Step-by-step website hosting instructions
Follow these instructions and in just four steps, you'll have a hosted website for all to view online.
1. Buy a Domain
Before you put a web-hosting plan to work, you need to
register a domain name. Most hosting companies will help you purchase one if you don't have a domain name already. There may be price advantages to buying both services as a bundle.
You also may buy the two parts separately from different companies. Some hosting providers don't sell domain names, they specialize solely in hosting products. You must purchase a domain from a domain name registrar before using their hosting services.
Buying hosting and the domain name together greatly simplifies the process; if you buy a domain name and hosting separately, there's an extra step involved. You will need to set the nameservers on the domain registrar's website to point to the addresses provided by your web host. It's best to check how it's done with your registrar for instructions, as it can vary from site to site.
2. Choose a web hosting service provider
The next step is choosing a web host. 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 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 site's technical requirements. What follows are tips on the features a web host provides. Consider the specifications your site might have, as well as other features you may need to factor in to your selection of host.
Hosting Server Reliability & Uptime
First things first, 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.
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)
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 hosting provider.
Bandwidth measures the amount of data or traffic that passes through your website and the rest of the Internet. In order to determine what type of hosting is right for you, you'll need to estimate how much bandwidth your website needs. In other words, if you don't require large media files (images, video, streaming capabilities, etc.), you should be set with 10 GB of storage per month. This is the amount most small business owners opt for. Media-intensive businesses with over 1,000 visitors per day will understandably require more, e.g. 150 GB per month.
Once you've estimated how much bandwidth will be sufficient to host your website, it's time to think ahead. When your website starts to generate more traffic (i.e. more visitors), you'll need hosting that can accommodate this type of growth. Always choose a hosting provider that offers a variety of ways to upgrade, without having to incur any additional usage costs.
Want to make changes to your hosting server settings? A control panel makes it easy. cPanel, widely considered the industry standard when it comes to control panels, is used by most web hosting providers (including Namecheap). A control panel lets you easily manage your databases, change your backup settings, manage your email accounts, and more. If your hosting provider only has a basic control panel or none at all, keep in mind that you'll have to do the technical heavy lifting on your own.
If the worst-case scenario happens and your website goes down, you'll need access to efficient and professional support. This means choosing a hosting provider that offers round-the-clock help to get the assistance you need, if and when you need it.
Security Measures and Addons
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.
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.
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.
We've covered the types of services you can expect from a 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 package.
Questions to ask yourself
Picking the right 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 site am I building?
Different types of sites come with different technical requirements. For example, a WordPress site will have different technical requirements than a static HTML site. Think about how your site is going to be built first and foremost. You'll then be more clued up on things like the coding languages and databases your host needs to work with.
Do I need email hosting?
We've discussed the benefits of setting up email addresses associated with the domain of your new site. It would be a shame to miss out on this by overlooking whether your host provides
email hosting that fits your needs.
How much data will I be storing and serving?
The bandwidth you'll require from your host is not just a matter of traffic. It also depends on the file size of the pages you're showing to that traffic. If your site is packed with data-heavy pages, the more storage, and bandwidth you'll need your 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?
It's most likely your traffic will start pretty low but, if you plan to build it up to high levels, you'll need a flexible plan where you can increase your bandwidth capacity as time goes on.
What is my hosting budget?
Think up 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 site 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.
3. Choose a web hosting plan
Now that you're up to speed on the features web hosting services 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 fivemain packages on offer: shared, dedicated, VPS, reseller, and managed WordPress. Let's outline briefly what each of these hosting types is.
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.
Cheapest hosting available (Stellar starts at $1.44/mo)
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)
Includes a free Website Builder with drag-and-drop interface
50 Positive SSL Certificates (free for the 1st year)
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 site.
WordPress hosting with EasyWP
Unlike the hosting options we've discussed thus far, EasyWP true managed WordPress hosting is ready to go within just a few minutes. With other types of hosting, there's a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to installing WordPress (or another CMS) and managing hosting. Not so with Easy WP – its 30-second, one-click installation takes care of everything for you. Appealing to 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 site to your heart's content.
Easy WP is powered by Namecheap's cloud technology, which is the latest cloud technology optimized fully for WordPress. Fully containerized, the Namecheap cloud has 99.9% uptime and its speed is up to three times faster than a standard WordPress site on traditional shared hosting.
Easy setup – ready to use at just the click of a button
Faster than WordPress sites on traditional shared hosting
Manage all your WordPress sites from one dashboard with a single login
Easy migration service
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 day-to-day running of their website. With its single dashboard and easy-to-use interface, you can focus on learning how to use WordPress itself and producing quality content.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) is somewhere between shared and dedicated hosting when it comes to price and performance. Consider it the next best thing to having your own dedicated server, since VPS is almost as good as having a private server. A VPS divides a single server into separate virtual servers. Similar to shared hosting, there are multiple customers (websites) running off the same servers, but with VPS, the number is far, far fewer and you have dedicated resources. Similar to dedicated hosting plans, you'll have to take care of technical tasks related to your server yourself if you
opt for VPS hosting.
Good and reliable performance
Cheaper than dedicated hosting plans
Customizable server setup
Enough storage space and bandwidth to power data-heavy, busy websites
VPS is common among site owners who need more storage and bandwidth than is offered through shared hosting plans. They might find dedicated hosting is above and beyond their needs regarding price and flexibility. Like with dedicated hosting, be sure to look for a fully managed option if you don't have the skills or any help with the handling of server admin tasks.
When you purchase dedicated 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 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. There is the option of fully managed dedicated hosting. However, this is another price tier up and not within typical hosts standard packages, so you might have to go looking for it.
Dedicated hosting is the ideal choice for websites with 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 hosting 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 space to others. They typically come with a special dashboard where you can divvy up your space into sub-accounts, allocating storage space and bandwidth.
Performance could be affected if other accounts sharing the server use more than their share of the resources.
Reseller hosting is popular choice when you want more resources than the limited ones of shared hosting plans, but there are still fewer resources than with VPS hosting.