May 15, 2007 12:23 AM   Subscribe

I want to start a website using very little money. Basically I want to be able to have a website so I can learn html and javascript. What is the cheapest way to get a domain name and hosting?

I won't really need much bandwith because I'm really the only visitor I plan on having. Do I need to put apache on my computer?
posted by amsterdam63 to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Why do you want a domain? If you just want to learn HTML and javascript, you don't even need apache. You can just write your page and visit it on your computer through Firefox/IE/Safari/whatever. If you want to do PHP/MySQL stuff, or want to let other people access stuff on your machine, then you should install apache on your machine. If you want professional hosting, you should pay for it.

Free hosting is pretty shitty. There are a handful of free shell places that'll give you some webspace with it, and those are decent, but you're expected to know unix.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:46 AM on May 15, 2007

As Devilsbrigade said, if all you want to do is learn HTML and javascript, you don't need a website at all. You can create the HTML pages on your PC and drag them into a browser or type "file://c:/mysite/index.html" or whatever into your address bar. You'll only need a web server if you want to use a server-side scripting language like PHP, ASP, JSP, ColdFusion, or something like that. And even then you can run the server on your local machine with no problems. Windows XP Professional has a basic web server built in, and you can download Apache for free.

If you do want webspace so you can make your website public, I recommend Plans start at $6.95/month (if you pay 12 months at a time), and include massive disk space and bandwidth, and just about anything else you're likely to want. Free web hosts include places like Geocities, which might be ok, depending on what you want. Generally I find their ads and other problems to be more trouble than they're worth.
posted by Vorteks at 1:06 AM on May 15, 2007

Oh, I forgot to mention - if you want a domain name (and again, you don't need one if all you want to do is learn), includes a free domain name with their hosting. Otherwise, is a cheap registrar you can use independent of your web host. There are a bunch of other budget domain registrars as well. Don't use Network Solutions. They're the biggest, but they charge 10 times as much for the same service. You'd just be throwing your money away.
posted by Vorteks at 1:09 AM on May 15, 2007

Nthing the suggestion of using your own computer. But if you must have hosting, I would recommend DreamHost.

I know they had some problems awhile back, but one of my good friends uses it and has had no trouble. The basic plan is like $7.95 per month but with the right promotional code, you can get it for $23 per year, including domain registration. (I think that's if you sign up for 2 years right now; if you only do a year at a time it's a little more, and month-to-month is a lot more.)

As far as paid hosting goes, it's pretty hard to beat, if you decide that's what you need.
posted by SuperNova at 1:22 AM on May 15, 2007 are cheaper than most for small users. They have no monthly or yearly fees, instead you just pay for what you use: Bandwidth is $1.00 per gigabyte, Disk Space is $0.01 per megabyte-month. I've just checked the account for my vanity domain (which has my contact details on it plus a few files I share) and it seems like it's cost me about $6 for a year.

You also get all the standard server side stuff (php, your own mysql process, etc as well as shell access). Accounts get a domain but you can buy your own domain from a cheap registrar like godaddy and link it to the account.
The lowest amount you can open an account with is $0.25 but I recommend you put in $5 or $10 that should last you a good while.
posted by Olli at 1:55 AM on May 15, 2007

I recommend buying a cheap domain name and remote hosting, not the play site stuff on your own PC. You'll be more into it and have more fun if you actually have your own real web site that friends can visit (and laugh at) and you can dream about (and laugh at).

So make up yet another stupid domain name, buy it, get it hosted, and get started out on the real internets. You'll learn a lot more when someone hijacks your site and uses it to run arms to Sendero Luminoso guerrillas.
posted by pracowity at 2:17 AM on May 15, 2007

they have a 1 dollar a month plan, plus 9 to register a domain. thats 21 bucks a year.

Good luck
posted by crewshell at 2:28 AM on May 15, 2007

Cheapest I've found: Namecheap plus Nearlyfreespeech. Maybe not so great for beginners, though.
posted by reklaw at 3:05 AM on May 15, 2007

A domain does seem pointless just for learning. I've heard good things about the Head First series for learning from scratch.
posted by mjlondon at 3:31 AM on May 15, 2007

A Small Orange starts at $25 a year for 3Gb.
posted by adamvasco at 3:55 AM on May 15, 2007

Second the -- super cheap, reliable, fast. Never had any problem with
posted by davidmsc at 4:32 AM on May 15, 2007

I used, not the most amazing customer service, but a great deal at $10 a year for hosting, esp considering it's full featured. Name hosting can be done anywhere, but I like namecheap's interface.

Of course, to be super easy and FREE, just install WAMP on your local machine and play from there.

WAMP + tomato firmware for my linksys router (built in dynamic dns client) + an account at a dynamic dns place = free server for my dotproject, jinzora, and wordpress installs.
posted by TomMelee at 4:57 AM on May 15, 2007

Seconding Namecheap for domain registration and A Small Orange for hosting. Both are dirt cheap ($9 per year and as little as $25 per year, respectively) and have good service. A Small Orange gives you everything you need to play with not just HTML and JavaScript, but also server-side stuff, and as a bonus you'll be able to set up unlimited email accounts and forwarders for It's nice to be free of
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:27 AM on May 15, 2007

The cheapest way to get hosting is make friends with someone who has a server or has a huge domain. I've gotten free hosting from people in the past and it is much better than crap like Geocities.
posted by JJ86 at 6:09 AM on May 15, 2007

If you set up an account with nearlyfreespeech, they'll create an initial sub-domain in the form That will be just fine for playing around.
posted by Leon at 6:11 AM on May 15, 2007

Another thought - NSFN will not hand-hold you. They're somewhat from the BOFH school of server management. So they may not be the best route if you're a complete novice.
posted by Leon at 6:18 AM on May 15, 2007

I've got 5 different hosting accounts.

I like a small orange the best for reliability, features, service, and their forum is a great place to find answers to hosting and coding issues.
posted by Mick at 6:23 AM on May 15, 2007 has some good deals.
posted by The Deej at 6:49 AM on May 15, 2007

Dreamhost is great, they have good support, and they have a fairly decent community blog and forum, where you can ask all the n00b questions the wiki doesn't cover. If you use this link, we can both get a discount, too.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:48 AM on May 15, 2007

I use GoDaddy, but have recently also purchased some domains from Netfirms, the huge Canadian host who is now aggressively marketing to those in the USA with .com/.net/.org/.info/.biz domain names for only $4.95 each.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 4:32 PM on May 15, 2007

I personally recommend for domain names (they're easy to use and cheap) and for hosting.

Hasweb is the cheapest host I've found to date - no setup fee, and the package I have is $10 a month for TONS of storage, bandwidth, infinite e-mail addresses and FTP accounts, unlimited MySQL databases, and free services (cPanel included). And they have excellent, fast customer service, to boot.

One of my favorite things that they offer is Fantastico, which is a quick way to set up any number of open source softwares written (mostly, if not entirely) in PHP. I can set up Joomla, Wordpress, message boards, etc. with a few clicks of a button.
posted by silasjones at 5:28 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

personally I have had great success with who presently offers hosting plans starting at $2.99usd for a basic hosting package with free domain name 10GB of space 300GB of transfer and more. I also enjoy who has solid plans at reasonable prices starting at $3.95. As far as extremely feature laden hosting at really cheap to enable you to test out various web modules by a single click I Have had good success with although for larger sites I have had some down time of about 24 hours once a month which was unacceptable however for low bandwith personal sites I have never had a problem.

Microsoft is giving away free domain names on the condition you sell your soul to them for a year
Microsoft Office Live Home Page - Microsoft Office Online
If you just need a basic no frills webhosting and are ok with the MS templates get yourself a free domain name and move on. Make sure you are comfortable with their fine print on it.

posted by the_binary_blues at 9:00 PM on May 15, 2007

For your domain name, I would go to gandi. Cheaper than the others and very reliable.
posted by Baud at 1:42 AM on May 16, 2007

Ditto the using your own machine idea -- plenty enough for learning HTML and javascript.

If you want to, you can put a web server on your machine, use a free dynamic DNS service and either choose a subdomain of a domain the dynamic DNS service provides, or buy a domain name (for under $10/year), and let the whole outside world look at the results, all for free. (Make sure your ISP service agreement doesn't forbid servers, and that there isn't some bandwidth cap after which you'd pay some outrageous sum to make sure of that "free" part.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2007

+1 for NFsN - I set someone up there recently. Excellent value, and you'd be supporting the good guys.
posted by carthik at 6:01 PM on May 17, 2007

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