September 19, 2006 8:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm starting a new website & need advice... and you know, like always, there's

Ok. I want to start my own website, and I want to do everything myself, but I don't really know everything (though my friends will disagree...) that I need to know. I would like advice or websites/blogs/articles on starting a website/blog & website security. Thanks!!!

P.S. Also anything you think would be helpful in this situation...
posted by tdreyer1 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You really should automate some of it. Answering http requests by hand sucks once you get more than a couple users.

Haha. My real advice is don't host off of your home internet connection, rent server space somewhere. Best to find someone that does backups and stuff for you; most hosting companies will do that.

Unless you're going to do a lot more with this server than just a web page, any of the hundred million web hosting companies out there will be what you want; you say you want to do everything, but no, you don't really want to care about most of the software running on the server.
posted by aubilenon at 8:15 PM on September 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

So what kind of site do you want? A static site? Something with dynamic content? A store? A blog? Have you thought of what serverside language you wish to use? What sort of data will you be hosting, just text? Lots of pics? Video?

Give us some clues to work with.
posted by furtive at 8:20 PM on September 19, 2006

This is an incredibly open-ended question, so you're going to get an incredibly open-ended answer.

1) What is the website going to be about? Is it going to be a simple blog? Do you want some sort of wiki site? What kind of content are you going to put on it? Do you have any dreams of expanding it to a business? Is it going to be multi-user?

2) Answering the first question will help you answer the second question: what kind of architecture do you want to use? Do you want it to be Windows-based? Linux-based? Do you want to code in ASP.net, PHP, javascript. ColdFusion, python, perl? Table-based layout or CSS?

3) How much of it do you want to do "yourself"? Do you mean, you want to code everything by hand, and not use something like Dreamweaver or Nvu? Do you want to make use of blog software such as WordPress or Movable Type?

4) Hosting. You probably want some form of shared hosting. Dreamhost, TextDrive, BlueHost, asmallorange...check 'em all out.

This may have answered all of your questions or not answered any of them, but if you spend a day googling everything I said here, I think you'll come out with a much better idea of what you want to do, and what is required to take you there.

Good Luck!
posted by unexpected at 8:27 PM on September 19, 2006

PHP and mysql web development is a pretty decent starter book on the subject.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:29 PM on September 19, 2006

Even if your not planning on doing everything, you should have some hands on experience coding at least some simple database driven webpages. This will give you an understanding of the core technology and make working with freelancers/consultants a lot more pleasant. Hell, they'll enjoy working with an informed client too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:30 PM on September 19, 2006

Response by poster: Sorry... More specifically I want to create a blog, but something that is much more dynamic & customizable than what I have right now.
posted by tdreyer1 at 8:42 PM on September 19, 2006

something that is much more dynamic & customizable than what I have right now.

And what do you have right now? Wordpress is fairly simple to setup and relatively easy to customize, but if you don't know anything about programming (and you haven't said whether or not you do), you're going to have a hard time with any dynamic blog system.
posted by scottreynen at 9:08 PM on September 19, 2006

Movable Type is the other big player in the blog world. It's also pretty easy to set up and use.

If you really want to learn a lot, you could write your own scripts in [PHP/Perl/whatever] to run your blog, but it's more hassle than it's worth, when there are great projects that do the work for you.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:17 PM on September 19, 2006

Take a look at hosting companies that have (or you can install) Joomla Content Management System. I played around with it on my Dreamhost account, and it is very flexible, with tons of add-on features.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:43 PM on September 19, 2006

Don't check to see if it's available unless you're ready to buy it that instant. There have been reports, unsubstantiated but worrisome, about people checking the status of their uniquely and strangely named website, finding it available but not registering it, then finding it has been parked by a squatter the next day.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:45 PM on September 19, 2006

Use Typepad, or as suggested above move on to MT and learn some PHP.

Using typepad would go against everything he asked for in his question.

On topic, the question is way to open ended.
posted by justgary at 10:18 PM on September 19, 2006

Do you have programming experience? Do you basically want to build your own super_awesome_expando_blog? I'm going to assume that since the original question is so vague...

I would say start with Ruby on Rails or try out Django with Python. Either would be a great intro to web programming, and you can easily get a functional blog very quickly. Experienced programmers can write a blog in Rails in under a day, easy, and Python productivity is usually considered equivalent. They both have a lot of momentum right now, and Rails has some great books that are fun to work through. I can vouch for the Rails community as being pretty friendly to new people if you have problems...I've not done work in Django myself, so I can't speak to that community.

If you go with Ruby on Rails, you could take a look at Simplelog as something you could build off of. Its a lean blog engine, the code is nice, and its not so huge that it will overwhelm you.

What not to use:

PHP - its a fine language, but the "throw everything into one template" style of development is great way to start out with horrible programming habits. (note before I get flamed: I realize you can do great, disciplined work in PHP, but its just not gonna happen with a newbie to programming).

In addition to avoiding PHP, I would say avoid Wordpress. It has so much cruft bolted on to it that it would be just about impossible for a newbie to extend it and customize it. Not to mention that there is basically no inline comments in the source code, and Matt has basically said "no" to people who wanted to add them, make wordpress not the most friendly engine for new programmers.

Java - too much syntax, too much xml, too many frameworks, too much everything for a blog.

.Net - yuck.
posted by rsanheim at 11:26 PM on September 19, 2006

If you know any Python, I highly recommend Django.

It automates all the hairy SQL and many other things, and is as customizable as you want to be.

If you don't know Python, I recommend that, just from a "hey it's a neat language" standpoint.
posted by zhivota at 6:39 AM on September 20, 2006

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