Looking around your web hosting account

After signing up with your web hosting service company, then what? First thing is to login and get familiarize with their control panel. Different web hosting company will use different style of control panel. It may be confusing initially because you don’t know where to find the feature or what the controls or links to each section represent. The hosting account provides a host of features that you may or may not use to make your own web site.

Also do a quick test of your web site address if you have already registered a web site domain name by keying in your web site address in your favourite browser. It is usually quite fast for a web site address to become live after registering your domain name. Your domain name address can be working within the hour after registering, though there is also the possibility that it might take longer perhaps even up to a week long. My experience so far was mostly within half an hour for the domain name to start working.

When you key in your domain name web address, very likely you will see the web hosting company’s “Site under construction” page. If you see that, it means your domain name was successful registered and correctly pointed to your web hosting account.


File Manager and folder structure

First thing first is to try out their file manager if any and get familiarize with their folder structure for web site storage. If your web hosting does not provide a web based file manager, you will need to set up a FTP account to upload/download files. Most web host will use “public_html” folder as the default location to store all your online files. If you also see the “www” folder do not upload any files there, it will not show up on your web site though it also appears to have an exact copy to your “public_html” folder. Just concentrate on placing your files in the “public_html” folder and you will be fine.

For some special web hosting company like Bravenet, the folder for your website is compartmentalize and very clearly identified. While Bluehost or other similar web hosting companies you will see lots and lots of folders, each of those folders is for holding data to some aspect of your web hosting account like email, Fantastico installation data, etc. Because Bluehost provides unlimited storage, you could also create a webdisk and store your files online. Create the folder before the “public_html” folder or at least create a password protection or it would be accessible to everybody in the world!


FTP

You may also want to create a FTP account for faster way to upload files to your web hosting account. Using FTP is much faster than using the web based file manager, especially if you have a lot of files to transfer. If your web hosting company provides compression/extraction feature in their web based file manager, you may opt for uploading large amount of files in a compressed file like zip, tar, gzip then later decompress and extract the files using the web based file manager. Not all web hosting company has this feature, and so far the Bluehost account is the only web hosting company that has it and it is very convenient to upload large amount of files in a zip file using FTP, then quickly extracted into your account using its web based file manager. Very handy!

Get yourself a FTP program. I find the open sourced FileZilla software is very easy and simple to use. Hop on over to:

http://filezilla-project.org

and download a copy for your own use.

Configure your FTP account and FileZilla software and you are good to go!


Emails

You may want to set up your email account and start using it for communication or you could set it up later. You may want to set up various email accounts to represent an aspect of your web site, eg webmaster@yourwebsite.com, yourname@yourwebsite.com, sales@yourwebsite.com, etc

Check the help / support section of your web hosting company for the POP3 / IMAP settings to configure your favourite email software to send / receive emails.


Ready for your first page?

All set? Good. Then let’s get going to make your own web site.

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