How to Host a Website

Find a web host with the services and tools you want for your website

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There’s much groundwork to be done before you can create a website. One crucial task is to learn how to host a website. You’ll need to find out who hosts websites and which web host is best for your needs and your future website. A web host provides space on its web servers where you store the files and content for your website so that it can be viewed in a web browser by anyone with an internet connection. The web host also provides the web technologies and tools needed to build your website.

Choose a Web Hosting Provider

The web host you choose depends on how well the host provides the tools and support you’ll need to get started on your site and to keep it maintained. When comparing web hosting sites, look for sites that have these best qualities of web hosting companies:

  • Uptime: Look for a provider that is known for reliable and guaranteed uptime. Avoid web hosts with complaints about customer websites being down.
  • Speed: Choose a web host that uses the latest server technology and optimizes its servers for page load speed. Use a bandwidth tool to test the speed of the web host’s site and the sites of some of its customers.
  • Bandwidth: Select a web host that provides the largest amount of bandwidth. If you start with a low amount of bandwidth to save money, make sure you can increase bandwidth when your web traffic grows.
  • Customer support: Do business with a web hosting service that provides responsive and helpful customer service. Determine which types of support they provide, such as a contact form, web chat, or phone support. Search the site for tutorials, support forums, and knowledge base articles.
  • Plan features: Find out what features are available with each plan and whether your site will need those features. Some web hosts offer a free domain name for the first year. Others limit the amount of server space allocated to your site. Some provide email services; others do not. Also, determine if there are any restrictions or if features are limited under any conditions.
  • Website builders: Research the web page editors and content management systems that the web host makes available. Many web hosts offer a custom drag-and-drop website builder along with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others.
  • Price: Find out how much it costs to host a website. Compare the initial web hosting fee and the renewal price. Many web hosts offer a cheap web hosting plan to attract new customers. These prices go up at the end of the initial contract.
  • Hosting platform: Does the web host provide Linux and Windows hosting? Linux hosting is used for websites that don’t run scripts and is more cost-effective. Windows hosting is best for websites that require scripting and database support.

Find Out Who Hosts a Website You Like

During your search for a web host, look for websites that have the same features that you want for your website. Then look at the page load time and determine which web tools the site uses. When you find sites that look good and load quickly, find out who hosts those websites and decide if those web hosts meet your needs.

There are online tools that tell you who hosts a website. Some of the more popular sites include WhoIsHostingThis.com which also has links to user reviews, HostingChecker which also has an IP ping tool and an IP address checker, and HostAdvice which provides a side-by-side web hosting comparison and a web hosting advisor.

Choose a Web Hosting Service

Web hosts offer a variety of hosting services to fit the needs of individuals who need a portfolio website, bloggers that manage hundreds of posts, and companies that run their business over the internet. Review the different types of services each web host offers and find a service that fits your current website plans, can be upgraded to another hosting service, and is in your budget.

Some of the services web hosts offer include:

  • Shared hosting: In shared hosting, your website has an account on a web server that hosts many websites. Shared hosting is the most affordable hosting service. Shared hosting is ideal for a portfolio website and blog hosting.
  • WordPress hosting: In WordPress hosting, the WordPress hosting provider automatically installs and updates WordPress for each website.
  • VPS hosting: In virtual private server hosting, websites are hosted on a web server that is partitioned into virtual compartments. Each website has a compartment and can configure the server software to function independently from other websites. VPS hosting offers a high level of security but at a lower cost than dedicated hosting.
  • Cloud hosting: In cloud hosting, websites are stored across multiple cloud servers. By saving website files in multiple locations, websites aren’t susceptible to server failures, traffic spikes, and resource limitations.
  • Dedicated hosting: In dedicated hosting, each web server stores only one website. This option is for businesses and high-traffic websites. It offers a high level of security, customization, and configuration. However, this service comes at a higher price.
  • Reseller website hosting: Reseller website hosting is for those that want to become a web host and sell hosting services.

Decide Which Web Hosting Plan is Best for You

After you choose a web host and decide which hosting service is best for you, look at the plans available for that service. Some web host sites offer a variety of plans within each of the hosting services they offer. Other web hosts may only offer a single service with a single plan.

Here are the things to look at when evaluating a web hosting plan:

  • Technical skill: Ask yourself how much time it will take to learn all the tools that come with the plan. If you’re under a deadline, choose a plan with the lowest learning curve. If you’re ready for a challenge, choose the plan with the tools you want to learn.
  • Plan upgrades: As your site grows, you may need to upgrade to a different plan that includes, for example, more bandwidth or email capabilities. Find out what’s involved in changing plans, if there is a cost associated with an upgrade, and any effect an upgrade will have on your website.
  • Site requirements: If the web host offers plans with set bandwidth and storage limits, determine how much space and bandwidth you’ll need and if you’ll need to upgrade in the future. Plan your storage needs based on the type and amount of content you plan to publish on the website. Plan your bandwidth needs based on the number of visitors you expect the website to attract.
  • Budget: Subscribe to the plan with the most features that fit your needs, and that fits within a price you feel is reasonable and affordable.

Register a Domain Name

After you subscribe to a web hosting plan, everything is in place except the domain name for your website. The easiest way to register a domain is to purchase the domain through your web hosting provider. This way, your domain is automatically linked to your hosting account, and all the settings are configured for you.

The domain name you choose should be unique to the purpose of your website and be something memorable. During the domain name registration process, you can search for available domain names and reserve the one you want.