Session 2: Staking a claim

Now that we have a better idea of what web hosting is and how we spend our time online, it is time to start building our own little corner of the internet.

Steps 1 & 2: Sign up for Reclaim hosting

Your first step to building an online space with Reclaim is to sign up. As mentioned in the "Why Pay?" and the "Why Pay Reclaim?" sections of Session 1, signing up with Reclaim costs $25 a year. For that $25 Reclaim does two big things for you: they register a domain name of your choice so you have a unique address online, and they give you space on their servers for your web pages, attachments, and apps. Having a domain name is going to let you have email addresses at your own domain, which can be an important permanent point of contact, especially for graduate students who are likely to move through a handful of academic email addresses in their careers but may want to use something a little more durable and sophisticated than a public gmail or yahoo address for job searches.

You sign up for Reclaim by filling out this form. The first part of signing up is picking your domain name. This is worth some thought so spend a minute trying different names and seeing which ones are available before you pick one.

After you find a name you like that is available, Reclaim will ask if you want to pay to keep your information from being listed in the public directory of domain owners. This is a formal part of the domain registration process, not something unique to Reclaim hosting. If you want to understand what the options are and decide what to list, now would be the best time to take a look at DNS registration privacy, one of this week's Web Fundamental readings.

Step 3: Install WordPress

Reclaim actually has a very straightforward walk through on Installing Wordpress which also serves as a good introduction to how to access the various areas of your new Reclaim hosting account. The whole thing should only take two or three minutes so just follow the steps they outline.

Writing your first post

Depending on what you want your personal website to do, you may all end up building very different sites from each other during this course. Rather than give you a particular template to follow, this course aims to give you a solid foundation in how Wordpress pulls together the basic parts of your site and how to make it work for you through selecting templates, plugins, and other administration tasks. The first fundamental capability we will learn in WordPress is how to post text.

The main unit of text in WordPress is the "Post", which can be anything from a haiku to a novel in length. Posts are actually little websites in their own right and can include any web elements like pictures, video, or interactive elements that you might want in addition to text. Generally, posts are used to create a chronological list of the activity on your site, like a news feed. Sites organized around this kind of chronological activity listing were once called "web logs", or "blogs" for short, but the term has fallen out of favor with the rise of social media. I will sometimes refer to such sites as blogs but you can just call them "web sites".

To create your first post, log in to your site and click the "New Post" button. Simply type what you wish to post in the edit window, give the post a title, and hit the big blue "Publish" button. Next session we will go over how to rearrange and style your site so don't worry to much what the site looks like just yet. The goal this session is just to get something up as a foundation. If you are completing the

Once you have published your post, some congratulations are in order. You have just staked out a claim on your own piece of the internet!

Site Building

  • Choose a domain name
  • Sign up for Reclaim hosting
  • Write your first post.

Online Courses

Web Fundamentals


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