Have an idea for a new website concept or blog? You’ll first need to make a plan that allows you to purchase a domain and choose a hosting service for the website.
A website host provides server space for you to store your website files. These servers then make it possible for visitors to access your website from any location or browser.
We’ll explain how to host your website with a clear step-by-step format and how hosting your website can bring your novel idea to life. Today, we’ll share everything you need to know about getting started with website hosting.
What is a Website Host?
Website hosts provide storage space for the files that collectively make a website come to life. These files include codes, images, web content, and more. You’ve probably never thought much about website hosting, but every website you’ve ever viewed is hosted on a web server.
If your website files only exist on your local computer, other people won’t be able to view those files online. But once you upload them to a web hosting server, you can make those files available and accessible to others.
Website hosting can take on many forms, and web hosting platforms offer additional services to suit your various needs. We’ll go over the different types of website hosts as well as the pros and cons of web hosting.
What Are the Types of Web Hosts?
There are many types of web hosts. The main differences between the various web hosting options are bandwidth and available storage space. Consider what you need your website to do before you select a specific web hosting service or plan.
To help you decide, here are some of the best types of web hosting options!
- Shared hosting: These hosting plans are ideal for both new websites and small websites. Web hosts that offer shared hosting make it possible to host multiple websites. The server’s resources will go towards all of the websites hosted by that particular server. Shared hosting plans are the least expensive because they require fewer resources from the website host.
Shared plans also tend to be great for beginners since the primary audience of shared hosting plans is full of novice website owners. You’ll also find it easy to add an email domain and managed website services to your shared hosting plan.
The only setback to this form of hosting is that it can reduce your website’s performance if other websites on the server you share have increased traffic or pull more of the server’s resources for any other reason.
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting: A step-up from shared hosting is virtual private server hosting. As your website begins to grow, you might need dedicated server space to improve your website performance. A virtual private server allocates a specific amount of space on the server to your website alone.
There will still be other websites hosted by the same server, but the host will reserve a set amount of space and resources to your site. This way, when other websites that are hosted on the same server experience usage spikes, their increased need for more resources won’t impact your website’s performance.
You still don’t need technical skills to manage your website with VPS hosting. This is a major benefit of VPS especially compared to dedicated server hosting.
- Dedicated server hosting: Speaking of dedicated server hosting, this option gives you the most control over your website’s storage. You’ll rent an entire server from your website host and your website will be the only one stored on that server.
This option offers more flexibility in the operating system the server runs on because the host provides an entire server just for your website. It is more costly as you’ll pay more for this hosting option. You’ll also need to have some technical experience or know-how if you want to manage your website via dedicated server hosting.
- Managed hosting: Many web hosting plans are classified as managed hosting providers which means that the host provides you with technical services. These technical services often include management of the hardware and the software necessary for keeping your website online.
Dedicated server hosting tends to have less management oversight which is great for advanced and experienced website owners. Less oversight means you’ll have more say in how your website is configured and maintained by the dedicated server.
Figuring out which web hosting option you should choose comes down to evaluating and prioritizing your needs. If you’re planning to operate a blog with limited traffic, you’ll get by just fine with a shared hosting plan. However, if you’re looking to upgrade a company website so that it receives thousands of visits per day, it’s better to look at dedicated hosting plans instead as they can accommodate your needs.
Pros & Cons of Web Hosting
Web hosting makes it simple for you to create and maintain your website. But there are pros and cons to each of the services and plans out there. Keep these advantages and disadvantages in mind when searching for a web hosting service or plan.
- Affordable pricing compared to purchasing hardware and hosting on your own
- Superb performance that decreases chances of site abandonment
- Add-on services and free perks such as an email account or SSL certificate
- Customer support for assistance with troubleshooting issues
- Limitations in terms of storage space, RAM and other resources
- Security concerns
- Becomes more expensive as website traffic and storage needs increase over time
It’s possible to find a hosting plan with minimal cons if any. When choosing the best hosting service, be sure to consider your goals and where you want to go with your website in order to minimize the chances of choosing a plan that you are not happy within the long run.
5 Steps To Follow for Hosting a Website
Now that you know more about website hosting, you’re ready to take the 5 steps necessary to start hosting your website.
Step 1: Decide the type of website you need to host.
You have 2 options when it comes to website types: static or dynamic. A static website is one that you build using a simple editor. Static websites do not change based on the visitor. The majority of websites on the internet are static websites.
On the other hand, a dynamic website changes based on who is visiting the website, the time of day, the region they’re visiting from, and more. Dynamic websites are more involved and complicated to manage.
Regardless of the type of website you host, you’ll need a content management system (CMS) to manage everything on both the front end and the back end of your site.
Step 2: Choose a hosting server.
Now that you know the type of website you plan to set up, you need to choose the right server for you. If you’re creating a static website, shared hosting will meet your needs just fine.
Additionally, servers can run on either Linux or Windows. Linux hosting options are far more common than Windows. However, Windows is a good option if you plan to use Microsoft services for your website or ASP scripts.
Step 3: Select a hosting plan.
Find a hosting plan that includes the services and resources that you need. As you start to look for a good hosting plan, consider what you need in terms of bandwidth, customer support, uptime, security, and other features.
How much does it cost to host a website? It depends on the type of plan that you choose. For example, a shared hosting plan starts at just a few dollars per month, but a dedicated plan can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars per month.
However, don’t base your decision or choice on which website hosting plan to buy solely based on the price. If you do and you choose the option that is the cheapest, then you might open yourself and your customers up to major security concerns. It’s worth paying a little more to protect everyone involved.
Step 4: Change the DNS.
Purchasing a website hosting plan is not the final step to setting your website as live on the internet. You also need to update your DNS or domain name server.
This is the IP address for your new server location, but this step is only necessary if you’re moving a pre-existing website to a new location. Otherwise, this process should be automated.
You can automate this process directly from your control panel. Under the domain you’re moving, select “Name Servers.” Then, update the server’s name with the IP address your hosting service has provided you.
Step 5: Upload your website to the hosting platform.
Once everything is in order with your web hosting plan, you’re ready to start uploading your website data to your control panel. The best way to do this is by using an FTP client.
From your control panel, select the file manager. From there, choose the root location for your domain. Upload all files to the location of the folder. If you’re using an FTP, enter your website’s IP address into your FTP service. Then, select the files that you want to upload.
Getting Started with Website Hosting
Website hosting is not complicated, especially when it’s mostly hands-off for you. Thankfully, most website hosts design plans for individuals with limited technical know-how and experience.
Don’t let terminology or the unknown intimidate you. It’s really quite simple to bring your website vision to life. It all starts with choosing the right website hosting plan for you!