Building your own website is a very rewarding endeavor whether its for buisness or pleasure.
I moved the Dudeworld site to the Hostagtor webhosting company in the USA in 2008. The previous company Dudeworld was hosted with proved to be notoriously unreliable and honestly, that's what you get for going with a small player in the game.
The Dudeworld crew hunted worldwide for the best hosting deal we could find. We searched for a company that was big, fast and secure with excellent uptime and we found it in Texas.
To date I can't speak highly enough of Hostgator. Dudeworld has never been missing in action, the webmaster support is incredible and there is a huge amount of options for website creation. It doesn't matter if you're a novice webmaster or a code monkey from hell, Hostgator have tailored solutions for everyone to create their own site.
They have brilliant hosting deals too. Stuff like unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space for a low monthly fee means you can create to your hearts content. I put this to good use with Dudeworld, offering websurfers a bunch of large downloadable files like videos and PDFs and its never been a problem. For the tech savvy, Hostgator's servers sit on T1 optic fiber connections and the download speeds are breathtaking.
Hostgator are also an authorised domain name seller so you can buy a site name from them for a small fee as well.
If you would like to take advantage of the brilliant webhosting packages Hostgator offers then simply click the advertisement on the left and it will take you straight to the site, no obligation, no hassle (opens in a new window).
Ok, lets talk about building your own site and the options available to you. I'll break it down into two webmaster categories: Beginner / Intermediate and Advanced.
Remember, once you've bought your hosting package all the of tools and server apps listed below are included in the price.
Beginner and Intermediate Options:
Hostgator offer excellent tools and support to create your website with little or no coding skills. From your control panel you can install many different pieces of server software to build whatever kind of site you like. You'll have your site up and running in very little time using their tried and true systems. Here's a breakdown:
Site Builders. These apps step you through building your website and take away much of the coding process. Choose from Soho launch Pro Edition or Template Express here.
If you'd like to have your own blog site then simply install the excellent Wordpress app to your server. There's also three other blogging apps to choose from but honestly, wordpress is the pick of the bunch.
If content management is your thing, Hostgator offer eleven different server apps to cover all your needs. What the hell is content management ? I'm glad you asked. Click here (opens in new window) to see what its all about. The pick of the software on offer here is Drupal, Joomla and Mambo.
Want to add a forum board to your site ? Hostgator offer two awesome solutions that are easy to configure straight out of the box. There's the SMF app (which Dudeworld uses) and phpBB. I chose SMF as the better choice of the two because of its maturity, stability and security.
You can easily add an image gallery to your site as well. The choices here are Coppermine (which Dudeworld uses), 4 images gallery and gallery.
I picked the Coppermine one because it was great to look at, easy to use and easy to set up.
Its even easy to run your own WIKI site, either for a corporate environment or one sitting out there on the web. Both the choices Hostgator offer are easy to use and easily installed. You can pick from either TikiWiki or phpWiki.
Assuming you have some coding skills or wish to move your existing site over to Hostgator, there are many excellent tools at your disposal here.
HG offer a free site moving service and I've used it. I moved Dudeworld from an Australian server in Melbourne to one in Austin, Texas and it went without a hitch. Hostgator's techs know their stuff and they're on call 24/7 !
You can run a classified ads site with Noah's Classifieds or run your own E-commerce server with a classy front end.
E-commerce apps available are Cubecart, OS commerce, Zen cart and six others !
Perhaps you'd like to use one of HG's online WYSIWYG editors for site generation, use your own clientside HTML editor or even code something up from scratch. There's something to cater for any approach and an easy to configure FTP upload wizard, right from the control panel. It really makes uploading content hassle free.
For other commercial applications there are serverside apps for:
FAQ's - FAQ materflex.
Mailing lists - php mailinglist.
Polls and surveys - Advance Poll, Limesurvey and phpESP.
Site templates (over 4,500 to choose from).
Project management - dotProject and phpProjekt.
Course management - the excellent Moodle app.
Form generator - php Form Generator.
E-Learning Solutions - Moodle and Claroline
And much, much more.
From the control panel you've also got access to your website stats, SEO and marketing tools, Email options, File editors, Security logs, Domains and Subdomains, Databases and a bunch of advanced serverside tools.
Seriously, moving my site to HG was the best thing I could of done and I can't recommend them highly enough for service and price.