If you are creating fairly straightforward and basic website then you can create your website yourself and for free. There are huge amount of resources available in internet to guide you through this process. In this article I will guide you on how to create some basic websites and web applications using easily available free scripts and design available in internet. But before you start this process that there may be fair amount of frustration and learning curve involved in the process, so you need to be willing to learn and fix problems, so keep good amount of time in hand if you are creating your own website.

Static HTML Website

If you are not familiar with the word static in web development, it means it is a website which doesn’t use any database and its content doesn’t change automatically based on conditions or database. Also it may mean unavailability of any User-friendly admin panel to change content; instead it has to be changed using HTML editor.

Static HTML sites are supported by all hosting services, and it doesn’t possess any load to server, as it basically serves static pages which don’t need any processing. Follow the steps given below to create your static site in a jiffy.

  1. Find a template (template is a already designed and coded pages which you will be editing and branding), There are many free templates as well as premium ones. You can search google for free templates also you can look through this article for a list :  100 Free High-Quality XHTML/CSS Templates, for premium templates you can go to Themeforest or Templatemonster.
  2. After you have downloaded the template, you’ll find files with HTML extensions which are the main pages. Now you need to edit this file to suit your needs, this can be done using Adobe Dreamweaver or any other WYSIWYG HTML editor.
  3. Editing in Dreamweaver is easy like MS Word, but it may still need some HTML and CSS skills so I recommend going through this articles and tutorials for basic knowledge. HTML Basic, CSS basic, Dreamweaver Basics.
  4. (Optional) If you are still unsure and don’t want to take the challenge then you can still hire someone for as low as $75 from any freelancing website to edit your template to your needs.
  5. After you have edited the template, you need to upload your files to your server for that you need FTP software, I recommend File Zilla its free and Open source. You need to upload the files in httpdocs, or public folder, refer to your webhost company help pages for more info. You can find resource on how to upload files here.
  6. Your site is now ready and open for public.

Blogging

Blogging these days have become de facto these days. Everybody from your company, to your neighbor’s dog has a blog. And if you are hoping to join this bandwagon without spending anything, then you are in right place. Create a blog is easier than creating Static HTML Website.

There are several blogging services available, which gives you unique subdomain and free blogging space and hosting, so you can even start blogging without even worrying about domain and web space. Some of this services are Blogger, Tumbler, WordPress.com. You don’t even need to know anything about web development to start blogging; every one of the sites gives you admin panels with easy interface to start blogging. Also they have many tutorials for newbies.

If you need a branded blog in your own domain, you need to install the blogging script in your server, before starting this make sure you have php,mysql server as the popular blogging platform WordPress only works in PHP.

  1. Installing wordpress is easy and this tutorial follows the steps in great details. If you have Cpanel in your hosting server, you can use fantastico to install wordpress very easily.
  2. After you have installed wordpress you need to brand it by installing  good theme, there are many free themes available. Here is a list of good free  themes. WordPress is so flexible that you can even use it as photo gallery, CMS or other sites.
  3. After you have installed it you need to learn the basics on using it, which is very easy btw.
  4. You have your brand new blog ready.

CMS (Content Management System)

CMS or Content Management System are needed if you are running a large website with lots of content and need to update it daily. There are several CMS available, one of the most popular one is Joomla, it’s an excellent and free Script which allows setting up a CMS integrated website in jiffy with lots of support from forum.  To setup Joomla you need PHP/MYSQL server.

  1. Download and Upload the files using FTP and Install Joomla, Follow this tutorial if you have Fantastico.
  2. Download and install any free Joomla Template of your Choice or buy premium templates.
  3. To edit joomla template and start adding content you have to know some basics as its fairly complicated for newbie.
  4. The true power of joomla is in its extentions and you can find over 7000+ extentions with variety of features to try out.
  5. Experiment, Create and Enjoy Your new Website.

Forum

Forum is another popular thing in web sphere and it’s a great place for discussions and even for standalone website. Joomla itself has some free extensions to add forum option, but if you need full featured script you should try PHPBB or SMF, both can be installed using Fantastico using Cpanel or you need to download the script and upload it to your host using FTP, install using browser based installation. You can find instructions here.

This free scripts have some limited functionality so if you are willing to spend some money on premium scripts, I recommend you try Vbulletin or Invision Board.

Others

There are many other  script which you can install in the same way and try them out, such other scripts include ecommerce, file storage, chatting, etc scripts. All you need to do is go to your hosting panel and create a new db, upload the files to the server using FTP and edit config files or install using browser based interface.

I hope this article have helped first timers who are not acquainted with this scripts and want to get a site for free without spending a fortune. But All this script doesn’t mean you’ll never need a web developer, if you need any type of modifications in installed script, or would like to design or program something new, you do have to spend some money.