How To Create A Free Website On Your PC

Steel White Table is hosted on my one and only PC, a five year old antique, which I would consider the minimum requirements to do this: 500 MHz CPU, Windows 2000 Professional, 256 MB RAM. Yeah, I could use a Linux box, but my wife also uses this PC so it has to be user-friendly. When I get a new machine I may put Linux on this one. Here’s how I created and host Steel White Table:

  1. I originally used IIS 5.0 (which comes with Windows 2000) and static HTML pages until I discovered WordPress.
  2. Installed Apache 2.0. I decided not to use IIS because it doesn’t easily support rewrite rules and has limited functionality.
  3. Installed PHP 4. At the time version 5 was in beta, and I’ve read no compelling reason to upgrade. I didn’t know PHP at the time, but hey, I’m a programmer at heart; it didn’t take me long to get up to speed.
  4. Installed MySQL.
  5. Got a free domain name from no-ip.com, which I’m still using so other sites that link to me will continue to work. I have a dynamic IP address, but no-ip.com provides a free client to update their name servers automatically with the domain name I selected.
  6. Installed WordPress, free blogging software. It requires PHP and MySQL.
  7. Invited my artistic brother to add interesting videos, podcasts, and now, a radio station.
  8. Marvel at the popularity the site has gotten over the past year.
  9. Buy a meaningful domain name. Besides time, this is the only thing I’ve paid for. It cost me about $10 U.S. for two years (it was a Christmas special) to register steelwhitetable.org at Yahoo!
  10. Figure out how to associate steelwhitetable.org with my dynamic IP for free. I did a lot of googling and reading about free dynamic dns, choosing zoneedit.com in the end. It had the most favorable reviews, was easy to use, and was free. To update their name servers with my dynamic IP, I’m temporarily using DirectUpdate until I figure out and write my own program to do the same.
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12 Responses to How To Create A Free Website On Your PC

  1. Jim Kloss says:

    Nice outline. I’ve done basically the same thing, using an AMP (Apache, MySQL, PHP) setup. When I see how quickly commercialism creept into stuff like webcasts/podcasts, I am sincerely thankful to the incredible minds behind LAMP (adding Linux to the list) that not only have created super-powerful tools, but continue to provide them at no cost to the non-commercial computing world. Without those tools, so many websites like ours would not exist. Bless ‘em…

  2. Jody says:

    It’s incredible the amount of time and effort programmers put into their products, their “children” they would proclaim, but I understand the desire to tinker and create programs: it’s fun. I used to create freeware in the DOS days (see SEEK and UTTER), but now my free time is occupied by modifying someone elses code (i.e. mostly WordPress for this website).

  3. Pender says:

    I usually just play WoW in my spare time, but lately just playing it hasn’t been enough so I’ve been modifying other people’s interface customizations to suit my own needs. It’s coded in LUA/XML and tis the neato! Sometimes I find it more interesting to actually code for the game than play the game, which is sad/(neato/sad)/pathetic.

  4. Phillip says:

    Jody said, “…but now my free time is occupied by modifying someone else’s code.” Just like my time is occupied by modifying, or academically interpreting, someone else’s words insteading writing my own. My writing sucks now, but if I had time for real writing… it wouldn’t suck as much.

  5. Pender says:

    I find “real writing” to be real pompus. I used to try to write well so that people would think I’m all smart and pretend like things I wrote were important. I think I was a world champion jackass, lightweight division. I prefer fake writing over real writing any day.

  6. Phillip says:

    “Real writing” for me means enjoying what I’m writing, that’s all. Academic writing (i.e., my thesis) is not the real thing to me, because it doesn’t speak to anyone except academics who I’ve seen give high praise to bullshit I made up on the spot. It’s stupid. They might be impressed, but I’m not. I derive no enjoyment from reading it or writing it. Academic writing has its place in the world, but not a part of the world I care to inhabit. If academic writing is real writing, then I prefer fake writing any day too.

  7. Pender says:

    Ah, I misunderstood you then. If you REAL wrote it I would have understood it!!!! Or something.. I think..

  8. Phillip says:

    At this moment, there’s a folklore doctorate student studying the deeper sociological meaning of blog comments, or something, and they’re loving this.

  9. Pender says:

    What do I get for being the subject? I want a potato carved to resemble curious george.

    By “potato” I clearly mean my insatiable appetite for destruction and “curious george” obviously means something completely different than what I’m talking about right now, which is absolutely nothing.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Pender – you forgot to mention the giraffes and the brightly coloured lamp shades you are collecting. I wonder what the folklore student would think about that!

  11. Phillp says:

    Well, “Pender,” for being such a illuminating subject, you get a free multi-button, rapid-fire joystick for your laptop. Okay, there you go.

  12. Pender says:

    Once I was walking down the street and I saw this guy and I was like “hey, where’d those bats come from?” and he was all “I haven’t stolen your bats for three weeks, get away from me while I’m making this ham samich, jerk” so I punched him in the face and he was all “hey man, give me back that 5 dollars you stole from my dog’s nephew’s wedding’s caterer” and I’m like “werd”.. Then something completely different happend, but I digress.

    It was cool.

    I’m a folk and that’s my lore, if you don’t like it then hit your head on the wall until you forget.

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