If you wish to host your own personal website for free, you can host a basic website on Google’s servers for free. Google does not provide free hosting solutions, but they do provide a Platform As A Service known as “Google App Engine” (GAE).
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Step # 1 – Create your personal website
First you’ll need to create your personal website. You can build a website if you have experience as a web designer or you can work on a web template and customize it. In this case we’ll download a template from this website: “www.freehtml5templates.com”. Just choose the one you like, click on the name and then click the “Download here” button.
Step # 2 – Edit your personal website
To customize it, you’ll need to unzip the files and edit the index.html or other .html files. You can use any text editor like “Notepad” or “WordPad” to edit these files. Add your information and save the file.
Step # 3 – Download Python
Now you’ll need to download Python and GAE SDK. To download python type this web address: “www.python.org/download/releases/2.7.6/” and download the right installer according to your operating system. Then open the installer and follow the instructions to install the app.
Step # 4 – Download Google App Engine SDK
Then go to your browser once more and type this web address to download” Google App Engine: “developers.google.com/appengine/downloads”
The link is quite long but it will take you directly to the downloader, as the website is complex. Download the version for your system. Run the installer and follow the instructions to install it.
Step # 5 – Sign Up For Google App Engine
Now, you’ll need to sign up for an account at “Google App Engine”. If you already have a Gmail account, you just have to sign it. Open your browser and go to: “https://appengine.google.com/”. If you don’t have a gmail account press the “Create an account” link and enter required details to create an account.
Step # 6 – Create an App at Google App Engine
Now, you need to create an application on GAE. Click the “Create Application” button. You may be asked to verify your account.
Enter the address you want in “Application Identifier”. This name will create your sub-domain address, for example: “your-name.appspot.com”. Keep in mind that, once given a name, the application identifier cannot make changes.
Next enter “Application Title” in the second text field. This name will be displayed when people access your app on the GAE.
For “Authentication Options”, leave it in the default option: “Open to all Google Account users”. Accept the terms and click on the “Create Application” button. You will see a page stating that the “Application Registered Successfully”.
Step # 7: Open Google App Engine Launcher
Now you need to develop your GAE app on your system using Python and App Engine Python SDK. Open “Google App Engine Launcher” app on your system.
Then Open “File” menu and go to “Create New Application”.
Enter your application identifier in the field Application Name. Choose a local parent directory for your app by clicking on the “Browse” button. Your app’s directory will be created inside this directory. Leave the “Port” and “Admin Port” on default values. Click on the “Create” button.
Step # 8: Edit your local GAE apps’s settings.
To edit your local GAE app’s settings choose your app in GAE Launcher. Click on “Edit” and your app’s “app.yaml” file will open in WordPad. Replace “your-app-name-here” with your application identifier on the first line of this file. Then save it and close WordPad.
Step # 9: Add your personal website’s file to your local GAE app
To add your personal website’s files to your local GAE app open the local parent directory of your GAE app. Open your app’s directory. Delete the files named “favicon.ico” and “main.py”.
Create a new folder named “www” inside this directory. Copy your website’s files to this “www” directory.
Step # 10: Deploy your custom app to GAE Servers
Now you need to check and deploy your app to GAE servers. To check your local GAE app you need to choose your app in GAE Launcher and click on “Run”. You will be shown your website in the web browser on your computer.
To deploy your GAE app you need to choose your app in GAE Launcher. Click on “Deploy”. You will be asked for your gmail id and password. Enter your account’s credentials and press “OK”. You will see a Python window detailing the progress of the upload operation. It will take some time to upload your app depending on your Internet connection’s speed.