Should You Host A Site On Google Drive?

MagicalRealms.net is hosted on Google Drive
I've been hosting HTML 'sub sites' on Google Drive for a while. The site in the picture above Magical Realms, is hosted on Google Drive. The video under the Video tab is hosted on Google Drive as well.  It's really not as new a concept as you might think. By using DNS, Sub domains, and other kiddie hack a-rounds, this has been available for a while. Just about anybody that had more than a cut and paste knowledge of "how the stuff works" could do it.  These directories were being used for sharing files and collaborating on documents. They weren't pretty, but they worked.  Because there has been so much interest in it lately, I decided to revisit it and see how difficult it was to make a more presentable site.  I would presume that for most people, the attraction would be to save the $10 a month hosting fees.  You can read the instructions here to see if it's worth it to you.  I'll do my best to stay away from all the blah blah and stick with easier instructions.  Just be aware that if you don't know how to upload files and folders to Google Drive, you need to learn that first. 

What's The First Step?

  1. Log in to your Google App account and go to Google Drive.
  2. Create a new folder in Google Drive, call it whatever you want, and share it as "Public on the web."  You can call it "website' if you want.  or 'mydomain.com' for a folder name. It doesn't matter. Just make it and share it. 
  3. Create a website in something like Dreamweaver, Notepad, or Coffee Cup.  It simply doesn't matter. Just make a site like you normally would and save it to a folder on your local machine. 
  4. Go to the folder you created in step 2 and open it.  
  5. Click on the arrow to upload FILES and browse to the directory you made in Step 3. Select all the files and upload them, but do not upload the folders. 
  6. Repeat step 5, but this time select all the 'folders' and upload them into the directory.
  7. After everything is uploaded, then open the 'index.html or home.html" file & you will see a "Preview" button in the toolbar. Click that and you will see how your site looks!
  8. That's it. Now you can just copy the URL to your site, and send it to people that you want to share it with.  Getting it to resolve to a domain name using cnames, dns, etc, would take more time than 5 minutes to read. If you know anything about forwarding though, you could just forward the domain to the address of the home page file. 

Is It Worth It?

It depends.  Some of the things that I like about it has to do with creating subscription based sites, that I want to have more control over who can see what's in the site.  You can go so far as limiting each page so that only specific people can see them. That interests me. 

Make It Easier For People To Upload Files

Another thing that interests me is the ability to very easily sync files and folders from you hard drive to "Drive". You can save a file to your hard drive, and it will sync to the site. This makes it very easy to setup something for a client so that they don't have to learn much.  As a developer I can subscribe to the folder and get notified when something changes.  This makes it very easy for the client. They can even record videos and get them automatically uploaded. That's important to me. 

What About Saving Money? 

Yeah. Well... I can sell you hosting for $3.99 a month. If you are doing it to save money, this is probably not the solution for you if you're going to have to pay some one to do it for you.

Thanks for reading this. I did my best to give a quick overview of how to do this. Please contact me if you have any question