Web hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website on the Internet. A web host, also known as a hosting provider, is a company that provides the tools you’ll need to do so.
That includes, most notably, a server. Website files are stored on servers, and Internet browsers can communicate with them to deliver pages to visitors. This is why web hosting is such an important part of creating a website. Without hosting, you have no way of making your site public.
It is critical to understand that there are two ways to host a website:
A locally-hosted website is stored on your machine, whereas an externally hosted site is stored on the server of a provider. While you may wish to avoid external hosting in order to save money, hosting your own website locally is usually insufficient for even a small website.
Your users will likely experience extremely slow loading times, and speed is critical in the performance of your site. Your own resources will be stretched to the limit. Local sites, on the other hand, are typically used for testing, development and are only visible to the site’s owner or the developer. An externally hosted copy of the site is then made available to users, backed up by a much more powerful server provided by the hosting provider.
Local & External Hosting
Local and external hosting is frequently used in tandem. If you only need a private site for development, you may only need local hosting. Similarly, if your website is small and straightforward, you can often do without a staging site and rely solely on external hosting.
How to host a website on the internet (5 key considerations)
When it comes to web hosting, everything comes down to one big decision: which provider to go with? Before you buy these plans be sure to read reviews and opinions about these services. We’ve outlined five key factors to keep in mind when you consider buying a web hosting service.
1. Determine which is the best type of hosting for your site
For WordPress users, there are mainly five types of hosting to consider:
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
- Managed WordPress hosting
Each has advantages and disadvantages. Smaller sites can use a shared hosting plan. The other types, on the other hand, will give your site plenty of room to grow and will almost certainly provide better performance and uptime.
A WordPress-specific hosting plan can be extremely beneficial because it relieves you of some of the burdens of site maintenance. It also usually includes tools or services that you would need for your WordPress site anyway, this would save you money on extra purchases that your website might require.
2. Research extra features available from various web host
In addition to hosting your website on its servers, most hosting providers – particularly those with managed WordPress plans – provide useful site features. Among the most common are: SSL certificates, content delivery networks (CDNs), and free domain name registration.
- Firewalls and regular scans are examples of security features.
- Backups that are automated
- Areas of staging that are hosted by someone else
- Services for sending emails
WordPress hosting plans may also include access to premium themes, automated WordPress updates, and WordPress-specific customer service. It’s definitely worth thinking about what extra features you might need or want for your website.
3. Look at different providers’ customer support options
Customer service is an essential part of any hosting service. Because your relationship with your hosting provider will most likely be long-term, it is critical that it be able to provide any assistance you may require with your account, server, or WordPress itself.
Self-service support options such as documentation, user forums, and even blog posts can assist you in quickly getting past roadblocks. 24/7 availability is also useful for quickly connecting with support and connecting with someone from your web hosting company in the event of a server-related error.
If you’re looking for more information on customer service, the 2018 WordPress Hosting Survey contains useful information that you might want to consider. Over 800 WordPress users rated several popular hosts on both overall and WordPress-specific customer service, so you’ll know what to expect.
4. Pick a hosting budget and find a price that suits for you
Hosting is a recurring cost. Most providers charge monthly fees, though some offer annual plans. In any case, it’s critical to consider what you’ll be able to afford on a regular basis. There are numerous low-cost hosting options available, there are even some free options available, but you should avoid them. As previously mentioned, the less expensive options can sometimes come with additional issues.
Web hosting is frequently a case of ‘you get what you pay for.’ Because every site’s budget is different, we can’t say for certain which type of plan is best for you. Our best advice is to look for low-cost plans that offer a diverse range of services.
5. Figure out the ways on how you’ll install WordPress on your provider’s server
Finally, it’s a good idea to think about how you’ll install WordPress on your new hosting account. While it may appear insignificant at first, your WordPress installation options can make a significant difference in the ease with which you can set up your website.
You will always be able to manually install WordPress regardless of which hosting provider you choose. This entails connecting to your server via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) with a client like File Zilla.
Some managed WordPress hosting providers also provide a one-click installation option, allowing you to quickly install the software on your account. There are even plans that come pre-installed with WordPress, which is the simplest solution.
How to host our own website locally
There are various methods available for hosting a site locally. The best one for you will depend on the needs of your particular site, so let’s look at two popular options.
1. Create a site using a local web stack
A local web stack, such as XAMPP, is software that includes a web server and other components required for local development. The major advantage of using this method is that it provides you with the most control over your website: Furthermore, XAMPP keeps your local site completely private and inaccessible to other users.
The disadvantage is that it is a little difficult to set up. To get it up and running, you’ll need to install XAMPP and manually install WordPress. It’s also worth noting that, while a WordPress site hosted with XAMPP can be used to test plugging or practice coding, it can’t be used to create a true staging site.
Features that work on a XAMPP WordPress installation may not work on a live WordPress site due to differences in hardware configuration.
2. Sign up for a virtual sandbox environment
A virtual sandbox environment is a much easier way to create a local WordPress site – and to stage your live site. These platforms, including Local by Flywheel, make it simple to set up local WordPress installations: Flywheel’s Local is completely free to use.
All you have to do is sign up, download the app, and begin building websites.
However, you should configure your settings so that your sites are not visible to search engines. Also, keep in mind that even though your sites will be hosted locally, you will still be relying on a third-party resource. If Flywheel discontinues support for the platform, you’ll have to find another solution (though there’s no indication that this will happen anytime soon).
There is a lot to consider when it comes to web hosting. Learning the fundamentals of hosting and how it works can assist you in making informed decisions about how to host your WordPress site. This includes keeping in mind the differences between external and local hosting, and your options for using each.
Local hosting entails using your computer as a server for your website and can be accomplished through the use of a local web stack such as XAMPP or a virtual sandbox environment such as Local by Flywheel. Web hosting (external hosting) requires you to choose a hosting provider. While making any decision to buy, you’ll want to consider the hosting features, types, customer support, price, and ease of installation.