How to Build a Free Auction Website

By Mario McDaniel

Auction sites such as eBay have revolutionized the way we buy and sell products on the Internet. Now you can use the same principles to set up your own business or run a free community auction site. It is possible to build a reliable auction site in the comfort of your own home without incurring any added expense.

Step 1

Select a free auction script that provides the features you seek. A good place to start looking is the Hot Scripts database see Resources.) The two more popular scripts are EverySoft EveryAuction and Phpauction GPL (also in Resources). Web programmers are continuously publishing free versions of web software, so you may be able to find new ones regularly. The features that may be deal-breakers for you are ease of use, expandability and (very often) the ability to charge customers. Make sure you read the features and requirements of each script before choosing one over another.

Step 2

Find a place to install your script. Based on the requirements of the script you chose, you will need to find a host to install that script and run the website from. Using the Free Host Search Engine (see Resources), begin searching for a host that fits your needs. Most scripts will require either a server with CGI and Perl or a PHP language format, and all of them will require that you have database access. You will have more flexibility among other attributes, such as storage space and bandwidth--especially in the beginning, when your site traffic is still small. Look into all the guidelines of each prospective host, as many of them will require you to have a banner ad or some other form of advertising on your website. If this is an issue for you, look for a different host.

Step 3

Install your script. Most of scripts today are quite simple to install; the process could merely involve a simple upload and logging in. Regardless, follow the instructions that come with your script and the instructions on your hosting website.

Step 4

Individualize your site. Once you have installed your auction website, log in as an administrator and tweak all the settings to your liking. You will be able to change the site's logo, name and even color scheme. Other options often include picture uploads and the length of listings. Go through each step to make sure the site functions the way you'd like it to. You may also want to set up your site to accept payments. If so, look in the Payment section and see which forms are accepted. Most scripts will accept payments through Pay Pal, in which event you will have to open a free account with them (see Resources).

Step 5

Promote your site. Now that your site is up and running, make sure you submit it to search engines. The easiest way to do so is to use a multi-search-engine submission tool like Submit Express (Submitexpress.com). Submitting your site into search engines will allow users to find it more easily.