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Web Hosting 101: How to GET STARTED FAST!

  May 14, 2008 • Category: Tips

So you're ready to have your own website?

Congratulations! Here's five easy steps to get started without wasting any time! B)

Step 1: How does it work?

In order for your website to be available to anyone at anytime, you need to host it with a web host (i-e a web server leased to you by a web hosting company).

Also, in order for your visitor to easily access your site by name, you will need a domain name such as yourname.com.

Most hosting companies will offer you a package including a domain name with the hosting of your site.

Step 2: Which kind of web site do you want?

Basically, there are 2 kinds of web sites:

  • Static sites (simple sites): you will build one or more web pages (called HTML pages) with software like FrontPage or DreamWeaver on your computer. You will then upload the pages to your host's server using FTP software like FileZilla for example.

    Every time you will need to change something on your site, you will have to edit the pages on your computer and upload them again. The website never changes by itself. That's why it's called a "static" site.

    Note: If you don't have any such software, don't worry: many web hosts will actually provide you with free "site builder" software to get you started.

  • Dynamic sites (blogs, forums, photo galleries...): you will install software (called a web application) on your web server. This software will let you add and edit content (text, pictures, videos...) at any time directly online without the need for any special tools on your computer. The software may also allow your visitors to leave comments or start discussions of their own if you let them.

    Of course we recommend the b2evolution software to start your own blog and more but there's plenty of choice here. Other popular web apps include WordPress, phpBB and Gallery.

    Note: If installing a web application sounds complicated, don't worry: many web hosts will automatically install the application of your choice for you. Their tech support should also be able to help you.

Step 3: Which hosting technology do you need?

While static HTML sites can be hosted on virtually ANY web server, when it comes to web applications, you need to be aware of the technology they are using. There are 2 main categories here:

  • Linux hosting: this is also referred to as LAMP as in Linux Apache MySQL PHP which are the main technologies here. b2evolution for example runs on LAMP servers.
  • Windows hosting: this is also referred to as ASP hosting. ASP is Microsoft's technology for web applications.

Note: even if you use Windows on your own computer, you will generally want to go with Linux hosting *unless* you specifically need ASP. Linux hosting is generally faster, cheaper and more flexible than Windows hosting and poses no compatibility problem at all (beyond ASP). For example, all Linux hosts will work fine with a site you designer on DreamWeaver on your PC/Windows.

Step 4: What hosting service level do you need?

There is a whole range of service levels in web hosting. These can roughly be broken down like this:

  • Free hosting ($0): this is like shared hosting below but overloaded with ads and generally very slow. You should only use this for small private sites that do not need to work reliably.
  • Shared hosting ($4 to $10/month): this is the most common kind of hosting. A very large server will host the websites of several different clients. Each client has it's own account though and is isolated from other clients.
  • VPS (Virtual Private Servers) ($30 to $40/month): Again a large server will host several websites but this time, the sites are strongly isolated by each other as if they were actually on different servers. This is needed if you have high security constraints.
  • Dedicated Servers ($79 to $399/month): Here you get a whole physical server for yourself. That is very comfortable, fast and secure... but pricey!

Generally you will always want to start with shared hosting, knowing you can always upgrade later. Shared hosting gives you professional web hosting capabilities at the fraction of the price of a dedicated server.

Step 5: Choose a hosting company

Once you have settled on Linux vs Windows and Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated, you will still have many offers from many different companies...

A lot of companies will offer you incredible disk space and bandwidth to host your site. Don't fall for it! All hosting plans in the $5 to $10/month today offer more space and bandwidth than you could possibly need when starting a new site.

If you ask us, there are 3 things you want to look at when choosing between similar hosting offers:

  • Performance: how fast will your site be? The best way is to check out a website you know is already hosted by the company you have in mind.
  • Uptime: will your site be available 24x7 or will it be "down" from time to time... which can be very annoying? Reviews and user comments will give you an idea pretty quickly.
  • Customer service! This is the hardest part to evaluate. If service is important to you, read reviews and user comments very carefully. However, if you tend to figure out things by yourself anyway, you may as well go for the cheapest prices...

Still confused? Our current best recommendations are HostMonster for the best technical platform and InMotion Hosting for the best customer support.

16 comments

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Comment from: suraj bora [Visitor]  
4 stars
suraj bora

thanks for the info !!!!! incredible help

12/16/13 @ 11:03
Comment from: gomathi [Visitor]  
gomathi

hello.. i hav a wish to start a web site.. how to get hosting and get domain.. any one can help me fredns??? :(

12/08/13 @ 09:30
Comment from: Corbun [Visitor]  
5 stars
Corbun

I have several websites, do I need a hosting package for each website or can I have just one hosting package that will host all of my websites?

02/02/13 @ 18:42
Comment from: Zoe [Visitor]
Zoe

Thank you, very informative.

12/23/12 @ 11:40
Comment from: webhosting news [Visitor]
5 stars
webhosting news

i have a question about hosting. HTML sites can be hosted on virtually ANY web server?

08/29/12 @ 12:01
Comment from: ritesh [Visitor]
4 stars
ritesh

How to get a domain name registered and how to get a web host

07/07/12 @ 07:31
Comment from: Shireen [Visitor]
5 stars
Shireen

Thanks for all the help! I am just in the process of creating my first online store!

07/03/12 @ 05:49
Comment from: jibonhossain [Visitor]
jibonhossain

I have a question regarding hosting. I have recently purchased from this web site and I had unaware that the hosting service. So I am trying find out if I may buy one of these hosting Programmes if I have already my site? The majority of these plans provide the website in the box.

05/10/12 @ 19:51
Comment from: Sanjay [Visitor]  
5 stars
Sanjay

Hi I am beginer in field of in this field and want to start my own website .

Can you describe the steps I need to follow for that.

Regards
Sanjay Mishra

04/05/12 @ 08:46
Comment from: deeheat718 [Visitor]  
4 stars
deeheat718

I have a question. I already have a domain name. But I am not quite ready to open up a website. But I currently want a web host so I can have personal e mail addresses. Can I have a web host even though I dont want to put up a website just yet?

01/20/12 @ 16:31
Comment from: Merc [Visitor]
5 stars
Merc

What protects my sites name from being pirated, in my case the name is the whole thing. this will be a business.

01/04/12 @ 22:28
Comment from: ladykalisse [Visitor]  
4 stars
ladykalisse

great tips guys, keep up the good work

03/10/11 @ 12:01
Comment from: Roy [Visitor]
Roy

I concur with this blog admin, affordable hosting play a very significant role as it promotes or smashes a business in the dust, so it is very important to choose an appropriate web Hosting service which is affordable for all. If online money making is in your mind then you need to first consider an eligible and affordable hosting service for your business. It facilitates you to choose services, set-ups and payment options; in short all the basic needs you need to start your business online and compete with your competitors.

03/01/11 @ 15:26
Comment from: Maryann [Visitor]  
Maryann

I went through the trouble of downloading a template with a css and am almost finished customizing it. (What a learning curve!) QUESTION: When I sign up with one of your recommended hosting sites, will I have to abandon my work and start over with their software? I have written several blog entries but haven’t chosen anything like wordpress as yet.

10/31/10 @ 00:03
Comment from: fplanque [Member]  

Yes you can purchase a new hosting program even if you already have a domain or a website.

If you already have a domain name you can just specify the existing domain name when you sign up with the new hosting provider.

If you already have a complete website, you need to make sure that you sign up for a compatible hosting platform. In that case you might want to check with a sales representative of the company you have selected.

07/08/08 @ 05:04
Comment from: lynn hudnell [Visitor]  
5 stars
lynn hudnell

I have a question about hosting. I’ve recently bought this website above and I wasn’t aware of the need of hosting. So I’m trying to figure out if I can purchase one of these hosting programs if I already have my website? Most of these plans offer the website in the package.

07/08/08 @ 04:57