How to Build a Social Network Website from Scratch

Did you know that almost every person on our planet is a user of at least five types of social networking sites? Facebook alone, the most popular social network website, has 2.375 billion users.

That is why developing a social network website often comes to the minds of entrepreneurs when they look at these astounding numbers.

Why Invest in Social Network Development

The number of active users of social networks websites has already surpassed 3.499 billion. In comparison, the whole internet has 4.4 billion users, and the vast majority of them are active on social media. The average person has 8.5 social media accounts and spends 142 minutes a day engaging with them.

In case you are still hesitant about building a social network from scratch, below are some benefits of doing so. Here is what you will be able to do as a result:

  • reach a larger number of users
  • give users access to a network platform from their laptop or PC
  • easily scale networking web site as the number of users grows
  • provide an exceptional user experience and allow them to use it from the device of their choice

How to Build а Social Network From Scratch: Decide on the Type

Social media networks are created with different purposes in mind. While some of them are designed for user interaction, others provide useful information and unite users based on their interests. Choosing the type of content that will meet the needs of your target users helps to decide what website to build.

Generally, social network services are categorized into the main types that are presented below:

  1. Media sharing websites (e.g. YouTube and Flickr)

2. Business and professional sites (e.g. LinkedIn and Glassdoor)

3. Informational sites (e.g. Reddit or Quora)

4. Educational websites (e.g. Student Room and the Math forum)

5. Hobby networks (numerous)
6. Academic websites (e.g. ResearchGate and Academia.edu

7. Social networks (e.g. Facebook and Twitter)

8. Dating platforms (e.g. Match.com)

The table provides some insight into what features are unique to each of them.

How to Make a Social Network Website Step-by-Step

We have comprised an in-depth guide to create a social media website from scratch step-by-step.

1. Select your concept

The following questions can help you with this challenging task to stand out from the crowd:

  • What unique features will make your network different from competitors?
  • What is the main idea behind the website?
  • What value can you offer to the user?

2. Choose your target audience

3. Set up your strategy

4. Select and hire web development vendor

5. Start your website project with Discovery stage (Product backlog & UX/UI design)

6. Develop your social media website

7. Think about marketing and promotion

8. Consider ongoing maintenance and support

Technical Background to Build a Social Network Website

Front-end development — this part includes all elements that are visible to the end-user. It utilizes such technologies as:

  • Programing languages: JavaScript, ES6+, Typescript
  • Markup languages: HTML5, CSS3, Sass, Stylus
  • JavaScript frameworks: Angular, React, Vue, etc.

Back-end development — the server-side, where all of the main features of a website operate. The tech stack includes:

  • Programming languages: Ruby, Elixir
  • Frameworks: Ruby on Rails, Phoenix
  • Database servers: PostgreSQL, MySQL
  • Web servers: Nginx, Apache
  • Cloud server platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS, EC2, S3, etc.)

Below, you can see the main functionality that should be included in social network web development.

  • User authorization — should be user-friendly and offer various options, i.e. authorization with social media, email, phone number, etc.
  • Profile — should contain personal data, may have a set of parameters, sections and tabs
  • Feed — users can see posts and other content in their timeline
  • Posts — gives users the ability to share content with others in the form of posts
  • Search — a full text search option that allows searching information, other users, etc.
  • Activity stream — all activities are taken in the social network by users
  • Status update features — the ability to set and change personal statuses
  • Chat — a place where users can participate in discussions or exchange personal messages
  • Files exchange — feature that allows exchanging media content like photos, videos, etc.
  • Friends/connections — the most important feature that lays the foundation for all social networking websites. It allows users to find friends and set connections.
  • Notifications — real-time notifications about main activities
  • Analytics — can be implemented both for users, so that they could track their own activity, and for website owners to track the activity of users
  • Admin panel — provides the ability to moderate the community, prevent spamming, harassing, etc.

Other important tech aspects to consider when you are thinking to create a social network website are as follows:

  • Mobile — a must-have for all social networks. It is important to make your website mobile responsive so that users can use it on the device of their choosing.
  • Hosting — choose an operator that will provide dedicated channels that will be able to withstand heavy loads.
  • Security aspects — as social networks store personal information, messages, photos and videos for users, ensuring a high level of security is vital.
  • Scalability — project architecture should be set up in the early stages. It is important to make it scalable so that you will not encounter problems in the future with the growth of the social network website.

Advice from Experts to Make a Social Media Website

The following checklist will help you with developing a social media website and bring it to life in the shortest time period:

  • Research what is important for your target audience
  • Develop interaction features
  • Provide features and tools that will help to create great content
  • Include push notifications
  • Go for mobile responsiveness or even make a social media app

This is a summary of an article. Check out more details and recommendations for developing your own social network in the complete article on our blog.

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