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Help me start a family webpage
September 26, 2007 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out the best way to start a family web-page/blog.

I would like to start a blog. This is obviously the easy part. I know that I can just use Blogger and create a blog. What I would like the ability to do is a little more complicated, and I know absolutely nothing about web pages or web design.

Ideally, what I would like to do is purchase the domain name of "lastname.com" that I would use for my family blog. However, doesn't that mean that I would then have to use HTML to set it up? Or could I purchase the domain, but just have it point to a blog hosted somewhere else? How do I do this?

I would also like to be able to give my family members the ability to do the same thing. So for instance, I would be able to give them the webpage for firstname.lastname.com and then they could run their blog/website. Is this possible? If so, how do I do it?

I also have no idea how much any of this would cost, or how to go about it. Could I also set it up so that I could give myself and my family email addresses based on lastname.com, with a minimum of effort?

I have wanted to do this for awhile, but I haven't done it because a) I didn't know how; b) I have worried that it would be expensive to maintain a domain; and c) I am worried that even if I figure out how to set something up, I wouldn't be able to maintain it if there were problems.

I have tried to put in as much info as possible, but I will also try and monitor this thread to answer questions if they are needed to help you give me the best possible advice. Also, please be really specific, b/c I really do not know much about setting up a web page.
posted by bove to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
It would be pretty easy to do most of what you want to do through blogger.

First register your domain name and get hosting somewhere. Save the email about ftp info that you'll get from your host.

Then, set up the blog through blogger. It will give you the option to host it on your own.

Then, follow the steps for setting it up on your site. If you want the main page of the site to be the blog make sure the main blog filename is index.html and that it's in the first public_html directly (might be called something different depending on your host).

Someone else could explain how to do the subdomains, otherwise, you can set the blog as a team blog, give each family member an invitation, and people can read just their posts by clicking on their name in the post.
posted by drezdn at 10:17 AM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


most hosting companies have blogging software (like wordpress), as well as a whole host of other applications, that comes as part of your basic service. This is really simple to get going and set up a basic blog with. If you have the blog as the start page of your domain name that is what will pop up when you type www.name.com. Many time these hosting companies will offer free domain registration as part of the package.

Costwise should cost more than $10 a month at most (more like $5 a month honestly, storage space is cheap). Here is a good place to start in looking for a web host
posted by edgeways at 10:18 AM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Publisher settings in blogger would be something like

ftp server: ftp.lastname.com

blog url: http://www.lastname.com

ftp path (this one can vary, it'll be how you get from the root folder (ftp.lastname.com) to the first web "visible" directory): say /public_html/

blog filename: index.html

FTP username and password (you'll get these from your host)...
posted by drezdn at 10:21 AM on September 26, 2007


Or if you want most of the heavy lifting taken care of for you, dreamhost offers wordpress as a one click install, so you could skip some of the blogger steps.
posted by drezdn at 10:22 AM on September 26, 2007


On blogger, you can point your domain (lastname.com) to your blog with a couple of simple steps in the settings. I believe that when you set up your blog, they ask you if you already have a domain name.

I bought my domain name and host my site through iPowerWeb and I've been happy with them. They even have an interface that lets you design web pages without knowing any HTML. I believe they have a blog template if you don't want to go through blogger.
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on September 26, 2007


Yeah, email is generally part of the deal as well, all of what you are asking about is relatively simple, if you have a faintly knowledgble friend or kid to sit down with and physically walk though some of the set up steps once you sign up you'll catch on pdq.
posted by edgeways at 10:23 AM on September 26, 2007


Oh, and yes, you can set up e-mail addresses (john@lastname.com) through your hosting service.
posted by desjardins at 10:24 AM on September 26, 2007


You can use Wordpress.com's free hosted blogging service with your own domain. I know their basic hosting is free, and as far as I can tell, custom domain hosting is free too. One nice thing about it is that you don't have to worry about software updates.

You will need to register a domain with someone, and you'll probably want to have them host e-mail for you too.

Another option, is
posted by Good Brain at 10:42 AM on September 26, 2007


I want to make sure I understand the advice I am getting. It seems like my options are:

1) Register my domain, but do NOT use a hosting service, and have Wordpress or Blogger point to the domain name I have registered. It appears that this would be cheapest, b/c the domain is only $10/year or something like that. However, if I do that will I be able to set up sub-domains? Will this option allow me to have email addresses?

OR

2) Use a hosting service. This service will register my domain and host my blog. This service would be $5-10/month, but would allow me to set up sub-domains for my family members, and have email.

Is this right? Are there specific pros and cons to either approach?
posted by bove at 10:54 AM on September 26, 2007


1) is more like: Register your domain and host your site at an ISP. There are separate charges for registering a domain name and hosting. Most ISPs will both register a domain name and provide the hosting; you can also register the domain name somewhere else--possibly more cheaply than at an ISP--but this is a little more complicated. WordPress would be installed on your web site at your ISP; Blogger would publish to the same location (you log in to the Blogger site and it publishes files to your ISP). With most ISPs you can have subdomains and email addresses.

2) The way you're using "hosting service" seems to refer to a blog hosting service like WordPress.com, where everything is done on their server. This is easier because you don't have to worry about installing and updating the software.

You have more control with 1); 2) is easier.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:10 AM on September 26, 2007


If you get your domain name through Blogger (i.e., through Google), you can have e-mail at your domain. Here is some useful information about domains, subdomains, etc.

Basically, the primary advantage to getting hosting is that you can do much more than just a blog. Maybe you'd want to set up a family photo album. (Of course, you can also do this on Flickr or Picasa and have a link to it from the blog.) It depends how self-contained you want this to be. Do you see yourself wanting to learn more about web development? Or do you just want the shortest route to a family blog?
posted by desjardins at 11:12 AM on September 26, 2007


desjardins: those Google links you provide seem to indicate that I could use Google for everything. I could have Google register my domain for me, and that I could still have email addresses, etc.

Right now I don't really see myself wanting to learn more about web development. I really want the shortest (and cheapest) route to a family blog.
posted by bove at 11:20 AM on September 26, 2007


Google will come wash your dishes, too.

Yeah, I'd go with that.
posted by desjardins at 11:26 AM on September 26, 2007


Luckily I have a dishwasher, so I don't need Google to do that. Now, if they would take care of my yard, that would really be something.
posted by bove at 11:31 AM on September 26, 2007


You're getting a lot of good advice, and nothing you asked is rocket science, but you have so many questions you really should go to your local bookstore and buy a book on blogging.

That's not learning web development, it's learning the very basics. A little effort would bring most of your answers. Even with all the responses here you're still going to run into problems.
posted by justgary at 11:33 AM on September 26, 2007


OK, if anyone is still looking at this thread, here is another question. My last name is in my profile and the .com of it is already registered (along with .net and .org). Any suggestions on what I should register? The .info and .us are available. (I had thought the .com was still available b/c when I typed it in, it didn't resolve to anything.

What about lastnamefamily.com? Do you think having the .com is important?
posted by bove at 11:45 AM on September 26, 2007


I think the .com is only really important if you're a business. Your audience seems primarily or exclusively internal - you're not setting up a blog so the rest of the world can read about Aunt Mildred's birthday party. Also, you're presumably going to tell your family what the URL is - you're not depending on people finding your site through search engines.
posted by desjardins at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2007


As far as hosting -- please, please, please go with a reputable company. You'd be surprised how many places out there are either completely unexperienced people reselling someone else's space, or are blatant scams. Not to scare you: just go with a company that has a good reputation.

For family sites, .org or .net works just as well. We have a .net on the premise that it's a 'network' for our family.
posted by fogster at 12:26 PM on September 26, 2007


Re. domain name ending: Consider the fact that most people will get to the site by you giving them the address. In this respect it really doesn't matter what the ending is. This extends to the domain name itself. Personally I'd rather use lastnamefamily.com than any other .suffix, but that's only because experience has told me that people remember .com addresses easier than .us or .tl for example.
posted by Meagan at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2007


Have you considered a .name domain? Seems ideal for your requirements (www.familyname.name, cousin.familyname.name, granny.familyname.name, etc)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:05 PM on September 26, 2007


BOVE! If you're still checking this thread - it seems to me what you want to do has been made very complicated by many of the answers above. Check out the MULTIPLY service which does everything you asked for - with simplicity. multiply.com
posted by Gerard Sorme at 9:25 AM on September 28, 2007


I am trying to make sure I follow up on my questions. I went through Google Apps and registered lastnamefamily.com. I am using blogger for my actual blog. For $10 per year I can do everything I want. It allowed me to set up blogs and email addresses for my family members as well. Thanks for all of the help.
posted by bove at 10:49 AM on October 5, 2007


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