How to Host a Website: Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been toying with the idea of claiming your spot in the digital realm, one of the things that you’ll definitely need to know is how to host a website.

This includes deciding which service to choose and which type of provider would make the most sense. Aside from explaining the basics of traditional hosting, we’ll also try to help you learn more about hosting sites locally.

So let’s begin!

Why You Need Hosting

You’ve probably heard that this is something you need, but if you’re new to site ownership, chances are, you’re not entirely sure why.

Before we explain how to host websites, you need to know what web hosting is. The easiest way to imagine hosting is by comparing it to renting space for your shop.

The domain name (your website’s name) would pretty much be the equivalent of your store’s physical address.

Furthermore, as long as we’re using simple hosting examples, when your website’s address is entered into the web browser by your visitors, your hosting provider is the one displaying the resources you stored on their servers to the visitors (i.e., letting them into the store).

This is the basic idea of hosting. It’s more or less a storage space for page files and data that actually makes your website a website. Others also call it your site’s “home.”

Now, if you’re wondering how to host a website, you might also be overwhelmed by the different hosting options and models at your disposal.

Hosting Providers

When speaking about providers, there is a lot to consider.

For instance, you have to make your mind up between different bundled offers, with different server technology, different traffic quotas, and different ways to interact with the web hosting platform.

Naturally, these service packages are created with all kinds of budgets in mind, so finding a suitable option that fits both your needs and your financial capacity shouldn’t be an issue.

Hosting Your Website

It’s not a secret, great hosting will provide both you and your visitors with a smooth experience and with a website that’s always accessible.

However, there are basically two different paths you as a website owner can take when it comes to choosing the best hosting options. It’s all fairly straightforward—you’ll either pay someone else to host your site, or you’ll opt for local hosting, i.e., do it yourself.

The method you end up going with should mainly depend on your level of confidence when it comes to hosting-related tasks.

Truth be told, choosing a good hosting platform is the better option if you don’t have the time to devote to figuring out how to host a website locally.

On the other hand, going with a local solution is a great learning experience if you want to drastically improve your understanding of how hosting works.

Hosting With a Provider

If you don’t really have the time or the experience to host your own website, you can always look at different providers. The process usually goes something like this:

Compare Companies

The competition is fairly stiff, and you can find pretty neat deals from different providers.

For a monthly fee, they will take care of everything, from technical challenges to data and traffic management.

Choose an option that aligns with your budget and technical requirements.

Choosing a Provider

Even if you don’t want to learn how to host your own website, you’ll still have to learn about the different things that make a good hosting company stand out from the rest.

Namely, you’ll want to get familiar with certain features like:

  • Uptime (server-accessibility)
  • Added features (like site backups, WordPress integration, SSL certificates, free domain name registration)
  • The level of customer support,

and more.

Take your time, compare the different offers, get in touch with the companies and decide which of them seem best suited to meet your particular needs.

Pick a Plan

Now, after finding a web host, it’s time to pick an actual plan.

There are different hosting methods you can choose from, and within those methods, you often have additional package tiers with different perks.

Hosting Methods

Based on your needs and budget, you should consider choosing from the options below:

Shared

Probably the best entry-level option where multiple sites are stored on the same server. It’s probably among the most cost-effective methods, however, you will also have to deal with finite resources.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

If you don’t want to self-host a website but want a step-up from shared options, a VPS package can be a good solution, as it provides you with an entirely dedicated section on a server which you share with others.

Dedicated Hosting

If you want the most control over your website, this might be your best option as you will be the only tenant on the server with dedicated hosting.

The server is exclusively yours.

The cost to host a website this way isn’t the cheapest, however, this might be the right option if your site is resource-intensive and you want to eliminate all the drawbacks that come with shared hosting.

Cloud Hosting

Your site is powered by several servers, which adds a layer of flexibility when compared to shared hosting.

When a server goes down, another one takes over. Going with one of the best cloud hosting providers can be great if you want reliability but don’t want to pull the trigger on dedicated options yet.

Managed Hosting

This isn’t a local web hosting method per se, but rather a feature you get with your plan. Technical support, patching, hardware replacement, and more fall under this umbrella.

Colocation

With this method, you are actually hosting your own website on your own server.

However, you rent a space that provides the power, bandwidth (the amount of data your website can transfer to visitors in a given amount of time), IP address, and cooling systems that your server requires.

Self-Hosting

Now that you know the basics behind hosting services and what to look for when evaluating different companies, it’s time to talk about self-hosting.

If you’re new to the subject, you might have several questions. When researching how to host a website from home, there are a few things you simply have to know to pull it off.

Here are the basics:

  • Register a domain name: Get your address up and running by grabbing a simple and easy-to-memorize domain name.
  • Set up your website and check your IP address.
  • Make sure that your domain name points to your computer’s IP address: Get a static address. This is basically an IP with an unchanging number that identifies you (your computer) within the network.
  • ISP hosting support: If you want to host a website from home, you need to check whether your bandwidth quota is up to the task.
  • Make sure that your computer can handle hosting: As the machine will be running pretty much all the time, you need to make sure that it can provide the necessary cooling to prevent crashes and overheating.
  • Use the AMP software: Amp being short for Apache, MySQL, and PHP web stack which you need to install and copy your website’s code into its root folder.
  • Start your AMP server: Voilá, your website is now live!

The Costs

Now that you know how to host a website, it’s time to speak a bit about the actual costs.

Simply put, if you opt for a hosting provider, monthly costs can be anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred, based on the different features you choose and the kind of plan you buy.

Needless to say, a shared hosting plan will be cheaper than a dedicated solution, and you also have to account for other ongoing expenses, like domain name registration, SSL certificate purchases, site backup, and restore services.

On the other hand, if you’re wondering how much it can cost to host a website on your own, costs will also vary.

However, experts warn that the expenses shouldn’t really be a major concern, rather, site owners should see if they are up to the task to begin with.

In most cases, home-hosting just isn’t worth it in the long run, as it needs constant care and maintenance.

For a smaller site, the best cheap hosting that meets your resource requirements might be a better option as most of the related tasks will be taken care of by the provider.

Finishing Thoughts

So, can you host your own website? Sure you can. Is it worth it? It depends.

For a small hobby site, home-hosting can make perfect sense if you have the necessary hardware, secure connection, and don’t mind the larger electric bill.

For a more serious business site? Well, if you have the hardware and the manpower to take care of hosting, then it can work like a charm.

However, it’s up to you to choose what’s best for you.

FAQ

How can I host my own website?

Generally speaking, you can choose two paths. You either pay someone for hosting services or take care of hosting yourself.
In most cases, the former will make more sense, especially if you’re launching a large business site. Self-hosting can also work, however, it might be simpler for hobby site owners, as these sites require less effort and maintenance.

How can I host my website for free?

You can opt for providers who offer free hosting. However, only a few deliver the actual goods.

These free options usually don’t measure up to the current security standards and don’t provide you with the necessary backup services that can be life-savers when something goes wrong (services which are, usually, available even with the cheapest paid packages).

In other words, if you were hoping to find out how to host a website for free, we are sorry to have to tell you that something like that is not really possible if you want your site to be reliable, fast, and secure.

How do I host a website using HTML?

The simplest way to go about this is by using dedicated software that enables you to connect to your cloud storage (like DropBox or Google Drive), get your hands on a website name, and publish content with a few clicks.

Once you’re live, you can configure the site, deploy content, and connect analytics tools to gain insight.

In most cases, software like this will automatically update your website as well if you change the source files. For example, if you change something on your HTML page, the source will automatically be updated as well.

How much does it cost to host a website?

As already mentioned above, costs will depend on a myriad of things, like plan tiers, hosting method, features, and support.

For example, there are fairly good deals when you look at the cheapest WordPress hosting providers.

If you choose to take the self-hosting route, make sure you know how to host a website and that you will be ready to tackle every obstacle and problem that may come along the way.

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