A cluster of glowing blue fibre optic tips

Like novels and art, websites do not truly count until they are published. Whatever the scale of the enterprise - from the smallest boutique site on cheap hosting to vast maps of data spanned across multiple servers - finding and purchasing a domain name and setting up a server can be an intimidating, even overwhelming prospect.

This reading list takes you through the very basics of servers, domain names and hosting, starting with general recommendations and working up to creating your own server for site testing and development, with more complex entries added over time.

Time: 1 hour

Prerequisites: Aside from purchasing a suitable domain name (which you should ensure is done before starting a project), there’s not much point in learning about servers and hosting from a web development perspective without a strong understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Basic knowledge of a server-side language, such as PHP, is also recommended.

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding TLDs
  3. Choosing & Registering a Domain
  4. Choosing a Hosting Provider
  5. Web Hosting Recommendations
  6. Intro to Server Setup
  7. Installing MAMP on OS X
  8. Installing WAMPP on Windows
  9. Uploading with FTP
  10. Changing Domain Names

Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems (popularly referred to as “CMS’s”) allow easier creation and editing of increasingly complex websites.

  1. Introduction
  2. CMS Overview
  3. Installing WordPress for Local Development

Once you have a site up, running, and growing, performance becomes an issue. This series explores opportunities to increase server performance without spending more money, using caching and compression:

  1. Introduction to Caching
  2. gzip

As soon as your site is online, security also becomes an issue. There are several steps you can take to secure site files:

  1. Protect Files With .htaccess
  2. Placing Files Above the Web Root

Photograph by Michael Wyszomierski, used under a Attribution NonCommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.

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