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How to Host a Website [Step-By-Step Instructions]

Written by, Dimitar F

Updated April, 17, 2022

Did you know that most internet users are from Asia? However, North America stays at the top when it comes to hosting providers. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is nearly 10.3%

Are you ready to learn how to host a website? You’ll find everything you need to know in this article. I’ll explain how web hosting works, and you’ll start working on it in no time. 

What Does Hosting a Website Entail?

Web hosting allows website owners to post their websites on the internet. The service provider has all the technologies needed for posting web content online so that users can view it online.

Web hosting is essential if you want to store your website on a secure web server. The web host fights viruses and threats online to keep your server safe. Also, when you host a web server, it determines the amount of stored data. Besides, it affects how much traffic your website can handle at once. A good host can manage heavy traffic without shutting down your website. 

Another reason you need a reliable web host is that the service provider offers helpful customer support. If your website ever runs into any issues, your hosting provider will resolve them. 

How to Host a Website

Now that you know what hosting a website means and why it’s vital, the next question is how to get it. Don’t worry. We’ll go through all the steps you need to host a website successfully.

1. Buy a Domain Name

A domain name is an IP address alternative. Simply put, it’s the name people use to search for your website online. It’s easier to remember and gives your webpage a unique identity.

To buy a domain, you need to first come up with a name. Make sure it’s catchy, concise, and in line with your web page’s niche. Anyone who reads it should automatically understand what your webpage is about. The next step is to confirm the name availability. Since there are so many websites on the internet, someone might already have the one you like. 

After confirming the name, you’ll be ready to buy a domain. You can do that from a domain registrar or a web hosting provider. Many popular web hosting providers offer free domain names if you get their services. 

After making the purchase, you need to register the domain name so that no one else can use it. You can save it for 1 to 10 years based on your requirements. When you do, don’t forget to check for a confirmation email.

2. Choose Between Static and Dynamic Website

Before you learn how to host your own website, you first need to decide whether its infrastructure will be dynamic or static. Here’s what you need to know about that:

  • Static Website: Users’ delivered content doesn’t change until the coding changes. A static website is helpful if your target audience doesn’t have to change needs. “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Privacy Policy” are some examples of pages on a static website. These are HTML pages. 
  • Dynamic Website: A dynamic website changes constantly based on the user’s location and preferences. If you plan on creating an ecommerce website, a dynamic website may be the ideal choice. It allows you to post blogs regularly on your website. Also, it reminds customers about completing their purchases in abandoned carts. Generally, client-side scripts are used in dynamic websites for a better user experience. 

There are also website models that use a combination of dynamic and static web pages. 

Alternatively, you can use some of the most popular website creation tools to design the whole site, and you won’t have to worry about hosting services because they’re included in all packages.

3. Choose a Hosting Provider

After selecting your website type, the next step is to pick a hosting provider. But with so many options, how do you decide on a web hosting service? Consider the following:

  • Website Requirements: One of the most important things is the essential requirement of your website. For instance, an ecommerce website needs high security and bandwidth. But speed would be a priority for a photography website. 
  • Server Reliability: Your web hosting provider should have reliable web servers to ensure 100% uptime. Your website files running on the server-side should be available to users all the time. But not all providers offer 24/7 uptime, so be sure to check this requirement before deciding.
  • User-Friendliness: Your control panel should be user-friendly. Generally, host providers offer cPanel, which is easy to use. However, some might provide custom control panels for an even better user experience. 
  • Customer Support: Although you can create a web hosting server at home, the main reason why website owners opt for service providers is because of their customer support. Make sure your provider is responsive to your queries. Comprehensive support can make the web host invaluable for your business if you ever run into issues. 

4. Choose a Hosting Plan

Hosting a web server involves choosing a hosting plan. Based on your website’s size, you can select from the following hosting plans:

  • Shared: Shared hosting allows multiple websites to be stored on the same server. It’s ideal for small businesses that want to cut back on web hosting costs.
  • Managed: The service provider leases servers and hardware to the customer. This hosting plan also includes server and hardware maintenance. 
  • VPS: Virtual private server hosting is similar to shared hosting, but it can handle heavy traffic. 
  • WordPress: WordPress hosting has been designed to meet the WordPress security and performance requirements. 
  • Dedicated: It’s used by enterprise-level businesses where your website uses an entire server. It allows more control and advanced user options. 
  • Cloud: Cloud hosting allows you to spread your data across a wide geographical area using multiple interconnected servers that exist in a virtual environment. 

5. Change Domain Name Server (DNS)

To learn how to host your own website, you should know how to change the DNS.

When a domain name is entered into the web browser, it sends a request to the domain name server, forwarding it by searching for the nameserver associated with it. When switching to a web hosting provider, you need to change the domain name server.

Service providers have different methods for changing the domain name, but they all follow the same basic steps. These include:

  • Log into your web hosting account.
  • Locate the Domain menu and click on My Domains.
  • Select the domain name you want to work with.
  • Go to the DNS Server Settings.
  • Select Our Servers options to choose the supplier’s name servers. If your service provider has that particular feature, you can even customize the name. Click on Custom to create your DNS address.

6. Upload Website Content

An FTP client is a program used to transfer files over the internet. Whenever you need to upload website content online, you’ll have to use this software. 

Here are all the steps you need to follow:

  • Using your FTP client program, connect your subscription to the server. You’ll need your FTP username and password for this step.
  • Next, you can upload all the files and directories to the HTTP-docs directory. Upload on the CGI-bin directory if you’re using a CGI script. 
  • End your FTP session.

Why You Should Have Paid Hosting

When you’re wondering, “Where should I host my website?” a free platform might seem appealing. However, there are many drawbacks to having a free web host. For starters, your website will display ads, and their profits won’t go into your pocket. 

What’s more, your web host provider might even add their logos and watermarks on templates, which will let people know that your content isn’t entirely yours. Also, free web hosting doesn’t provide comprehensive customer support. If you ever run into any issues, you’ll have to wait several hours or even days before you get a proper response.

Another drawback of free web hosting is its limited features and bandwidth. Once your business starts expanding and you get more traffic on your webpage, you’ll need access to more advanced features. In this case, paid hosting would be a feasible option.

Conclusion

Finding the best way to host a website is crucial if you want people to reach your website easily. The right service providers can boost your online presence by creating an excellent website. To host a website, you first need to purchase a domain name. After that, you have to choose the website design between static, dynamic, or both. 

The next step is choosing a hosting provider and selecting a hosting plan based on your website’s requirements. Once you have a provider, you need to change the domain name to align it with them. Lastly, you have to upload your content online using an FTP client program. 

FAQ

How can I host my own website?

You can host your own website using a virtual private server if you know how coding works. And if you’re not an expert, you can always learn. But remember, if you ever run into any issues, there won’t be any customer support you can turn to. 

How can I host my website for free?

Yes, it’s possible to host your website using free web hosting services. But that has many drawbacks, including limited features and lack of customer support. Plus, the service will likely put ads on your website. 

How do I host my first website?

If you want to know how to host a website, you should start by buying a domain name. After that, you can choose a web hosting provider and select a suitable plan for your web pages. Once you’re done, just change the DNS and start uploading content online.