How to build your own website today – no coding required

From quick designs via hosted services to using a CMS

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Note: Our website creation article has been fully updated. This feature was first published in August 2012.

In the past designing and constructing a website was something of a black art practised by denizens of the web who understood a strange language called HTML. Today things are somewhat different. If you can fill in an online form, you can create a professional website in minutes.

There are a number of options when it comes to creating and designing your own website, and which choice you make largely depends on how much control you want with the underlying code of your site.

Many services completely protect you from writing a single line of code, with others offering a hybrid approach. Or if you wish, and are proficient in coding, you can get stuck in with a more hands-on approach.

Let's go through all your options in more detail…

Hand coding

If you happen to be proficient with HTML and CSS you can of course hand code your website using nothing more than Notepad on the PC or TextEdit on the Mac. With so many visual design applications available, some developers still like to get their hands dirty with the code. There are also applications that allow a level of visual design, but don't forget that you may need to look at and modify the website's code:

These applications are ideal if you have a background in web design. However, they offer a level of control that can be rather daunting for anyone that hasn't coded before.

The intuitive design interfaces of many online website creation services make them ideal for beginners

Hosted services

One of the most popular ways to create a website is to use hosted services. To use this method of website design you just need your favourite browser and a connection to the net, as all the design work is done online. Some of the most popular services include:

All of these services make developing a website a point-and-click affair with all of the main site components available via menus or as elements you simply drag and drop into place.

Often you can set up your site by simply competing a form with your information, which is then populated across your site. This means website design is fast and efficient when you're using these services.