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Easy ways to build your own website for free

Building a simple, effective website no longer needs to cost the earth as there are many ways to do the job yourself for free and with relatively little technical know-how. Here is how you can design, build and host your own website without opening your wallet.

Start a blog

Free blogging sites like WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are now well-established, with large communities, substantial help resources and easy-to-follow instructions on how to go about creating a site. Register for free, choose your design template and you will be given a URL, or web address, such as Wordpress.com. This is the simplest and quickest way to make your presence felt on the web with plenty of exposure to established blogging communities.

Find a website creator

Enter "free website creator" into a search engine and you will find many web builders offering simple design tools and hosting, such as WebEden, Wix and Google Sites. Google web hosting, for example, includes a website builder, clear instructions and a Google.com URL at the end of it. If you already have a domain name, for example Example.com, then this can easily be "mapped", or redirected to your new Google site.

Use an open source CMS

There are many free content management systems (CMSs) available, such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Using one to build your site requires some technical knowledge, and you will also have to find a web hosting site and register a domain. They do provide more design flexibility and there are many modules available for adding in extra functionality.

Free web hosting and domain registration

Find a free web host and domain registrar if you are using a CMS. Install your CMS on a web host to make it visible to the internet and go to a domain registrar to secure a URL. This is crucial for anyone looking to build a business website with a memorable URL. There are many free web hosts available, but beware of the "catch" such as fewer email addresses or less bandwidth. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the website- this is important when hosting your own media content. Many web hosts will also offer a domain registration service, but it is usually possible to register your domain with one website and redirect it to your chosen web host. For example, you could register a Co.uk website with 1 and 1, a web host and registrar, and map the URL to a free host such as FreeHostia. Be aware that you will have to buy web domains ending in popular net suffixes such as .com and .org. More obscure suffixes like .co.cc can be found for free. Type "free domain names" into a search engine to see what is available, and read the small print carefully.

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