Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Web Pages Work


Getting Your Page Online

Once you create a stellar Web page, you will want to put it on a Web server for all the world to see. Many services and institutions with Web servers offer free space to post your pages. AOL offers free space to their members, and many colleges offer space to their students. There are also many commercial sites that offer free space. The only drawback to these options is that you will most likely have to display the site's advertisement banner on top of or within your page. Here are a few of these free commercial sources:

You also have the option of paying a hosting service for Web space. Most professional sites go this route. Hosting services can provide their clients with large amounts of space, special options and reliability. Using a hosting service also gives you the ability to use a domain name, your own unique URL.

If you are interested in obtaining your own domain name, visit the Accredited Registrars page at ICANN.org, the agency that maintains IP addresses and domain registry. At any of the listed Web sites, you can check on the availability of domain names you are considering and purchase one that appeals to you. The cost for an annual contract is usually less if you have a hosting service in place, so when you become serious about purchasing a domain name, contact a hosting service first. Most hosting services will also register your domain name for you, providing Network Solutions with IP numbers and other information they will need.

There are a wide variety of hosting services available at a wide range of costs. Be wary of the many "too good to be true" offers. You could be faced with slow servers, down-time, no support and flash-in-the-pan businesses.

Great Tools Once you get your page on a server, you will want to know what kind of traffic you are getting. A place like Show Stat, Hit Box, or Site Meter provides that service for free and gives you very complete statistics. If you just want a simple counter on your page, FastCounter is a good tool to use.

There are a number of tools you can use to help make your site better. For example, this free tool will check your site for spelling errors, load time over the network, meta tags, browser compatibility, etc.

We'll learn about meta tags in the next section.


More to Explore