Starting a website is not as difficult as you may think. A personal website can be very simple to start. Many people use free services like MySpace to create a web presence. Although these sites can be fun, many people avoid sites like MySpace due to the horrendous design of some pages. The pages may feel personalized, but they tend to all be unreadable.
Starting a website can be extremely fun. You may start out using a free service like Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. These services allow you to create many blogs. These blogs can have customized themes, and amazingly, they can be used to generate an online income. Using free services like this is great for the individual. However if you want to create a better web presence, you may consider buying your own domain and hosting package.
An excellent place to purchase a domain is www.GoDaddy.com. Almost everyone I know uses GoDaddy to register their domains. For hosting, I prefer Hostgator. They have great stable service and are probably the best deal around for unlimited hosting. One can use a single Hostgator account to host as many sites as needed.
You can go a step further, if Hostgator isn't good enough for you. If you expect your website to get a ton of traffic, you'll want to use a more dedicated hosting package. There are quite a few options at this point. The option that many will go with is a virtual private server (VPS) or a cloud server.
These servers are part of a server farm. They are usually not a dedicated machine, but are much more powerful than a shared hosting package. Shared hosting packages allow many people to host many sites on one server. Cloud servers are single virtual machines which use a certain portion of community resources within the server farm. This is handy because one can modify the amount of system resources one needs without changing the physical hardware. You pay for what you use. So, if your site needs more horsepower, you simply move a few sliders and voila, you are using (and paying for) more resources.
In the event that your cloud server can't handle your web traffic load (when you are getting quite a few thousand visitors per day), you can opt for a dedicated server or buy a server and send it off for colocation. With the dedicated server option, you pay for the bandwidth and for the use of the server. With the colocation option, you send a server to the provider for them to hook up to their huge network. The colocation option is usually cheaper because you are using your own hardware, however you have to buy the hardware first. So, this makes up for the cost. For cloud, VPS, colocation, and dedicated servers, I recommend 1and1.com.
When your website is as big as Facebook.com, you'll need multiple servers to handle the extremely heavy traffic and requests. When that day comes, you'll have to hire some experts to work for your company, and you should be making enough money by that point to pay for them.
Until that day, start off with a Blogger or Wordpress blog. You may also wish to buy a domain and hosting account. In future posts, I'll be explorer how to write simple sites in HTML. Those lessons will be much easier if you have hosting account and domain name.