I’m just starting to build my own website, so for those interested you can follow along in this series of tutorials. Not sure when this will be finished, but hopefully not in the too distant future.
The point of this tutorial is to show how a website can be built and hosted for free, with the only costs being Domain name registration costs, about $7.00 per annum with say godaddy.com . So it is virtually open to anyone with a computer.
The hosting will be supplied on the cloud by one of the best companies in the world able to do this, Google. Google has a web framework called Google App Engine, which is based on Django, a python web framework. Google supplies this service free, as long as the bandwidth and cpu time are within certain limits http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/quotas.html#Free_Changes. For a simple site most of us are unlikely to exceed these limits. At the moment daily allowed bandwidth is up to 1 gig with 6.5 hours of CPU time.
IDE should definitely be pydev and eclipse, as pydev has a wizard especially for google apps engine. http://pydev.blogspot.com/2009/05/testing-on-pydev-146-google-app-engine.html. See also my thread here about eclipse and pydev http://blenderartists.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1462591&postcount=19 and an older thread about eclipse pydev and google apps engine http://code.google.com/appengine/articles/eclipse.html. This last may no longer be that relevant, with the newer pydev wizard.
Google apps engine SDK can be downloaded from here http://code.google.com/appengine/
Purchasing Your Domain Name
Searching for domain names that are not taken can be somewhat risky. I would not use a website that supplies a whois service. They are liable to scrape your entries. It is reported that some ISP’s will scrape whois enquiries, so using whois is not always advisable. I would try gandi.net for searching, which as far as I know has a good reputation. Registering with gandi.net is more expensive then godaddy.com, but gandi is supposed to have some advantages, for instance if you accidentally let your domain name expire, gandi will keep it for you for some time afterwards.
You can also search and buy a domain name from google when you sign up for google apps, see below.
Next get a google apps account:
Sign up for this and enter your domain name “YOURDOMAIN.com” or subdomain such as “apps.YOURDOMAIN.com” if you want to use the full domain for something else. At this point you can also choose google to search for a domain name, and purchase it from google for $10.00/annum.
Follow the rest of the instruction until at some point google requires that you verify that you own the domain, so if it is a new domain choose the cname record change rather than the html option for verification. This video explains how to do this with godaddy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_8QUrhI5fQ&feature=related. Briefly for godaddy.com near the top find the tab Domains/My Domain and log in, then select your domain and look for Total DNS and click on the Total DNS Control link. Then select “add new cname” record and follow the instructions given by google. Once finished log out of godaddy.com
There is also a video about how to set up other cname records: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmWYyrXC0U. Other related videos from these guys about google apps may be worth perusing.
To have your own email address such as [email protected] hosted by google in their nice gmail format you need to alter the mx records at godaddy as well http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=33352http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=48090#J
If you have purchased your domain from google then all the cname changes are done for you.
Until we load an application we cannot actually use the google apps domain to deploy the application so I guess next up should be a simple hello world application.