HTML5 tutorial - The form element.

If you are signing up with a host other than Bluehost the step-by-step instructions that follow won't apply, however nor should it be all that different. The information they all require is essentially the same as what Bluehost collects:

  1. A domain
  2. Your name, email, etc.
  3. Some money
  4. A login and password

Sign up with BluehostWhile the signup process may differ, the "control panel", which you will need to manage the site, should be virtually identical. A private software company, cPanel, sells Bluehost and the vast majority of hosting companies their software.

In fact cPanel is so popular the "control panel" is almost always called the "cpanel". It's like "hook-and-loop fastener" being called "velcro". If your potential hosting company does not have a cPanel "cpanel", I would consider looking for a new host.

So let's get started. If you don't already have the page open go to Bluehost and you will see the screen to the right.

Click on "Sign Up Now"Sign up with Bluehost and you will be taken to a page that looks like what you see to the left.

If you already own a domain, enter it under "I Have a Domain". If not, enter it under "I Need a Domain". You may have already found a domain when you were on the get a domain page. If so, enter it as a new domain and click "Next" and you'll go to the page you see on the lower right. Then you have to fill in your personal information and Bluehost has a couple more offers.

First, they have a "Pro Package" upgrade. You can always upgrade to it later, but the basic package is quite powerful as is. This site is hosted with the basic package and I get a lot of traffic. Even with a second "addon domain",, I've had no problems at all.**

Sign up with BluehostNote: In case you have any problems, questions or doubts, use the chat window on the right or give them a call. I work with Bluehost because I like their tech support. Use them – that's what they are there for.

Then they have a couple of other services you might consider:

SiteLock Domain Security
If you will be collecting personal information from visitors or billing online, SiteLock is a good idea. It's not paranoia if "they" really are out to get you – and "they" are.
Site Backup Pro
You can never backup too much, however if you are just learning web design how much critical data will you have?
Search Engine Jumpstart
I tend not to trust anyone who tells me they can help with SEO, but this looks like a legitimate service. That said, I would wait until you have a website ready to promote.
Domain Whois Privacy
A while back I got an email saying I needed to renew one of my domains. It was a spam, but for a moment it had me running. As I didn't have Domain Whois Privacy, some slick scam artist was able to get my email address from whois.

None of these services are required and, for beginners, the only one I recommend at this point is Domain Whois Privacy. We aren't talking about a lot of money, so it's up to you, but you can always come back and buy them later.

Sign up with BluehostNow it's time to pay the man. Fill out the form, click "Next" will be taken to another screen with additional offers. Again, if you find something you want fine, but there isn't anything you can't buy later. Click "Complete" and, assuming you have any money (if you don't, I can't help you) you're paid up. Now all you have to do is create a password and get your login.

Next, click on "Create your password". Use the password generator to come up with something secure. Do not use a password you use for anything else. Seriously, don't. The password generator makes passwords I, for one, can never remember – but they are also virtually impossible to hack.

The cPanel

Click "Password Generator". Click "Generate", "Paste",
then "Create".
Then enter your password
and click "Next".

The cPanelOnce that is done you will end up in the cpanel. Odds are that there is a lot of stuff that probably won't mean much to you. Don't panic. To the unanitiated, the cpanel screen looks intimidating, but for now the only thing you need to know is what I have circled in red, your username – which, along with your password, should be stored somewhere safe. The rest we will get to later.

You will see a "Welcome" window in the middle of the cpanel screen. If you want, take a few moments and see what they have to say, but as long as you don't select "Don't show this again" you can always check it out later.

Next we will download and install a free FTP program called Filezilla. FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol". This is the software you use to upload HTML pages you have created on your computer to your server.

You can try to go to your site now, but if you just now signed up it's likely that your new domain hasn't "propagated" yet. In other words your domain hasn't yet been added to all DNS servers. It can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a day to show up. If it still hasn't shown up after 24 hours contact tech support.

Well done! You have now formally taken the plunge.

* An "addon domain" is a second site hosted under the same package. With Bluehost, along with most hosts, all you have to pay is an annual fee for the extra domain. Your primary domain is free with the hosting package.

FTP or File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.