basis for all that follows. Without a clear and firm idea of what you want to do with your web presence, you will only be wasting time and money.
2. Select Your Hosting Plan
Dreamhost offers a variety of web services, and the choices can seem daunting at first glance. For a smaller website, shared hosting will suffice, so don’t worry about the rest. Down the road, you can always upgrade to a larger, dedicated physical server, but these are expensive and require special attention. When it comes to shared hosting alternatives, WordPress-based sites provide a cheaper but no less professional option. WordPress is a professional content management system often, but not exclusively, used for blog creation. Standard shared hosting provides more freedom in terms how your site will be structured internally.
Once you have set up your hosting account, you still need to point your domain name to the hosting server e-mailed to you as part of your account setup. Then, wait at least twenty-four hours for your server to communicate its location to servers throughout the world. If your domain is also registered with Dreamhost, this may happen automatically, but make sure. Do this ASAP, because without this step no one will be able to view your website.
4. Install Server Side Software and Apps
Dreamhost supports most standard applications to varying degrees. Now is the time to set up and tweak your brand new server as needed, for example any server side scripts or data storage you’d like to access, such as a feed to an existing database. Those with some technical know-how may be able to set up unsupported server-side scripts, but you should only do so with care. If you’re setting up a basic website with standard software, you can skip this step and come back later as needed.
5. Upload and Edit Your Site
Once you have laid the groundwork, you’re now ready to upload your website to the brand new server given in your welcome e-mail (which will be different from your domain name). To make things even easier, you can build your site using Dreamhost’s online Remixer software, free as part of your hosting package. If you are building this site alone and if you are not a graphic designer, it is generally best to go with Remixer or similar software and then tweak it to suit your needs.
6. Test Remote Site
In order to perform the final step, your domain name must have propagated (see step 3). This can take up to twenty-four hours, so you may need to wait. Once you have uploaded your website and once it has been properly registered, you still need to test your site, ideally on different devices in different physical locations, to see how your site looks to different viewers. If you can, tell your friends, trusted clients, or coworkers about the site. Let them know it is in progress and you appreciate their feedback.
7. Site Maintenance
The last step in all good software design is ongoing maintenance. What works at first may not work in the long run. Sooner or later someone will discover a bug or a typo you missed. If this is a business site, make sure to track traffic and sales conversions. As your traffic increases, which hopefully it will, you may need to revisit earlier steps in order to add more functionality, more storage, more bandwidth. These kinds of changes are expected and all part of the software design life cycle.
Because, if you’ve followed these steps, that’s what you are: a web software designer. In about a day, you can go from having no web presence to your very own website on Dreamhost. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Once you’ve joined the realm of website designers, check out w3.org for developments, keep on top of the latest news, and make contact with fellow designers who can help you manage and promote your site. The Internet and the World Wide Web are ever-growing, dynamic forces, and no one can truly go it alone. Above all, give yourself a pat on the back. You did it!