Learn how to host a website step by step with our beginner-friendly guide. Establish your online presence and grow your brand.
An online presence is vital for any modern business, and building one is easier than ever. If you’re eager to make a website that’s truly your own but find yourself overwhelmed by the thought of website hosting, we’ve got your back!
This intuitive, step-by-step guide on how to host a website will demystify the process and get you on the digital map. Dive in and discover how simple it is to create your own little corner of the internet.
What does it mean to host a website? 🏠
Website hosting is a fundamental aspect of establishing an online presence for your brand. It provides a virtual storage space for your website’s files, content, and data, making them accessible to internet users in an attractive format. This may come as a surprise, but every existing website, from small personal blogs to global e-commerce platforms, employs a web-hosting provider to make its content available.
Hosting a website involves two main elements: a web-hosting service provider and a domain name (the address used to access the website). Website hosting makes your site visible and accessible to users around the world, allowing you to connect with your target audience and grow your business.
Things to consider before hosting a website 🤔
Before hosting a website, there are several vital things to consider — some of which make up your website’s tech stack. Ask yourself the following questions to help you select a hosting provider suited to your needs:
- What kind of website am I developing? The type of website you’re building — whether it’s a simple blog, an e-commerce platform, or something else entirely — influences the storage, bandwidth, and features you’ll require.
- What bandwidth will I need? Estimate the traffic and data transfer levels you anticipate for your website to choose bandwidth and storage amounts that support optimal performance. For example, data-heavy websites with multimedia assets require more bandwidth than those composed mostly of text.
- How much technical expertise do I have? Assess your tech-savviness and how much help you need to manage your hosting environment. Do you prefer a provider that offers comprehensive support and management services or one that allows for more hands-on control?
- What is my hosting budget? Consider your budget for hosting, taking into account that costs vary significantly between providers and hosting plans. Prioritize the features that are most essential to your website’s success.
5 steps for hosting a website 🪜
Website hosting isn’t as complex as it might seem. Breaking it down into manageable steps will help you navigate the process and build a powerful online presence for your brand. Follow these five steps to get started:
1. Determine the type of website you want to build ⚖️
2. Select a Content Management System (CMS) 🗃️
Choose a CMS to build your website. These software platforms simplify creating, managing, and updating your website content. Popular options include WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. WordPress requires third-party hosting, while website builders do not.
3. Choose a web hosting service and opt for a suitable hosting plan ☁️
Research web hosting providers and select one that offers the features, performance, and support you need. Popular options include Bluehost, IONOS, DreamHost, and Hostinger. The best cloud web hosting services include InMotion Hosting, GoDaddy, and SiteGround.
4. Look for a domain name
Your domain name is your website’s unique online address, also called a URL. Search for an available domain name that reflects your company’s name or services and register it with a domain registrar. Your web hosting provider may offer you a free domain name — if not, try Namecheap, Domain.com, or Google Domains.
5. Link your domain to your web host 🔗
Connect your domain name to your hosting account by updating the domain’s DNS settings. This directs it to your hosting provider’s web server and ensures users can access your website using your domain name. If you get your domain name directly from your web hosting provider, it will be connected automatically.
Looking for a streamlined process? Try Contra’s Portfolio tool to effortlessly design your brand's professional online presence.
What is a website host? 🖱️
A website host is a company offering the necessary services, infrastructure, and technologies to make websites accessible on the internet. Also called web hosting providers, they rent out space on their servers to store websites’ files, content, and data. When a user navigates to your website via its domain name, the website host’s server sends them the required files to display your website.
Where to host a website 🏘️
Picking a web hosting service is a crucial part of launching your website. Every host offers unique features and benefits that cater to different requirements. Here are some popular choices:
- Managed WordPress hosting. This hosting service is optimized specifically for WordPress websites. It offers caching, backups, and updates tailored to the WordPress platform — essentially a concierge for your website.
- Shared hosting. Shared hosting plans are an economical option that hosts multiple websites on a single server, sharing resources such as bandwidth and storage. It’s perfect for smaller websites and businesses that are just getting started.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting is a flexible, shared hosting solution where your website is hosted on a virtual server partitioned from other users. This gives you more control while remaining affordable.
Things to consider when choosing a website host ⚡
Now that you know some of your options, there are a few essential factors to size up when choosing a website host. Consider the following aspects to select the best hosting provider for your needs:
- User-friendliness. Look for a hosting provider that offers an intuitive interface. You must be able to easily manage your website and hosting services, even if you’re not technology-proficient.
- Safety. Choose a hosting provider that implements robust security measures, such as firewalls and SSL certificates, to protect you and your customers from potential threats.
- Reliability. Do your research to find a dependable hosting provider and avoid downtime for your website.
- Technical support. Your provider should offer responsive, knowledgeable technical support. First-time hosting can be confusing, but good customer service makes it more accessible.
- Adaptability and scalability. As your business grows, your hosting needs may change. A hosting provider with a flexible web hosting plan allows you to scale and adapt your hosting environment as needed.
Offer your services on Contra 💫
With the proper knowledge and tools, hosting a new website is straightforward and rewarding. Following the steps outlined above will help you confidently choose a hosting provider, set up your website, and keep it running smoothly.
Once your small business website is up and running, take the plunge and offer your Independent services on Contra. Our platform connects freelancers with clients worldwide. The best part? It’s commission-free. And if you’re looking to hire a web designer or web developer, you can hire them here.