Build A Website

How to Code a Website 2023: Build Your Own Site

Timo Ostermann
Author
29. Nov 2022
Last update

Do you want your own website, but are unsure about how to get started? A good place is by checking out all of the different options that are available. These days, coding a website doesn't necessarily mean spending hours programming it from scratch. Depending on what your needs are, as well as what sort of background knowledge you have, setting up a web presence might be easier than you ever thought.

In this article, we'll introduce you to 5 ways you can program a website, and showcase some tools that help beginners and pros alike to reach their desired outcomes faster.

Code a Website: 5 Options

There are lots of ways to create your own website. Deciding which to use depends largely on your background knowledge in relation to the project you have in mind and its complexity, as well as what you'd like to achieve.

1.

HTML + CSS: Manually Create a Static Website

Hypertext markup language and cascading style sheets might be more familiar to you under their acronyms, HTML and CSS, respectively. These form the basis for every website, with HTML defining its structure and CSS taking care of its shape, colors, and behavior, or, the way in which its appearance is comprised of multiple elements. If you already have some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, you can manually create a static website with your preferred text editor.

Static websites are those which are saved as individual files on a web server and display the same content in the same way to all visitors. This stands in contrast to dynamic websites, on which content is newly generated each time the site is requested, which is important for online stores with changing prices and catalogs, or news websites, where breaking headlines or fresh articles are common.

A static website is characterized by faster loading times and requires almost no maintenance or upkeep. However, their areas of application are sharply limited, and changes are associated with considerable effort. If built manually and entirely without auxiliary tools, a static website can be very time-intensive, with a high likelihood of errors appearing in its code.

Still, for websites with few, if any subpages that don't require constant updates, this option is the most straightforward one.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Quick loading times

  • Little maintenance required

  • Code is completely controlled by the programmer

  • Limited design options

  • Programming knowledge necessary

  • Susceptible to coding errors

  • Making changes or updates is difficult

2.

Static Site Generator: Static Websites With CMS

Static site generators can be seen as streamlined content management systems (CMSs). They're limited to the most basic features and provide users with ready-made code frameworks that are ideal for creating simple websites. Managing content on these is noticeably easier than in a text editor.

Lots of static site generators can be used in conjunction with programming languages, such as JavaScript, making it possible for their users to add dynamic features.

With a static site generator like Jekyll, you can easily create a fast-loading static website.

Static site generators make it possible to maximize the advantages offered by static websites (fast loading times and low maintenance), without having to take any of their disadvantages into account. As a result, this method is an interesting way to create a website, even though it might not be ideal for every Web project.

Jekyll  and HUGO  are two of the most popular static site generators.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Fast loading times

  • Little maintenance required

  • Easy to manage content

  • Not ideal for dynamic content (although possible)

  • Require basic programming knowledge

3.

CMS: Some Features Through Plugins

There are many different content management systems (CMSs) on the market, the most famous of which is without a doubt WordPress. Since they automatically generate HTML and CSS, CMSs take much of the difficulty out of coding a website. As such, even with no experience in programming, it's possible to create and manage a page using the CMS's graphic user interface. Different design templates make getting started easy, while the range of features is almost limitless owing to the number of plugins that are available.

WordPress is the most-used CMS worldwide.

Beginners can design an intricate, dynamic website with a CMS, however, to make fine adjustments or modifications, and to tap into the full potential of the platform you're using, HTML and CSS knowledge is necessary. In addition, to add individual plugins, you'll need a basic understanding of PHP.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Easily manage and change content

  • Lots of design options

  • Designed for both beginners and more advanced users

  • Can be expanded with plugins

  • Frequently require updates and backups

  • Training required to tap into their full potential

4.

Create a Dynamic Site With PHP or JavaScript

Scripting languages such as PHP and JavaScript make it possible to create dynamic websites, allowing features like comments, reviews, news tickers, pop-ups, or full-text searches.

While PHP is designed to be used only on the server side (i.e., web servers), JavaScript was purely for the client side, running on an end device (i.e a smartphone or laptop) and being read by the browser. JavaScript has since been adapted for use on the server side through the cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment Node.js.

PHP  is an open source scripting language which can be used to create dynamic websites.

Beyond that, there also exist plenty of other scripting languages. Determining which is best for cording a dynamic website depends entirely on what it is that you want to achieve. Generally speaking, any web project can be realized with a combination of PHP and JavaScript.

Frameworks Make Programming Easier

Technically, in order to program a dynamic website using PHP or JavaScript, all you'll need is a text editor and a browser. However, frameworks make this much easier. These provide a sort of code scaffolding that you can customize with individual segments and snippets to meet your precise needs.

More specifically, frameworks are code libraries that eliminate all of the routine work from manual programming. Depending on which framework you use, more tools will become available that make programming even easier. Among the most popular JavaScript frameworks are React , Vue , and Angular , while Laravel , Lumen , or Symfony  see quite a bit of usage for PHP.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Independent of external providers

  • No limitations, maximum design freedom

  • Experienced programmers can create a far more streamlined and less error-prone code in comparison to site builders or CMSs

  • Time intensive

  • Advanced programming knowledge required

  • Susceptible to coding errors

5.

Website Builders: Program Visually

When creating a website with a site builder, the software takes almost all of the guesswork out, allowing anyone to create a professional-looking website in a short amount of time. This is possible through the use of visual, menu-based tools, which allow for all sorts of page elements to be conveniently arranged and positioned by dragging and dropping them.

Site builders like Squarespace take care of all the programming when creating a web presence.

Countless templates, themes, and add-ons make it easy to customize your website to your exact specifications, without requiring you to spend hours laboring over lines of code. In addition, site builders like Wix are pretty much self-explanatory, allowing them to be used intuitively. However, you should keep in mind that your creative and design freedom will often be constrained when using most site builders.

All the same, there are exceptions, such as Webflow, which offers extensive coding features. The selection might seem daunting, but we've already done the research for you in our site builder comparison.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • No coding knowledge required

  • Templates make it easy to get started

  • Comparably affordable option for creating a website

  • Limited design and creative freedom

  • Support and customer service varies from provider to provider

Our Site Building Review's Winner: Wix

Best Overall 2023
Wix Website Builder Test
Wix Website Builder
(75,300 )
Wix succeeds with an unmatched feature set, intuitive editors and a packed app marketplace. Only with the blog features do we still see some room for improvement.
free entry-level plan
many high-quality templates
simple & intuitive interface
jam-packed app marketplace
Domains free for one year only
9.6
excellent
Space
0.5 - 50 GB
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
550+
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
Wix Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
Try for Free

Wix is a site builder that's great for both beginners and more advanced users. Its AI-based ADI editor is geared specifically towards those with no knowledge of coding, limiting features to make the user experience as straightforward as possible.

With Wix's standard editor, pros can visually program stunning sites while taking advantage of the platform's sleek drag and drop capabilities.

There are plenty of reasons why Wix, EXPERTE.com's test winner, is one of the most popular site builders on the market.

The sheer number of different templates, as well as extensions, make Wix a solid site builder, which bested the rest of the services from our EXPERTE.com sample.

If interested in how the platform handles, be sure to take a look at our step-by-step tutorial for how to create a website with Wix.

Review
9.6
excellent
Visit Website
Check Review
Features
10 / 10
Marketing, SEO & Ecommerce
10 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Templates & Design
9.4 / 10
Configuration & Usability
9.4 / 10

Site Builder With Coding Features: Webflow

Webflow Website Builder Test
Webflow Website Builder
(678 )
Webflow requires an understanding of programming logic and is less suitable for beginners. As a hybrid of website builder and CMS, it offers its target group countless possibilities to create user-friendly dynamic websites.
mix of CMS & website builder
almost infinite possibilities
learning platform "Webflow University"
good ecommerce integration
somewhat steep learning curve
8.7
good
Space
unlimited
Domains
0 domains
Templates
30+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Webflow Starter
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
Start for Free

Webflow is in a league of its own within the site-building scene, offering considerably more design freedom than any of the other services we assessed in our sample. Even though advanced coding knowledge isn't explicitly called for, those who understand the logic behind programming and HTML will be able to get the most out of this platform.

Webflow is noticeably more complicated than other site builders, but also, far more flexible.

Webflow can be seen as a sort of site builder/CMS hybrid, offering all of the tools that you'll need to create a professional-looking homepage or online store, thanks to its range of ecommerce features.

Review
8.7
good
Visit Website
Check Review
Support
9.4 / 10
Templates & Design
9.4 / 10
Features
8.6 / 10
Marketing, SEO & Ecommerce
8.6 / 10
Configuration & Usability
7.4 / 10

Learn How to Code

Should this article have inspired you to learn more about programming a website, there are a number of options available for doing so, many of which are entirely free. It can be difficult for complete newcomers, who don't have a particular goal, to get started with this complicated and wide topic.

Generally speaking, a good place to start is to familiarize yourself with the basic features and functions of a computer. This makes understanding the relationships between what's programmed and how it actually functions easier, helping you on your way to writing code. There is plenty of written material that does a great job of introducing the basics of programming.

Alternatively, you can take a look through YouTube or other video hosting platforms and watch some informative tutorials or guides on specific topics. The great thing about these is that you can zero in on problem areas or topics that are challenging, without having to repeat concepts that you've already grasped. In case you prefer a course setting, platforms like Codeacademy  or freeCodeCamp  offer interactive lessons which teach the basics of HTML, CSS, PHP, and plenty of other scripting and programming languages, at absolutely no cost.

There are lots of free and premium resources online which come in handy for learning how to code.

In addition, or perhaps as an alternative, you can book paid seminars and online courses (such as on the e-learning platform, Udemy ), in order to build up or enhance your programming knowledge as quickly as possible. As with so many things in life, skills in programming and coding are best acquired through "learning by doing".

Tools for Programming a Website

Regardless of whether you're using CMS or coding a website on your own, plenty of useful tools exist which make the entire process easier. Below, we've introduced a few of our favorites:

IDE: The Tool for Programming Websites

As we've mentioned above, you could use your preferred text editor to program an entire website. However, why not do yourself a big favor by adding an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to your toolbox? An IDE provides access to numerous site programming tools within a single interface, offering quick access to the most important of them.

Most IDEs are comprised of an editor with source text formatting and syntax highlighting, a compiler or interpreter (which translates the source code into a programming language), and a debugger, for finding and correcting errors. Visual Studio Code  is an easy-to-use IDE with a wide array of features, which can be downloaded for free.

Visual Studio Code is a user-friendly IDE offering lots of features.

Visual Studio Code can be utilized in conjunction with most programming languages, including PHP, Java, JavaScript, and Python. In case you use an IDE to program your website, make sure that your code is written efficiently and free from mistakes.

Code Editors

Should you just want to check the source code of your web project for errors while programming it, without using a full-fledged IDE, you can try a code editor. And if you change your mind down the road, by adding a few extensions, you can even convert one of these into a type of IDE. Still, on their own, code editors are much easier to handle than IDEs, making them ideal for beginners.

Code editors are designed to check for mistakes and to assess their qualitative aspects, allowing you to concentrate entirely on writing code. Not all code editors are identical, differing in terms of the features they offer and their user interfaces, so, it can be worthwhile to try a few out in order to find the one that is most suited to you and your needs.

Sublime Text is a code editor that offers lots of additional features for developers.

Some of the most well-known code editors that are capable of handling HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are Notepad++  and Sublime Text .

Prototyping Tools

Supposing that you've decided to build a website from the ground up and that it's a fairly large project, prototyping tools could ease your workload considerably. These are designed to help websites stay as user-friendly as possible, by checking their planned structure and identifying any weaknesses or problem areas.

Prototyping tools can simulate different characteristics and features of a website before these are activated. In this way, at a fairly early point in time, you can test and optimize your website's navigation, its color scheme, or how different elements display on all sorts of end devices. Sketch , Figma , and Adobe XD  are among the most popular prototyping tools.

Themes: Don't Start From Scratch!

In case you've decided to create your website using a CMS like WordPress, you don't have to start from scratch. Themes, a kind of template, are largely responsible for how a finished WordPress website is designed and appears. There exist a wide selection of free and premium themes tailored for all sorts of different web projects.

Simply select the theme that best matches your needs and requirements, and add as many or as few page elements to it as you'd like. Depending on what goals you're pursuing with your website, particularly if they're commercial ones, it can pay to invest in a premium theme.

Conclusion

There are plenty of options available for creating a website, each of which brings with it advantages and disadvantages while requiring varying levels of familiarity with coding and programming. CMSs like WordPress do well in realizing more intricate websites, allowing their users to add as many extra features through plugins as they'd like. In this case, programming knowledge isn't a must but does help in truly customizing the website to your preferences.

Supposing that you have little exposure to coding, a simple static website might be a good starting point. Over time, and as you become more familiar with programming, you can switch over to a dynamic website, each aspect of which can be personalized to look and function precisely how you imagine. Platforms like Codeacademy or Freecodecamp are excellent resources for learning how to program or improving and enhancing your existing knowledge.

On the other hand, beginners who want to go route one might find it best to take a closer look at site builders, which offer an easy way to create visually appealing websites without a lick of programming knowledge. For an overview of the best site builders on the market, have a look at our EXPERTE.com comparison.

FAQs

Which language is a website programed in?

All websites are based on HTML and CSS, even if these aren't strictly speaking programming languages (but rather, markup languages used for giving structure to content). Beyond these, JavaScript and PHP, scripting languages, are relevant for plenty of websites, while C, C++, Python, Java, Go, or Pearl see frequent use in programming.

How can I create an HTML website?
Where can I learn how to program a website?
Can I program a website without coding knowledge?
Author: Timo Ostermann
Timo Ostermann works as an online editor in the field of online marketing and e-commerce. On EXPERTE.com he writes primarily about website building, hosting, software and IT security.
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