Despite the considerable advances that the free software has made in the last years in its «market share» in different fields in informatics, only in a few of this fields free software has the supremacy. One of these is the field of web servers.
Sure enough, Apache, a free web server, is one of the most used and, probably, free software alternatives in conjoint are more used than its privative equivalences. Free software has proved that is the best alternative to manage the software that servers needed, but free software also provides good tools to compose them.
In fact, it is possible to build almost any kind of website using free software. Those people who were accustomed to use visual publishers to build webpages, such as Dreamweaver, will be happy to know the existence of kompoZer. Mozilla created an application to create webs as easily as write a rich text document. This application was named Mozilla Composer and was integrated in the Internet suite that now is known as Mozilla Seamonkey. This software package is no longer maintained by Mozilla, but for a community of developers that forked it, and so Mozilla Composer is not currently being updated at all.
Then, Linspire, a free software company, sponsored a sort of continuation of the Mozilla Composer, that was named NVU. NVU neither has been updated since September of 2006, so a group of programmers has made kompoZer, that basically is a new version made from the last published version of NVU with the correction of all the bugs that they found. In spite of all the problems in the long development progress, kompoZer is a very useful tool to create simple websites without HTML knowledge, and is good to edit them without complications.
Nowadays, however, many users are looking for something a bit more complex. Such as a blog software. There are several alternatives that allow to make blogs easily, some of them were created many years ago, are very mature and have a lot of support in forums because a lot of people are using them (such as WordPress); other just begin its development (such as Gesbit); others were privative and have switched to free software (such as MovableType). Between all these, we will focus the comment in WordPress, cause it is perhaps the most used.
Once installed, WordPress allows you to manage a blog and it is simple and comfortable. It Includes an intuitive administration dashboard to such effect. Any detail has been covered by the programmers: there is an option to upload and manage images easily, to include links to other blogs, to order categories for posts, etc. Also it is possible to write «Pages», that is to say, entries that are not in chronological order, for example the legal warning, the prvacity policy or other texts that have to be permanent visible.
You can also use free software if you look for even more complete solutions. For example, if we want to create a website for an association, probably we will need to include a forum, a place to upload documents, a space for news, etc. It’s not necessary to say that developing all this from the very beginning would be outrageous. We can use free software alternatives that already exists, for example PHP-Nuke, PostNuke, Drupal or Joomla.
PHP-Nuke Is free software that allows the creation of «portals» or «spaces for communities» very easily. Once installed, it has got an internal searcher, news, documents and articles module, a forum and a basic stats service (among another things). All his functionalities are expansible thanks to its modular structure and to the quantity of free modules that can be found on the internet.
From PHP-Nuke was developed PostNuke, a software with strength similitudes and some differences, such as a more complex system of permission management to users (the systems of permission management is used to specify who can see each content). So the security is improved.
Besides these alternatives commented, Drupal and Joomla are programs that also can be used for this same task, very mature and with a big community, which has allowed them grow in popularity recently. As of today, when Drupal and Joomla are probably more used than PHP-Nuke and PostNuke.
However, maybe you need only a complement for your web, such as a forum (no a complete solution for communities like those that we already have commented) or any tool that allow you to edit texts collaboratively, such as happens in Wikipedia. The software will allow you to do this, respectively, phpBB and MediaWiki.
phpBB is the ideal tool to made a forum. The administrator can choose if it is necessary that the visitors register to take part in discussions and, in general, can select the options that believes most convenient from a very extensive list of options. The participants can attach to their contributions a small text or photos as a footer, that helps to identify them.
MediaWiki is the software that is used by the Wikipedia and, therefore, one of the best alternatives to write texts collaboratively. It includes control tools to ensure that amongst the people who take part in the writing process, there is always good faith and no malicious user damages the work.
You will need neither privative software to edit your graphics for your web: with GIMP or Krita free image editors you will do a good job. To sum up: they are many high-quality free tools that can serve to make websites.