Building a website used to be a complicated affair. Getting to grips with constructing a site was best left to the professionals. Thankfully, things have got a lot simpler and, these days, almost anyone can carve out their own slice of cyberspace.

This article appears in the February 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.

Driven in no small part by the appearance of sites such as MySpace, online personal web spaces are now common. And there is a healthy number of newcomers joining the revolution daily.

Such is the accessibility of these sites that many of the MySpace generation are beginning to rub against the limitations of the online profiles they create. More sophisticated users are creating their own websites, with MySpace profiles merely acting as a link to them.

There is no shortage of options if you want to try out a more hands-on method of production. Your ISP probably allocates you a generous amount of space to fill, while web host 1&1 Internet offers cost-effective solutions.

In this month's magazine we've used 1&1's Home hosting package, which comes with a free domain name, and created a simple and stylish site. This allows you to personalise your website and makes it easier to find than if it was simply detailed in your profile and buried among other pages.

Domain names provide independence from whoever is hosting a website. If the site chooses to change the hosting company, users can still type in the same URL.

But perhaps the most attractive feature of specialist hosting sites such as 1&1 is their simplicity. You can churn out a slick-looking website in a matter of hours which, when coupled with a domain name, creates a more professional feel. Thus it has become an increasingly popular showcase for the work of small businesses and freelancers.