Look at a LAMP environment for your server: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. PHP and MySQL are amazing pieces of software. It’s amazing what you can throw together quickly. Nothing is really hard, but making a site look good and be compatible with multiple browsers takes some work. Good security can be difficult, so if you are storing really critical info like CC card numbers that could be a target for hackers I’d suggest hiring someone to work with you on that part.
Also, look for competing sites that offer the same service.
If you’re coming from C, I imagine PHP would be the easiest transition that’s actually useful; the syntax is similar, there’s not too much emphasis on OO, it’s aimed squarely at the web - which will save you an enormous amount of programming time - and the performance is OK for a dynamic language.
On the other hand, I don’t like PHP much - it feels a bit too ad-hoc, with very little thought behind the larger library design, but then you should be familiar with that coming from C
Still, not a bad choice for a commercial site, if only because you can hire plenty of experienced staff if you need to, and the abundance of useful-for-the-web libraries.
How do you anticipate this working? If it’s a file transfer site, there won’t be any themed content, so you wouldn’t be able to have content-related ads. Your site is going to consume a fair bit of bandwidth, which could make it moderately costly to run… what makes you think this could be profitable?
I thought the OP was being coy with details for obvious reasons, but reading again, it looks like you have a point. There are plenty of file sharing/distributing sites already and most of them charge the frequent uploaders (and/or frequent downloaders) a fair penny for their trouble.
Sure - not trying to pry - it’s just that if you have a blog, there’s an opportunity for the ads to tie in with whatever your current theme happens to be. There are ad suppliers that will serve up lucrative ads that don’t require a themed setting, but you might have to be careful with some of those - the higher-paying ones might want to advertise content that may be out of keeping with your site, or offensive to your clientelle.
Very very few sites make enough money through ads to justify their cost.
I would also search out sites like GoDaddy and 1and1. I like 1and1.
Eventually you can run your own server, but 1and1 (and GoDaddy) can get the site up and you can even rent a dedicated server from them. This way you can ignore the logistics of running your own server and work on form and getting it running. You can always just cancel after 6 months to a year and run your own server if you like.
HTML and it’s variants (XHTML and HTML 5.0 [soon]) are the markup languages of websites. Get a book like *HeadFirst with HTML and CSS * by O’Reilly. If you know “C” then this book is very basic, but in two days you can get through the book and get a good idea HOW a basic website works. Then you expand into PHP (or other sever side languages.) PHP has the advantage of being open and a lot of people use it.
Check out Dynamic Drive this will give you an idea of templates and don’t forget to go into their forums as well. They are VERY helpful over there.
Get a domain name (1and1 or GoDaddy or another register)
Learn HTML for basic website structure
Learn CSS for formatting your HTML
Learn PHP (or ASP or other server side scripting) for Database operations
Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for getting site ranked
Learn about adversting with Google Adsense and others
You may be better off looking at a Content Management System that you can customise/modify to deliver your web solution, while hopefully many of the security aspects will be addressed in the core CMS. Many CMSs will have prebuilt advertising modules.
Good luck - you will probably have a steep learning curve.