Years ago, the internet was made up primarily of HTML-based websites. Though much of the content on the internet is moving towards PHP and content management systems, there is still much value in learning how to code a webpage from scratch in HTML. The actual process of learning HTML will happen as you create your webpage and discover new ways to code that will give you the web layout you desire. Besides learning to code in HTML, there are a number of other steps you need to take before you can post your own HTML webpage online.
Choose a web host for your site. Webpages do not just magically appear online -- every website on the internet has to have a webhost behind it. You must decide whether to use a free web host or a paid web host. There are a number of free web hosts who usually support their services by placing advertisement banners on each of the pages they host, including yours. If you don’t like the idea of someone else advertising on your website, you can also choose a paid web host. Often, packages you purchase with a paid web host include lots of options such as your own domain name, CGI and PHP scripts and even email addresses. Spend time researching the different packages, storage space, prices and reliability hosts offer before you choose one.
Determine if you need a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. A FTP program is software that transfers a finished HTML file to your new web host so that the internet can see it. Depending on what web host you sign up with, you may or may not need an FTP program. Some web hosts will give you a dashboard area where you can create files on their server and type your HTML code directly into these files without needing an FTP program. If you find out that you do need an FTP program, there are many free ones to download. These programs tend to be user friendly and easy to learn.
Determine your FTP login information. If your web host does require the use of a FTP program to transfer your files, you need FTP login information. Usually, the host will send this information to you through an email when you first sign up for their services. If you don’t have this information, you will need to contact their support to get it.
Download an HTML editing program. Technically, you can use the Windows Wordpad to type your code. But there are also a number of free HTML editing programs you can download that help make coding a little easier. There are also more expensive programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, that allow you to both code and design in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment… but this defeats the purpose of trying to learn to code a webpage on your own!
Locate a good HTML guide. There are many, many, many free HTML guides online. There are also many books out there on the topic. The best way to code HTML is by finding a guide, looking at other sample HTML and attempting to code your first webpage for yourself. Luckily, the HTML coding language is simple learn and not very difficult to understand. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how quickly you can learn it from a good guide!
Code your website. You should always start by coding the index page (index.html) as the first and foundational page of your website. If you are able to code directly into your web host through a dashboard program, it is still suggested that you code using the HTML editor so that you can have a copy of your code on your computer if something should go wrong.
Upload your website to your webhost using the FTP program, if required. Once you have transferred the HTML file over, it will be posted for the internet to see!
Keep in mind that designing a website is an ongoing project. As you learn more about HTML code, you will find more ways to experiment with design and probably change your website many, many times!