There's really only two things that you need to have in order to publish a web site. The first is that you must have a web page. The second thing that is required is an someone to host your site.
A web site is nothing more than several web pages that are linked together. A site can actually just consist of one web page. Web pages can be created on your own computer and then transferred to your internet service provider. Some of the more popular programs for creating web pages are Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver . Many word processing and desktop publishing programs also provide any option to publish documents in web format. If you know enough you can even use Window's 'Notepad' program to create web pages.
Once you've created a page, you will then need to transfer it to the internet service provider, This is usually done by using a file transfer protocol (FTP) program. In some cases though programs have the capability to publish documents directly to the ISP. Microsoft bundles a web publishing "wizard" with most of their programs now. FrontPage uses it's own proprietary publishing protocol. Both the server and your computer must use the same protocol in order to publish.
The internet service provider that you choose will store the site and make it available 24 hours a day for all the world to see. Internet service providers offer a wide range of features and prices so it is very important to make sure that you understand what you need and what you do not. Some internet service providers provide programs that enable the user to create and modify web pages directly on their service. This may interest you if you don't have a program to design your own site with. ISP's also come in wide variety of price ranges from free (usually with mandatory advertising that must be shown with your page) to several hundred dollars. Check out some of these free providers on our links page.