How to Make a Website for Free
By Joe Murray
Updated September 28, 2017
It is no longer necessary to master HTML or pay a fee to build a basic website. Web vendors offer you free space for your personal website, usually with a small amount of advertising on your web pages. For the most part, the ads are small in both size and number. They are also relatively unobtrusive. Several Internet firms offer free website construction tools, addresses, and Web server storage space. The site-construction process is similar for most of the hosting services.
Prepare the components your site before you start looking for a service provider. Think about its purpose. If your site is to be a platform for your ideas, have your initial material at hand in a standard text format. For example, if you are creating a family album, have all the images and text files ready in sorted folders. Make certain the images are the proper size and file type (usually JPEG or PNG). Most hosting services restrict the height and width of the images you upload to their servers. Crop your images to conform to the service's requirements.
Use a search engine to find free site-design providers. Many of these companies also offer free space on their servers for your site. Compare several of the services. Forums and blogs related to free web hosts are good sources of information on the companies.
Open the URL of the vendor you have chosen to host your free site. Create an account and set your password. You will generally be asked for an e-mail address, a physical mailing address, a phone number, and possibly other personal information. Select a name for your site; the name will usually precede the vendor’s name, such as "http://www.yoursite.vendorsite.com."
Select one of the templates offered by the site operator. Many hosting services provide dozens of attractive, well- designed starter pages in various categories: from the arts to small business to travel to personal. Follow the template designer's instructions to personalize your site. Once you complete the design, you will be asked whether you want to launch your site. Answer “yes” and your free site is ready to welcome its first visitors.
Take your time deciding on a hosting service for your site. Many of the companies offer additional services for a price. Not all of these offerings are necessary for a basic Web presence. However, you will likely want to track the number of visitors to your site, how frequently they visit, and which pages they open. The service you choose may also offer to eliminate the advertising on your site if you pay a monthly charge.
The information you supply to the hosting service will almost certainly be sold to a commercial database, so do not to reveal anything about yourself that you would not mind reading in the morning news. If you purchase additional services from the company, read the fine print. For example, some vendors ask you to agree to regular monthly billing to your credit card until you send the service and your credit card company a registered letter canceling the account. Avoid such vendors.
Joe Murray began writing professionally in 1980. As a technical writer, he authored white papers and articles for Hewlett Packard and Intel. Since retiring, Murray has written several home-exchange travel articles for KnowYourTrade.com and CHECtravel,com among other outlets. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Santa Clara University.