How to Host a Website: 4 Simple Steps and Why You Need Web Hosting
To build a website on a self-hosted platform like WordPress, you must first secure web hosting. The easiest way to do so is by signing up for a web hosting service.
Various web hosting companies offer different hosting types. Choosing the wrong hosting type can negatively affect your website’s performance and have you spending more money than you should. Therefore, it’s essential to understand all the available options.
This article will uncover what web hosting is, why you need it, and how to host a website. We will also provide tips on choosing the best hosting provider for your needs and answer the most frequently asked questions about hosting a website.
Why Do You Need Web Hosting?
When you’re building a website, the website files are located locally on your device. To make your locally hosted website accessible on the web, you have to host it on a server. This is where web hosting comes into play.
Hosting a website requires a server and the knowledge needed to maintain it. Those who don’t have the hosting budget or need to own a dedicated server can host their website through a hosting provider. Meanwhile, hosting providers rent server space and services to maintain website files for a monthly or yearly fee.
Here are the benefits of using their services:
- Save money. Buying a hosting solution is more affordable than self-hosting your website. You only need to pay for the chosen hosting plan, while the hosting company handles maintenance and upgrade costs.
- Highly scalable. If your current hosting plan can no longer keep up with the website’s growth rate, you can upgrade it or switch to another type of hosting.
- Easy to use. All the server and resource settings are simplified and presented through a user-friendly hosting account, allowing even beginners to use the hosting service with no hassle.
- Time-efficient. Your chosen hosting provider will take care of the technical aspects of hosting, server maintenance, and security monitoring. Therefore, you will have more time to focus on your website.
- Accessible support. Most hosting solutions come with round-the-clock customer support. When there’s a server issue, someone with the technical expertise needed to solve the problem is always ready to help you.
- Performance-oriented. Many hosting providers include additional features and tools in their plans to ensure optimal website performance.
How to Host a Website – Video Guide
Learn how to host a website and what to look for when choosing a hosting plan in our video tutorial.
4 Steps to Host a Website
Using a web hosting service is much simpler than you might think. Unlike hosting your site locally, you don’t have to deal with the hassle and financial burden of managing your own server.
Let’s go through the proper steps on how to host a website to see how it works.
1. Decide on Your Website Type
Before starting to make a website, keep in mind that there are two main types of websites – static and dynamic.
A static website delivers the same page and content to all users. Examples include blogs, portfolio websites, and business websites. Static sites can usually get away with a more basic web hosting plan since they require less storage space and server resources.
A dynamic website displays adaptive content that varies for each visitor based on their site settings or user behavior. Social networking sites, eCommerce sites, and subscription-based websites like Netflix belong to this group.
Consequently, dynamic sites often need a more comprehensive and customizable hosting plan with increased storage space, memory, and bandwidth.
Once you’ve determined the type of website to build, it’s easier to estimate the number of resources it needs to perform optimally. From there, you can narrow down web hosting services that meet your requirements.
Most web hosts offer various hosting plans for static and dynamic sites. Hostinger, for instance, provides shared hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, and VPS hosting services.
In most cases, each hosting plan has clearly defined features and functionality, making it easy to determine which one meets your needs best. Many hosting platforms, including Hostinger, categorize their hosting types based on who it’s ideal for, from small blogs to large-scale businesses.
2. Research Hosting Providers
As your chosen hosting plays a crucial role in your website’s performance, it’s essential to consider your options carefully.
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is relying on prices to determine hosting companies’ service quality. There are hosting companies with low starting prices that offer more server resources and overall better services than those with high starting prices, and vice versa.
As testing each hosting service isn’t time and cost-effective, the next best thing you can do is find articles that compare popular web hosting providers. These in-depth reviews, which often include detailed comparisons of features, plans, and user experience, can give you insights into each hosting provider’s pros and cons.
With this in mind, we have written articles on how Hostinger compares to the four most renowned hosting providers today. Give them a read and make your decision based on your findings.
When choosing a hosting provider, consider how user-friendly their site-creation tools are. Look for a hosting company that offers easy integration with popular content management systems (CMS) like Hostinger’s WordPress hosting or its built-in website builder.
3. Select a Hosting Plan
Choosing a web hosting plan is essential in developing a website because different hosting types offer different resources. Storage space, memory, and the number of CPUs are a few factors you should consider when picking a hosting service.
Picking a hosting plan is easier once you know which hosting type to get. Let’s go through the popular hosting types that most hosting providers offer and see their pros and cons.
What it is: with shared hosting, multiple websites share one server’s resources. It’s an excellent option for those prioritizing affordable hosting.
Ideal for: low to medium-sized websites with low traffic volume.
Pros: shared hosting is very cost-effective and beginner-friendly. Users with little to no technical skills can still use a shared hosting service since the web host handles the server maintenance and administration.
Cons: having multiple websites hosted on a single server means one website’s performance can affect the rest. For example, if other websites on your server experience traffic spikes, your site may slow down or even crash.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
What it is: VPS hosting provides resources from one dedicated server that is subdivided into several virtual servers. Each partition comes with dedicated resources for a particular user.
Ideal for: when it comes to shared hosting vs VPS hosting, the latter is more suitable for larger websites, like eCommerce sites and popular blogs. It’s also a better option for those who want flexibility and autonomy over their server settings.
Pros: dedicated resources mean better performance and server control than shared hosting. This type of hosting also costs less than dedicated server hosting.
Cons: hosting a website on a VPS server requires technical knowledge to manage the resources and server settings. Additionally, having a dedicated virtual private server is more expensive than sharing one physical server with other users.
What it is: with cloud hosting, a website runs on multiple cloud servers instead of relying on just one physical server. If one server goes down, another takes its place.
Ideal for: high-traffic websites that require resource flexibility and cannot afford downtime. It’s also a great option for those who want the ease of shared hosting and the performance of VPS hosting.
Pros: high uptime and excellent scalability. Cloud hosting gives you dedicated resources while requiring minimal technical skills.
Cons: cloud hosting is more expensive than shared hosting. It also gives website owners less autonomy over server settings than VPS hosting.
Managed WordPress Hosting
What it is: WordPress hosting is specifically optimized for WordPress sites. It usually comes with pre-installed plugins to handle technical setups, software updates, and security measures.
Ideal for: beginners with small to medium-sized websites. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to use WordPress to build their website.
Pros: like shared hosting, WordPress hosting requires little to no technical knowledge. The hosting company handles all the technical stuff like core updates and backups, allowing users to focus on growing their WordPress website.
Cons: managed WordPress hosting is slightly more expensive than shared hosting. It also gives website owners less control over server settings than other types of hosting like VPS.
What it is: dedicated hosting offers an entire server and its resources to one website. This means you get your own dedicated server resources, advanced server management tools, and complete operating software flexibility.
Ideal for: those with advanced technical skills and server management knowledge. Best for large and high-traffic websites with a large amount of data.
Pros: dedicated server hosting offers the highest amount of resources, deep customization, and better performance than other types of hosting.
Cons: it’s the most expensive and least beginner-friendly of the four hosting types listed here. You can go with a hosting company that offers managed dedicated hosting, but it will be far costlier than managing your own server.
4. Get a Domain Name for Your Site
Every website needs a domain name. It’s the address that visitors type into their browser to access the site.
A domain name consists of two elements ‒ a second-level domain (SLD) and a top-level domain (TLD). Taking Hostinger.com as an example, “Hostinger” is the SLD or the website’s name, while “.com” is the TLD or the domain extension.
Since domain names can’t be changed once registered, it’s important to decide carefully. Here are some tips for choosing the right domain name:
- Study your niche. Research popular keywords or search terms related to your branding or industry, and consider incorporating them into your domain name. Use an online domain name generator if you need name inspirations.
- Choose .com if possible. Using the most popular domain extension can help show the website’s credibility.
- Avoid numbers, hyphens, and symbols. These elements make your domain name hard to remember and increase the chances of typos.
- Aim for simplicity. Avoid lengthy words or phrases. An ideal domain name is short and catchy, making it easier for visitors to find the website.
- Check for originality. Choose a domain name that isn’t tied to any existing company or brand. It’s also worth checking whether your chosen domain name is copyrighted to avoid potential lawsuits.
Before finalizing your choice, check if your desired domain name is available using an online domain name search. If someone else has claimed your chosen domain name, pick one of the alternatives that the domain checker suggests or switch to another domain extension.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
Next, it’s time to buy the domain name. Even though getting a domain name and hosting separately is possible, the easiest way is to register through a web hosting provider that also acts as a domain name registrar.
For example, Hostinger is an accredited domain name registrar that offers some features like a free domain privacy protection service. That’s why most of our web hosting plans come with a free domain name upon purchase.
Alternatively, search and purchase an available domain name through our domain checker tool.
If you already have a registered domain name but want to host your website with us, simply point your domain name to Hostinger.
You can also use our domain transfer service to migrate your domain name registration to Hostinger. However, keep in mind that this method will require you to pay a domain transfer fee.
Tips When Looking for a Web Host
With so many options available, it’s essential to do in-depth research to find the right hosting solution for your website’s needs.
It’s also helpful to think in the long term. A great web host offers different hosting plans with flexible customization to support website growth.
The following sections will cover all the factors to consider when looking for a web host.
With 40% of people leaving a website that takes longer than three seconds to load, reliable performance is crucial in a web host.
Hosting performance can affect everything from a website’s conversion rates to search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Google penalizes sites with slow loading times and high bounce rates by ranking them lower in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
Website performance can make or break the conversion rate if you run an online business. The highest conversion rates occur when pages load in one to two seconds, averaging a 3.05% conversion rate at one second.
To determine whether a web host provides reliable performance, look for the following factors:
- Time to first byte (TTFB). It measures a website’s responsiveness according to the time a web server takes to respond to a website visitor’s HTTP request. Ideally, this timeframe falls under 200 milliseconds.
- Component loading time. It indicates how quickly a web server loads cached content, which shouldn’t take longer than a few milliseconds.
A site testing tool is arguably the best way to measure a website’s performance. GTmetrix, one of the most popular site testing tools, utilizes different metrics to analyze site speed performance.
According to GTmetrix, Hostinger’s homepage gives an “A” grade performance with a 97% performance result.
Hostinger’s speed index score, which determines the time needed to load the site content, is considered good. The benchmark of a good speed index score is 1000ms or lower.
The same goes for Hostinger’s TTFB, scoring far below Google PageSpeed Insights’ recommended limit of 200ms for server response time.
We achieve these results by using LiteSpeed for our primary server. LiteSpeed cache is pre-installed with all Hostinger accounts to ensure fast loading speeds.
Cyber-attacks pose a threat to websites of all sizes. Their frequency keeps increasing every year, growing to almost 35,400,000 in 2022. As most types of cyberattacks target web servers, hosting your website on a secure server is essential.
A good web hosting provider must have clear and comprehensive cybersecurity protocols. Here are some of the best security practices a hosting company should follow:
- Backups. Your web host should store a copy of your website’s files in a secure location and make it accessible whenever needed.
- SSL. An SSL protocol encrypts the communication between the web client and the server, protecting your data and identity. You need an SSL certificate to enable this protocol.
- Web application firewall (WAF). Your web host should be able to monitor and block malicious HTTP traffic going to and from your web applications.
- Software updates. Keeping your plugins or other software up to date helps patch vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
- Network monitoring. A good web host monitors their internal network 24/7 for suspicious activity to catch the issue before affecting the network.
- Antivirus and malware removal. Each website file you upload to the web server must be scanned for malware and virus. Your hosting provider should also equip you with the tools needed to identify and eliminate them.
- Denial-of-service (DDoS) prevention. Your hosting provider should be able to prevent bad actors from flooding their servers with traffic from multiple locations and causing site crashes.
- Access restriction. Your hosting account should come with a Secure Socket Shell protocol (SSH) and the ability to safelist IP addresses and set file permissions.
All Hostinger hosting plans include a free SSL certificate, backups, access control, DDoS protection, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. As for malware protection, Hostinger uses Imunify360 and Monarx to monitor servers and improve their security.
Most hosting platforms offer various features to complement their hosting services. The idea is to provide a seamless website building and management experience.
The following are some helpful features to look for in a hosting provider:
- Website building tools. Having access to beginner-friendly website building tools make developing websites easy and cost-effective.
- FTP account. This feature streamlines file and directory transfer processes. You can schedule a file transfer and resume the process after losing the connection.
- Email hosting. The ability to create domain-based email accounts is particularly useful for businesses. Unlike free email hosting services like Gmail, paid email hosting providers generally come with better security, more storage space, and greater scalability.
- Domain name registration. Going with a hosting provider that offers this service makes maintaining your domain name easy. It’s even better if they waive the registration fee for the first year, which is what the “free domain name” usually means.
- Software integrations. Hostinger, for example, includes pre-installed plugins and an auto-installer in all hosting plans, streamlining installation and integration processes.
- Backups. Ideally, you can set your own backup schedule and store the backups in your preferred location, like Google Cloud. Therefore, you have two backups ready at all times ‒ one in your hosting’s storage space and the other in your inventory.
- Migration service. Offering free migration services is a telltale sign that the hosting company has the human resources to provide quality support.
- Staging tool. A staging site allows you to run tests, perform customizations, and detect bugs without jeopardizing your live website.
- Managed hosting. A good hosting provider gives you the option to automate software updates and server configurations.
Since you’ll be accessing a web provider’s control panel daily to manage your website, it’s best to look for an intuitive user interface. Ideally, you can access all the tools you need to maintain your website and hosting resources.
Many hosting providers use cPanel as the most popular hosting control panel software. You may also find web hosts with a custom-built control panel.
Hostinger, for example, provides a custom control panel called hPanel. It prioritizes ease of use and convenience in managing your web hosting account. Users can configure everything from FTP users, domains, site migration tools, MySQL databases, and email accounts all in one place.
Check out our article comparing hPanel vs cPanel to see how the former holds up against the latter.
Value for Money
Web hosting is only one of the basic expenses of hosting a website. Domain names, SSL certificates, and regular maintenance processes such as backups and caching add to the total cost of hosting.
Therefore, choosing a web host that offers excellent value for money can save you money for at least the first year.
For example, at $1.99/month, our Single Shared Hosting plan includes 24/7 customer support, free SSL certificate, weekly backups, Cloudflare protected nameservers, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and an FTP account.
24/7 Customer Support
An excellent hosting provider offers round-the-clock customer service. This is especially critical if your website experiences unexpected lags, crashes, or even security breaches.
However, it’s important to choose a hosting provider that offers other support resources. These may include active customer support channels, tutorials, or even a live chat feature.
It’s also useful to find a web host that provides an expansive database of general web hosting information to support customer learning.
Hostinger’s database, for example, offers quick solutions to common issues. It also makes for an excellent resource for users who want to expand their web hosting knowledge.
Your website will grow over time, so it’s important to look for a hosting provider that lets you scale it. With scalable web hosting, you can upgrade features and hosting resources to encourage sustainable long-term growth.
For example, Hostinger offers three shared hosting plans. Therefore, website owners can scale up the current plan once or twice before moving to a different type of hosting with more resources, such as cloud or VPS hosting.
Going with a web hosting company is the most convenient and cost-effective approach to hosting a website.
With an excellent hosting provider, you don’t have to worry about the technicalities behind your website management. It can include hardware maintenance, software installation, resource management, bandwidth, and storage configuration.
A web hosting service provider also helps to ensure that a website has optimal performance and higher security protocols than self-hosting. This way, website owners can dedicate more time doing what’s needed to grow the site, such as creating content and optimizing SEO.
We hope this article gives you a better understanding of how to host a website. Remember that it’s crucial to conduct proper research to choose the right hosting service provider for your needs. Consider factors like scalability, value for money, and security to determine a web host’s reliability.
If you have more questions about how to host a website, drop your questions in the comments section below.
How to Host a Website FAQ
Can I Host a Website Myself?
Self-hosting is another way to publish a site, but you need advanced technical skills to manage the server. Self-hosting also requires infrastructure and a physical location to host the server’s equipment, all of which you must acquire independently. If you can’t meet these requirements, it’s best to host your website via a web host.
Can I Host My Website for Free?
Yes, a free host is great for anyone creating their first website. However, these services have some limitations in terms of resources and features, so when you have more traffic or if you want to improve your website’s performance, you’ll need to upgrade to paid hosting for better website growth.
What Is the Easiest Way to Host a Website?
The easiest way to host a website is to go with a reputable, user-friendly web hosting company. All the website hosting services should come with 24/7 support and offer easy scalability. Most importantly, your chosen hosting provider must apply the best security practices to ensure your website’s security.