How to Host a Website

How to Host a Website? 3 Easy Steps.

1. Buy a domain name
Any website needs a name. Therefore, the first step is to register a domain name for your future website. The name of the website will become its permanent address where users can find it on the Internet. A unique domain name can be registered through an accredited company or purchased from the current owner.

2. Select a hosting provider and a hosting plan
With a domain name, you need to think about choosing a reliable hosting provider. Hosting services allow you to host your website on the supplier's server and eventually make it available to the whole world. Domain name registrars often offer web hosting services as well, e.g. Namecheap. But you can also use a domain name and hosting from different providers.

3. Choose a hosting plan
Choosing a hosting type is an important step in the process of hosting your website. There are five main types of hosting solutions: Shared, Managed WordPress, VPS, Dedicated Server, and Reseller. Choose a hosting based on the tasks that you plan to solve. For small personal blogs, business card websites, freelance portfolios, and smaller-sized companies - Shared Hosting is the best choice to start your journey. VPS and Dedicated Servers can be excellent solutions for online stores, digital service providers, and highly-loaded information resources. These plans offer a high level of control and ensure that computing resources are allocated to a customer’s exclusive needs.


Why you need web hosting

When it comes to hosting your website on the web, a hosting service is the first thing that gets in your way. The hosting service itself is easiest to compare with renting space for your store or shop window. The name of your website (domain name) resolves with the server address where your website is stored, such as the address book of your city that contains the addresses of stores or other public places. The only difference is that when the user enters the name of your website into the address bar of their browser, they are instantly sent to your website, and your hosting provider provides the resources you saved to display the requested page. 

Due to the fact that the concept of web services has been rapidly evolving over the past decade, the field of web hosting has evolved greatly and today it provides a huge selection of various solutions for any requests and needs. These so-called “bundled offerings” differ in the technology used for the server, the level of control offered, the traffic quotas, and the resources. In a competitive environment, hosting providers try to create solutions that are ready-to-use for any customer and meet any budget. However, you can’t get everything for a penny. That being said, anyone today can find a suitable website hosting option for themselves without spending too much on a service that you do not need. 

Hosting providers simplify and help their clients with all the preparatory stages and do everything so that you do not abandon your idea because of initial problems. Later in this article we will discuss how to choose the right type of web hosting for you and will introduce you to other details and additional services that any reliable hosting provider has.

Step-by-step website hosting instructions

Follow these instructions and in just four steps, you'll have a hosted website for everyone to view online.

1. Buy a domain name

In order for your hosting service to start working, you need to register a domain name. The vast majority of hosting providers will help you purchase a domain name. By purchasing a domain name and hosting plan in a bundle, you’re often looking at a better price than buying separately.

There are also hosting companies that do not offer domain name registration services. In this case, you need to purchase the domain name from another registrar.

It is worth remembering that a joint purchase greatly simplifies the process of further customization. This option should be considered for beginners in order to avoid the need for additional settings.

2. Choose a web hosting service provider

The next step is choosing a web hosting company. This is an important step because, in order to have your website available on the Internet, you need a place to host it. Although you can self-host (which we'll come to later) this space is commonly provided by a web hosting/web host provider. To choose the right hosting provider for your website, there are a few important aspects to consider, which we'll discuss next.

How do I choose a web host?

There are lots of factors involved in choosing a web host. There are hundreds of hosting providers available, ranging from local outfits to national providers, like Namecheap. All differ in terms of the price and the services they offer.

Web hosting incorporates more than just making your website available online. Hosting providers also offer other indispensable services, such as technical assistance, firewall protection, email services, domain name registration, and more.

The best way to judge a good host isn't on price. You'll never know whether you need to spend $20 versus $200 a month unless you know your website's technical requirements. What follows are tips on the features a web host provides. Consider the specifications your website might have, as well as other features you may need, in order to factor into your hosting selection.

Hosting Server Reliability & Uptime
  • Uptime Guarantee
    First things first, you want to make sure your website is available 24/7/365. The last thing you want your visitors to see is a blank screen when they type in your address into their browser. Look for a hosting provider with an uptime guarantee of 99.5% or above. If you plan on running a small website with modest traffic levels, uptime might never be an issue. However, if your website grows, uptime is incredibly important so you can avoid any downtime or upgrade complications.
  • Redundancy
    When a small website goes down due to hosting provider problems, it might bounce back unaffected. When downtime happens to a business that relies on their website as their main source of income, this can result in revenue loss. So when a hosting provider offers "redundancy," this simply means they'll compensate a website if an outage occurs as a result of server issues on their side.
Technical Specifications (Tech Specs)
  • Database Type
    The most common type of database used by WordPress and other content management systems (CMS) is MySQL. Some websites require other databases, such as SQLite, so check what type your website needs first and then see if it's available with your respective hosting provider. When using WordPress, databases can be easily managed by using plugins like WP Reset.
  • Bandwidth Offering
    Bandwidth is an indicator of the amount of data (or traffic) that has been transferred between the website and users during the customer’s interaction with your resource. To determine what type of hosting you need, think about what your website will be like. If you plan to rely on media materials, e.g. video clips, audio recordings, or even intend to broadcast to your audience in real time, you should definitely consider plans with a higher bandwidth quota of up to 150 GB per month. Website owners who rely mainly on text content and use additional platforms to store their podcasts, movies and images, in most cases, a basic 10 GB will be enough.
  • Scalability
    When thinking about hosting needs of your website, don’t forget about your future goals and prospects. Any smart project or business venture comes to a point when the limits of the purchased hosting plan simply starts to be insufficient. Make sure to pay attention to the hosting provider's tools to increase capacity of the current plan or move to another type of hosting, without additional complications or added fees.
  • Accessibility
    Accessibility simply means that the hosting provider is equipped with the tools necessary to manage and configure your hosting plan. Many hosting providers use cPanel to manage their customers’ accounts. This popular and reliable dashboard is an industry standard, allowing you to manage your databases, monitor and customize backups or emails, and more. If your chosen hosting provider does not provide a control panel with your hosting plan, this means you’ll be left to do the technical heavy lifting.
Hosting Support
  • Customer Service
    Hosting is a rather complex product. A lot of things can happen behind the scenes and are invisible to ordinary users. That is why 24/7 support is a huge advantage for any hosting provider. The ability to get help from your provider, at any time, and in a form that’s convenient for you (chat, correspondence, phone call to hotline) should be considered as a very important factor when choosing a hosting plan.
Security Measures and Add-ons
  • SSL Certificates
    If you want to protect your visitors' security and/or you plan on collecting credit card information and processing online transactions, you'll need an SSL certificate. Now a key component in Google's ranking algorithm, if you want to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standing, an SSL certificate improves your chances. Some hosting providers, like Namecheap, provide SSL certificates for free, depending on the chosen hosting plan.
  • Backups
    Why perform a backup yourself when your hosting provider can take care of them for you? In case the unexpected happens and your website gets attacked by hackers or your computer system shuts down, it's best to run regular backups to have a recent version of your website to revert back to. Solid hosting providers offer backups every 24 hours, so in the rare event that something goes wrong, you'll be in safe hands. Namecheap's Shared Hosting customers (Stellar and Stellar Plus) can now enjoy the free AutoBackup tool.
  • Email Service
    If you'd like to have an email address from your hosting provider, make sure to check that email service is offered from your hosting provider. Most hosting plans, no matter the provider, include email with unlimited accounts. It's always best to double-check, though, that they provide enough for what you need.

Now we’ve covered the basic types of services you can expect from a web host. Getting these benefits from one place will save you time and money, so before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to get a clear picture of what you will receive in your service plan.

Questions to ask yourself

Picking the right web host is easy if you know what your website needs from a host. To help with that, ask yourself the following questions.

What type of website am I building?

Different types of websites come with different technical requirements. For example, a WordPress website will have different technical requirements than a static HTML website. First and foremost, think about how your website is going to be built. You'll then be more familiar with things like the coding languages and databases your web host needs to work with.

Do I need email hosting?

We've discussed the benefits of setting up email addresses associated with the domain name of your new website. It would be a shame to miss out on this by overlooking whether your web host provides email hosting that fits your needs.

How much data will I be storing and serving?

The bandwidth you'll require from your web host is not just a matter of traffic; it also depends on the file loading size of the webpages. If your website is packed with data-heavy pages, the more storage and bandwidth you'll need your web host to have. On the other hand, a predominantly text-oriented site, such as a personal blog, will need a smaller amount of storage space and less bandwidth, while a photographic gallery with lots of high-quality images will need larger amounts.

How much traffic do I expect?

Most likely your traffic will start pretty low but, if you plan to build it up to higher levels, you'll need a flexible plan where you can increase your bandwidth capacity as time goes on.

What is my hosting budget?

Think of a ballpark idea of how much you can afford to spend on hosting. If your budget is limited, your service might not include all the bells and whistles. If your budget is a bit more flexible, you might get some extra perks, such as free SSL.

How technically proficient am I?

The beauty of the Internet these days is that it's possible for anyone, no matter their expertise, to set up a website. Certain types of website management tasks will require a bit more experience. If you don't have the experience to administrate your server, leave it to the professionals and use a fully-managed web hosting service where everything is done for you. If your website creation plans relate to a personal blog or a small business,  Managed WordPress Hosting like Namecheap’s EasyWP is a solid option. 

3. Choose a web hosting plan

Now that you're up to speed on some of the features web hosts offer, it's time to choose a hosting plan to bring your website online. When you browse between various web host's products you'll see five main packages on offer: Shared, Reseller, Dedicated Server, VPS, and Managed WordPress. Let's outline briefly what each of these hosting types are.

Shared (Website) Hosting

More or less considered the "entry-level" of hosting, Shared Hosting is when you and other customers are given access to one physical server so you're essentially sharing or "renting" the same key resources (e.g. CPU, RAM, disk space, etc.). And, because you're not paying for the full server costs – only the parts you're using – the price is super affordable.

Advantages
  • Cheapest hosting available (Stellar Shared Hosting from Namecheap starts at $1.44/month)
  • Ideal for any first-time, low-traffic, or low-bandwidth website
  • Requires minimal tech expertise
  • Easy to set up (the Softaculous app instantly installs any CMS like WordPress)
  • Includes a free Website Builder with a drag-and-drop interface
  • Includes 50 free Positive SSL Certificates (first year only)
  • Automatic backups
Disadvantages
  • Has specific LVE limits (may be not enough for high-traffic websites)
  • Limited amount of storage space
  • Website performance can fluctuate, depending on other customers' usage levels

Shared Hosting is the most popular type of hosting because it's cheap and easy to set up. It's ideal for any brand new, low-traffic and low-bandwidth website.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Unlike the other hosting options we've discussed so far, EasyWP Managed WordPress Hosting from Namecheap is ready to go within just a few minutes. With other types of web hosting, there's a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to install WordPress (or another CMS) and managing the technical aspects. Not so with Easy WP – its 30-second, one-click installation takes care of everything for you. Particularly appealing to both tech novices and more experienced developers alike, EasyWP is easy to use, but also offers a huge range of themes and plugins to customize your website to your heart's content.

EasyWP is powered by Namecheap's cloud platform, which is the latest cloud technology optimized 100% for WordPress. Fully containerized, Namecheap’s cloud has 99.9% uptime and its speed is up to 3X faster than a standard WordPress website on a traditional Shared Hosting server.

Advantages
  • Easy setup – ready to use at just the click of a button
  • Faster than WordPress websites that use traditional Shared Hosting
  • Quickly manage all your WordPress websites from one dashboard with a single login
  • Easy migration service
Disadvantages
  • Less control over the technical side of your website and server management and may not appeal to more advanced users

EasyWP Managed WordPress Hosting is the perfect option for those who don't want to be so hands-on with the technical side of the running of their WordPress website. With its single dashboard and easy-to-use interface, you can focus on learning how to use WordPress itself and producing quality content.

VPS Hosting

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is somewhere between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting when it comes to price and performance. Consider it the next best thing to having your own Dedicated Server, since a VPS is almost as good as having a private server. A VPS, in essence, divides a single server into separate virtual servers. Similar to Shared Hosting, there are multiple customers (websites) running on the same servers, but with a VPS, the number is far, far fewer and you have dedicated resources at your disposal. Similar to a Dedicated Server, with a VPS, you'll have to take care of technical tasks related to your server.

Advantages
  • Solid and reliable performance
  • Cheaper than a Dedicated Server
  • Customizable server setup
  • Enough storage space and bandwidth to power data-heavy, busy websites
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than Shared Hosting
  • Requires technical knowledge if you go with a self-managed VPS plan

VPS is popular among website owners who need more storage and bandwidth than Shared Hosting offers. A VPS user might find Dedicated Server Hosting above and beyond their needs regarding price and flexibility. Similar to a Dedicated Server, be sure to look for a fully managed option with your VPS if you don't have the skills or any help with the handling of server administrative tasks.

Dedicated Server Hosting

When you purchase Dedicated Server Hosting, you won't be sharing a server or any resources with anyone, and you get an entire server to yourself. This style of hosting gives you more control. You can configure everything on the server because it's typically self-managed, which doesn't suit all webmasters.

Using this type of hosting means you have to take care of all the technical tasks that the hosting company would normally handle for you in a Shared Hosting service. Although there is the option of fully-managed Dedicated Server Hosting, this comes at an additional cost and is not typically included with most hosting providers. 

Advantages
  • A Dedicated Server means you're not sharing with other websites and won't be affected by others
  • More storage space and bandwidth than Shared Hosting
Disadvantages
  • Most expensive type of hosting
  • Requires advanced technical knowledge

Dedicated Server Hosting is the ideal choice for websites with a very large bandwidth and storage requirements. If you don't have the technical expertise or time to manage your own server and you don't have anyone available to help, fully managed Dedicated Server Hosting from Namecheap is the right choice for you.

Reseller (Website) Hosting

Reseller Hosting is another form of Shared Hosting. With this style of hosting, you are permitted to sub-rent portions of your own allocated hosting space to others. A Reseller plan typically comes with a special dashboard where you can divide up your space into sub-accounts, allocating storage space and bandwidth.

Advantages
  • Cheaper than a VPS
  • Typically more storage and bandwidth than Shared Hosting
  • Much less administrative work than VPS and Dedicated Servers
  • Great for when you want more resources than the limited ones available in Shared Hosting plans
Disadvantages
  • Performance could be affected if other accounts sharing the server use more than their share of the resources
  • There are fewer resources than with a VPS

How to host a website at home

It's entirely possible to cut out the middleman and host a website from your home computer. However, there are limitations to consider:

Hosting a website yourself requires an expensive server with a constantly-running power supply, power backups in case of outages, a static IP address (your home computer's IP is always changing or dynamic), and regular hardware maintenance.

1Hosting a website yourself requires an expensive server with a constantly-running power supply, power backups in case of outages, a static IP address (your home computer's IP is always changing or dynamic), and regular hardware maintenance.
2You need some technical know-how: You will need to know how to set up a 'WWW' server software on your computer. This software is required to let internet browsers access your website files stored on your computer.
3You will have to check whether your internet service provider permits you running websites on your home computer (or your ISP plan). At the very least, you will need to look into your bandwidth quota. Your website will load slowly as home internet connections are not designed for serving web pages.
4One of the issues about self-hosting a websites is that your computer has to stay on at all times. This means if your computer crashes or you need to reboot, your website will become unavailable.

Dmitriy Rakitin

Dmitriy Rakitin

More articles written by Dmitriy.

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