Domain Name A basic "must" in creating a website is buying your own domain name. There is simply no substitute. The prices for domains vary from registrar to registrar, and are around $10 or so per year. That depends on the domains name demand. Because a domain name is a necessity for the health and longevity of your website, this price must always be factored into your budget when planning a website. Almost everything else can have substitutes if you have no money, never start a website without a domain name. Websites that don't have their own domain name have to use their web host's sub domain name. Such sites are totally at the mercy of that web host. If the host suddenly decides to charge you an exorbitant price for hosting your site, you will have no choice but to comply. Web Hosting If you want to use a commercial web host, you will need to factor in the cost of web hosting as well. Some hosts also offer discounts if you pay a year (or more) in advance. Prices vary from web host to web host but are usually around $10 per month if your website is new and doesn't have much traffic or data. You can find the real prices charged by a number of web hosts on the Budget Web Hosting page. As your website gets more traffic, or if you need to put a lot of big files on your website, you may have to upgrade your site to one of the web host's higher-priced plans. Those who are not earning an income and are merely creating personal websites or hobby sites that will not earn any money can also consider using a free web host that provides free domain hosting. Such web hosts will allow you to host your domain with them without charging you any hosting fees. In exchange, most of them will also place advertisements on your website to recoup their costs of hosting your site. Software The exact software you need for your site depends on the type of website you want to set up. If you are running a blog, you will probably do fine using only free software, such as the ones found on the Free PHP Blogging Software page. However, if you have sufficient funds, you may want to choose the software not based on its price tag but on its features and whether it suits your needs. The above review is also relevant for people who want to set up a content management system, or "CMS", for your site. CMS software allows you to manage your website directly from a web browser without using a web editor. Free CMS scripts can be found on the Free Content Management Systems (CMS) PHP Scripts page. Whether you use blogging or CMS software, you will need an FTP client, a program that allows you to transfer files from your own computer to your web host's computer. There are many free FTP programs available. If you are making your own graphics for your website, you will probably need a program for designing and editing pictures too. At the very least, you will probably want to create a logo for your site. This can be done using free image editing programs or commercial tools like the famous Photoshop. A free tool will probably be more than sufficient for those creating the one-off image (like a site logo) for their websites. On the other hand, if graphic design is your forte, and you see yourself repeatedly creating graphics, or editing photos, then Photoshop may make your life easier in the long run. Advertising If you are selling goods or services on your site, you may also want to set some money aside for advertising. This is done by contacting the webmaster of that website and asking them if they're interested in advertising your site, and finding out their rates. Alternatively, you can also sign up as an advertiser in one of the many affiliate networks around. In conclusion, if you are on a shoestring budget, you can mostly get by with just buying a domain name and making do with free stuff for the rest. Your site may be inaccessible from time to time, and you may have to fight your web editor to get it to work the way you want, but for simple personal sites that are not selling anything and don't have to be always available, this shouldn't pose a substantial problem. Commercial sites, on the other hand, should work all the time and not having ?down times?.