How to Build a Website
The main factor that determines how to build a genealogy website is cost. To create a genealogy website for free requires a GEDCOM file to be exported from Family Historian (fh) and uploaded to one of several online services that present the family tree. Otherwise, an online website hosting service must be bought, and a suitable utility used to create the website pages, some of which are free but others must be purchased.
Other factors to consider are privacy of personal data, copyright of media images, how often the website will be updated, the size of the database, and your computer literacy.
This is not only the cheapest, but also the least challenging method. Simply use the Export Gedcom File Plugin for your chosen website service and follow its advice for uploading the Gedcom file. They all offer various ways of handling privacy of data, uploading media images, and restricting access to nominated users.
In alphabetical order, the following list summarises popular website services:
- Ancestry.com ~ no subscription ~ uploads media individually ~ Age, Address & Note fields are not supported
- Find My Past ~ no subscription ~ uploads media individually or via zip file ~ Age field is not supported
- RootsWeb WorldConnect ~ uploads media automatically?
- TribalPages ~ many data fields are not supported
- ZoomPast ~ novel zooming display ~ uploads media individually ~ Address field is not supported
In the past it was common for some free web space to be included with your home Broadband & Email package, but that is now rare. So a web space & hosting service must be rented from one of the many service providers. The details of how much space and data transfer capacity will depend on the size of the tree and how often it will be visited. The service provider will also offer to register a unique web domain name such as www.joebloggs.org that carries a small biannual fee. See How to Upload Web Pages for further advice.
A free or bought website utility must be used to create the website pages. Most of them require at least a reasonable understanding of computer technology and typically need more time to achieve satisfactory results than the Free Websites above.
Free Website Utilities
The most obvious free utility is the Publish > Create a Website wizard in fh. For advice on its usage and the associated Improve Website or CD DVD HTML Plugin see how to Make a Family Tree CD/DVD or Website.
Some free utilities are summarised below, but most are rather dated and may not work well with fh V6.
- Utility ~ GedMill converts Gedcom into static web pages.
- Utility ~ GedReporter converts Gedcom into reports and static web pages.
- Utility ~ PhpGedView is donationware that converts Gedcom into dynamic web pages.
- Utility ~ WordPress can convert Gedcom into static web pages and design other website pages.
- Utility Webtrees is a 'fork' of PhpGedView that converts Gedcom into dynamic web pages.
It is likely that a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) utility will be needed to upload web page files to the website, but there are several good free versions. Alternatively, the FTP Website Manager Plugin will do the job.
Bought Website Utilities
Some paid for utilities are summarised below.
- Utility ~ GedSite converts Gedcom into static web pages that must be uploaded to the website. It supports most data fields, and Media files, plus narrative Sentence Templates.
- Utility ~ The Next Generation (TNG) uploads Gedcom into dynamic web pages. It supports most data fields, Place records, and Media files. It is used by many fh users.