So you’ve built an eLearning course – congratulations! Now, you want to give your learners access via the open web. (If you want to host it on an LMS, that’s a whole ‘nother topic!).
Maybe you’re building your portfolio, maybe you want the SME to review it, maybe you just really enjoy building tutorials and you want anyone to be able to complete them. This blog post is for you!
You could always zip everything together and upload it to Google Drive or Dropbox – but then your learners would have to download it, and that’s no good, and not only because of the enormous sizes possible with elearning, you can also spread computer viruses this way.
Web hosting is just to allow your tutorials to be made public – without an LMS, you won’t collect information about your learners or their progress, though you could set your tutorials to issue certificates of completion, or maybe you could add an option for results to be emailed to you, though that’s not a perfect solution either.
In any case, your free options for web hosting are limited, unfortunately! For stability and longevity, paying for web hosting is the way to go.
The Free Option (Amazon S3)
Check out this article on sharing your courses using Amazon’s web services. The first year of 5GB of hosting is free.
You may be interested in using this option to publish your files to the web so that you just provide a link and your learners can instantly view and complete your courses. This is also a nice option for a place to put your amazing work so that you can link it to your growing portfolios!
This option does take a bit of setup. You have to create an Amazon S3 account, download their software, and do some minor code editing.
But, once you’re done and your courses are uploaded, you just have to share a link and your learners/portfolio admirers are good to go!
The Pay Option (Web Hosting)
I use GoDaddy to host my website. I can’t remember how I chose GoDaddy! They were probably running a special. I’ve had a site now for a few years. But any major web host is basically the same – you can get a custom domain and server space. My website costs me about $145 a year (I pay extra (~20/yr) for private domain registration so that my home address isn’t published to the web).
Uploading elearning files can be a pain – I log into GoDaddy manually to upload my courses, but you can also use an FTP program like Filezilla.
A helpful web hosting provider will also give you tools for easily building a website – usually you can install WordPress with a click of a button (I use WordPress for my site), or it will have some other tool for creating a simple home page. I really like WordPress, it’s pretty easy to learn and you can choose from thousands of free themes to make your site look nice.
The features get much fancier for web hosts from there, depending on what you want out of your website. Some offer shopping cart functionality or other support for running advanced scripts and things, or for having a custom email address at your domain.
I found this helpful guide to choosing a web host. I’ve always been into coding simple websites and have taken a couple of web programming classes, so definitely consider your own comfort level when you look into service providers.
How do you host your courses?