DIY: Build your website easily with Fantastico scripts

Are you a small shop that doesn't have the budget to build a web site the normal way? Here's a tool that can make it much easier, and much cheaper, to do it yourself.

If you are a small business or even a solo operator, you shouldn't have to miss out on an on-line presence. But many mom and pop shops or sole proprietors do miss out on this for fear of the cost associated with having web sites built. If you fall into this category, you don't have to lose either your budget or your hairline, thanks to tools like Fantastico.

But what is Fantastico? This particular tool is a set of very powerful scripts that allow you, through Control Panels like cPanel, install various web site infrastructures such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, and Xooops. Fantastico can also help you build e-commerce sites with ease.

What's the catch? The "catch" is have to have a web server with cPanel (or another control panel) installed. Purchasing a cPanel license can be costly (approximately $450.00 per license, per year). Since DIY is in the spirit of low cost, how do we get around that? Simple: We find hosting providers that offer cPanel-based web admin tools. They are plentiful, but I have found one in particular that is low cost, has cPanel, and also has Fantastico pre-installed for ease of use. That host is Verve Hosting. Verve Hosting offers inexpensive plans that include database and solid support. But what's more important is the tools they offer their users. Of course, one of those tools is Fantastico. Let's take a look at how it's used to help you get that site you've dreamed of for your small business.

After you log onto your cPanel you will find the Fantastico icon in the Software section (see Figure A). Click on that icon to take you to the Fantastico tool.

Figure A

Depending upon the host you use, starting Fantastico might be done from a different location.

Once you are in the Fantastico Control Panel (see Figure B), you will immediately see just how many doors this tool can open for you. From this control panel you can create the following sites:

And much more.

Figure B

When you have a system installed, it will be listed under location. You can also upgrade the installed system by clicking the update link associated with the system.

I will walk you through the process of installing a Drupal web site to illustrate how it is using Fantastico. Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the Drupal listing in the left navigation.
  2. Click the New Install link.
  3. Enter the appropriate information for the installation (see Figure C.) The necessary information will vary depending upon the tool, but for the most part you only need the location of the install, admin username, and admin password.
  4. Click the Install button.

That's it!

Figure C

As you can see, the Drupal install is incredibly simple considering the end results.

After the installation is complete you will be given a link for the new site admin page which you can click on, log in, and begin creating the content for your site.

I have used Fantastico to set up countless web sites from ecommerce, to portals, to galleries, and more. Fantastico has never let me down with the installation process.

Final thoughts

For the DIY owner or administrator, nothing can beat getting a professional-looking website designed inhouse and on the cheap. With a hosting service that offers Fantastico, you're already miles ahead of most other small shops. And what's best, if you want to walk through the process of installing different sites, Fantastico will allow it. You can even install multiple sites using the same (or different) tools on one server. Just make sure, if you are going to install more than one site, you do not install the new sites on top of the others.

Fantastico is one of the finest tools to get a professional looking web-site up fast. The DIY at heart will really appreciate this tool.