How to host a website
Every website needs to be hosted so it can be accessed online. That’s what hosting does – it provides a ‘home’ to hold everything that makes up your website (that is, files, code, text, images, videos, and more).
Learning how to host a website is key to getting your business online and ensuring it can be accessed anytime by anyone interested in what you have to offer.
If you’re new to the web, you may not know how to go about hosting and publishing your site. Should you host your own website or is it best to go with a hosting provider? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on the type and size of your website, as well as other factors like your technical expertise and budget.
Read on to learn more about your options, and whether it’s best to host your website locally or pay for web hosting.
How to host a website using a web hosting provider
The easiest option to host a website and get it online for everyone to see is to buy a web hosting package. This gives you a place to host your site so it’s available online for anyone who wants to visit your site.
But how do you choose? Well, start by choosing the right provider, then the type of hosting and hosting package that’s within your budget and meets your needs. Let’s go through each of these important aspects.
1. Research web hosting providers
Like with anything you buy, the first step is to take some time to research the different web hosting providers so you can make an informed decision.
Here’s the thing: there are hundreds of companies to choose from. Some provide amazing customer support while others have low-cost packages or a variety of services. It can be difficult to figure out the best option for you. So, here are some things to consider when researching and choosing your web hosting company.
- Uptime guarantee – Look for a hosting provider with a high uptime guarantee (99.5% or above). This ensures your site is online, loading, and working properly 24/7/365.
- Scalability – Think about your business and your growth plans. If you’re starting small and find you’re doing great at attracting customers and selling online, you want to have the option to upgrade your hosting as your business grows. Make sure your provider makes it easy for you to upgrade whenever you need to.
- Accessibility – If you don’t have the technical skills or want a hassle-free option to manage and configure your hosting plan, make sure your hosting provider can give you that option. Look for providers who offer a simple to use dashboard like cPanel where you can manage everything – hosting, email, backups, and more.
- Freebies and additional products and services – To get your site online, you’ll also need to register a domain name. (Note: If you have a domain registered with another company and want to manage your products in one place, it’s easy to transfer your domain to 123 Reg.) You might also need a professional email and an SSL certificate to protect your site and your visitors’ sensitive information. Make sure you go with a hosting company that can provide all these other products so you don’t have to go elsewhere to buy each of them. For example, the 123 Reg hosting packages come with one or more free domain names. Some packages also include free mailboxes and SSL certificates.
- Great support – Hosting can be technical, especially if you’re new to the web. This is why it’s important to go with a company that can provide friendly, professional, and reliable 24/7 support on a variety of channels, including email, phone, and chat.
When researching your options, also make sure to look up reviews from customers to learn more about their experience with those companies.
2. Choose a hosting type
There are different types of hosting to choose from. You can choose between Linux and Windows hosting, depending on your needs and what you’re most comfortable with.
Next, you’ll have to choose between these options:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Managed WordPress hosting
Each option has its pros and cons. It all depends on your type of website and needs.
For example, if you have a small website, the 123 Reg Linux shared hosting can be a good option for you because it’s budget-friendly (the Starter hosting package costs from as little as £2.99 a month), and it comes with a free domain name for the first year as well as free email addresses. On top of that, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and access to popular one-click installation apps like WordPress and Magento.
If you don’t have the technical skills, time, or energy to take care of things like server maintenance and backups, try WordPress managed hosting. For example, with 123 Reg managed WordPress hosting, a team of experts will take care of everything for you, from installing WordPress with your hosting to keeping your server up to date, backing up and scanning your website for malware every day, and optimising your site’s speed so it loads quickly for all visitors.
You also get access to free, professionally designed website templates for your site. This means you can create and get your website online in a few hours – just pick a template, change anything without the help of a designer or developer, and then get it online.
But what if you need more? What if you have a big site with a huge range of products and lots of visitors? If you need your site to load quickly, then 123 Reg Premium hosting might just be what you need. It comes with superior performance, managed server, unlimited databases and bandwidth, and expert support whenever you need it.
If you want to learn more, read our post to help you decide which type of hosting you need for your website.
3. Select a hosting package
Now that you’ve chosen your hosting provider and type of hosting, it’s finally time to choose your hosting package. This is when you need to consider all your must-haves and the budget you’re working with. When choosing your package, think about your needs and type of website. If you’re a small business, you might want to get a Starter package to get you started online. If you’re a big business with lots of products and visitors, you might want to go with a Premium package.
If you’re on a budget, consider the additional freebies that are included in your package, such as domain name, professional email, and SSL certificate. Having these included in your hosting package saves you money and also the time of having to research and buy each product elsewhere.
How to host your own website locally
Of course, you also have the option to host your own website from your home computer. But that comes with some challenges. Not only do you need technical expertise to do that, but also resources to get an expensive server with a constantly running power supply, power backups in case of an outage, a static IP address, and hardware maintenance.
Self-hosting also means that for your website to be online, your computer will need to stay on at all times. In other words, if your computer were to crash or need to reboot, your website will become unavailable, so your visitors won’t be able to access it. Make sure to consider these important aspects before hosting a website yourself.
Unless you have the technical expertise, budget, and resources to self-host, hosting a website doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. All you need to do is to choose a reliable company to host your website, the right hosting plan, and then get your site online for the world to see.