So You Want A Website…
Some things to consider:
There are several things to consider when creating and publishing your website. Just a few:
- What kind of content, and how much?
- What is your timeline for your project?
- Who is your intended audience?
- Are there any technical restrictions or incompatabilities?
- Do you have the technical skills you need, or know how to acquire them? (hint-Scholars’ Lab, your librarian, web resources such as StackOverflow, or the Hard Way series…)
Once you have your content (and skills) in place, you’ll need a place to put your awesome site. A few (not complete!) are listed below:
There are a lot of options out there for web hosting, and the right one for you depends on what your needs are, and how much you’re willing to invest in this endeavor. The following list are some options with various technologies that they support.
Github provides hosting for static web content and jekyll, a static site generator (a favorite tool in the Scholars’ Lab). This is a great option for building your personal digital identity, but does not allow you to run software like Omeka or Wordpress (though jekyll is a replacement for Wordpress).
Cost: Free with a Github account.
Heroku is a “cloud application platform” that allows you to deploy applications
to their platform using
git. This works great for small-scale applications,
and the platform is capable of running just about any type of application. It
even provides a database (PostgreSQL as well a many
addons to handle almost any kind of application. This is
another favorite of the Scholars’ Lab as Prism is hosted there (as
well as other experiments).
Cost: To start out, free. You are then able to scale as needed. See their pricing page for more information.
It’s worth noting, this does not include storage. You will need to access that through an [addon service][heroku-addon].
appfog is a cloud application platform much like Heroku. One of the nice things this provides is “one-click’ installation of many popular web applications (Wordpress, django, drupal, and others). This is a great option if you like the idea of running these applications, but the commandline is still intimidating.
Cost: 30-day free trial. After that, $20/month for a basic account (not including storage).
Virtual Private Servers
You can quickly find yourself pushing against the limitations of the “easy” cloud application platforms is that it can get a bit expensive if you are running a custom application with specific software dependencies. This is where Virtual Private Servers, or VPS, services come in to play. Instead of rending a physical server, you rent a “virtual server” that is hosted on a server to run your applications. For all intents and purposes, this is the same as a physical server, meaning you are responsible for setting them up, installing software updates, and managing the configuration of anything you need to run.
Some that the staff at the Scholars’ Lab has used for projects include:
Typically this is the most inexpensive solution, and a good option if you have very low computing needs.
- acuGIS: Runs a full stack for running all of Nealtine (even the parts for georeferrenced maps) with one-click installers. This site includes academic discounts.
- bluehost: Plans starting at $4.95 / month. Good for running WordPress.
When you host your own site, you will want a custom domain name for your site.
Hover is a good Domain Name Service that
lets you point a URL (e.g.
scholarslab.org) at a server address (e.g.
22.214.171.124). There are others-check a few out to compare.