Planning to start a website? Congratulations! We have scouted around for all the details you need to make this a success. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have gathered all it takes to come up with a website, even if you feel like a freshman at this.
It’s a fact many of us want to know how to host a website from home so sit back, grab some popcorn, and let me teach you how to host your own website.
Here’s a brief guide on what to expect:
- Understanding web hosting
- The different types of web hosting
- Choosing the right web host
- Understanding what a domain name is
- Choosing the right domain name for your website
- Registering a domain name
- How much does it cost to host a website?
Understanding Web Hosting
Ever heard of the web? Think of it as a vast unending piece of land. Your website will need a home and it’s on this land that you have to find it a home. So web hosting basically refers to a place where all website owners store their websites. Your essential files, from documents to videos to images will all be kept in a web host.
Web hosts are the companies that rent out their servers/computers for use by people like you who need space to store your website. Besides, they offer internet connectivity so as to enable other computers to access what you have on your website.
More often than not, you will run into the term web hosting which could be interpreted to mean either the hosting company or the server hosting your website. So don’t let that throw you into a confusion. You will also come across another term ‘data center’ in your communications with your web hosts. To put it simply, that’s just a facility where the servers are stored.
The Different Types of Web Hosting
Web hosting services are categorized into plans. So when you start to hunt for a web hosting plan, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the long list of all available options. Not all of them are good for you. So rather than looking up to a marketer to tell you what’s right for you, it’s best if you understand the details under each hosting option. Here’s a short list of the hosting options we are going to cover briefly.
- Shared hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server)
- Cloud based hosting
- Managed hosting
So read on to educate yourself about this.
Of all the available forms of hosting, Shared hosting is currently the most common. On top of that, it’s the least expensive of all. Under shared hosting, various web hosting clients have to share everything from the same computer. All the hosting accounts are kept in the same drive run by the same CPU. Same web server also delivers all the services.
In short, all the websites under the shared hosting accounts compete for the same resources which, more often than not, are scarce. So having a popular or huge site put under this hosting might not go well with you.
Potential for site crashing
Downtime and performance lags when you share the server with a popular site
Not enough customizable options (but perfect for basic WordPress blog)
Security risks due to sharing of the same IP address. If one of you misbehaves and ends up being blacklisted by search engines or marked by email filters, all of you stand to be affected.
Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server hosting comes with a lot of great features. First off, with such a plan, you get full control over the whole server, which means you can modify the operating system, adjust the configuration settings, change the language interpreters and so much more. Of course this comes at a higher cost.
If you look to setting up an enterprise management system, then this the plan that lets you have the control and ability to run that. Since the server is all yours, this means that overall performance is going to be excellent. Your website will also be more secure.
The only major downside to this form of hosting is that it’s expensive.
VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server)
Just as the name puts it, the server is simply a virtual machine. It’s not physical, unlike the two we’ve looked at. What’s good though is that this plan lets you have complete control of things, just as it is with a dedicated server. So if you look to coming up with custom applications or other related businesses, VPS is a great option.
Even though all these virtual machines share server resources, in a VPS environment, they are much few as opposed to a shared hosting environment. Your portion is pretty huge which means that the bandwidth and computing power are pretty much sizeable. Security is also guaranteed. Even though you might share the same IP address, presence of a virtualization layer gives you immunity against issues emanating from other sites.
Cloud Based Hosting
Cloud based hosting is the kind of hosting you need if you expect to hit, on average, tens of thousands of visitors a day and sometimes an unpredictable amount of visitors that goes beyond that. All the other hosting forms we’ve looked at actually have a set limit. All of them come with limitations, from the memory size it can use to storage limits and even the maximum amount of each can handle.
But with cloud hosting, your website will be able to take high traffic or unexpected traffic spikes. The hosting companies attempt to balance resource usage based on the available computer power. Soon as the usage goes up, maybe because one site has recorded a surge in traffic, the systems responds accordingly but limits itself to what the entire system can handle.
What’s good about this form of hosting is that one pays for what they really use. So if you can’t afford expensive web hosting, this is the best option for you.
One downside to this form of hosting is that most of them lack root access. Root access is what you will require if you wish to change server settings or add some software.
So in learning how to host your own website, you need to have all these knowledge about hosting plans at the edge of your mind.
Choosing the Right Web Host
You are not yet done on making choices. Now that you know what to expect, the next task is to look out for a great web hosting company. A quick search on the search engines will bring a long list, each luring you with sweet offers and promising heaven. Interestingly, each one of them insists on offering unlimited resources, access to a friendly and knowledgeable support staff, 99.9% uptime, name it, but it’s a huge mistake to trust them right away.
So we’ve rolled up a few important things that will assist you to reach a correct decision. Take a look.
Price is a big deal to many of us but should it be the ultimate factor in deciding who to host your website with? Absolutely no. More often than not, the cheaply priced hosting packages don’t pack much. Many of them lack the key features that can assist you to set up your website fast and with ease. So rather than basing your decision on price alone, take it a little further and scrutinize the features each host offers under each package then compare the rates to reach a decision.
DOMITREE is a great platform you can use to make your comparisons
Granted, you expect your website to be on top of things but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100% fine all the time. Sometimes you will run into technical hitches like email issues or the site going down. At this point, you will need quick technical help to solve the problem. So look around at what the web hosting company’s customers say about their support staff.
Do they speak your language? Do they offer 24/7 technical support? Find answers to all these questions.
Don’t just take their word for it. Look at the reviews from their customers to see if anyone has raised an issue against their uptime guarantee. What about their reputation in regards to uptime? Also, inquire to find out if they have multiple backup locations for their servers as this usually helps in ensuring 99.9% uptime. The last thing you wish to see is your site not being visible to visitors.
You may reach a point and decide, well, now that I know how to host my own website, it’s time to shift gears and see what it feels like to host with these other companies. So before you choose your web host, read their terms of service and understand what their requirements are when one decides to move their domain name to another host.
Backup is so important when you own a website. Anything could happen and you might end up losing all your data. Alternatively, you might decide to delete it only to realize later that you deleted important files and you need them as soon as possible. Some web hosts offer adequate backup services such as automatic backups, it could be daily or hourly. So watch out what the company offers in relation to this.
Ease of access
Not all web hosting companies will let you have access to your website anytime and anywhere. Some even put a limit on what you can access. Well, these are the companies you should avoid. Ensure the web host you choose can let you access the server and make changes whether it’s in your email, server settings, name it.
Some web hosts have spaces where they specialize best and have a huge following. Most common spaces include blogging, small business, growing business, and e-commerce. A quick search on the web should show you what most of the host’s customers are. Having a host who understands the needs of your industry is a great addition to the success of your website.
Here’s where you need to be so attentive. What else does the hosting company offer besides just hosting your website? Look out for email accounts, email forwarding features, regular data backups, free domain policy, name it. If you find that they offer all these things mostly at no charge, then don’t hesitate to register for their services.
So go right ahead and pick a web host that meets all these requirements