Web Hosting 101: How to Get Started FAST!
So you’re ready to start your own website? Congratulations! Here’s five easy steps to get started without wasting any time!
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. In other words: you need a web server leased to you by a web hosting company.
Also, in order for your visitors to easily access your site by name, you will need a domain name such as `yourdomain.com`. This will allow to make your site available at `www.yourdomain.com` (for example) but this will also allow you to receive email on addresses like `email@example.com`…
Most hosting companies offer all-inclusive packages by default, which include:
a domain name,
the web-hosting itself
several email addresses/mailboxes.
Thus, if you’re just starting out, it is generally a good idea to get both your domain and your hosting in one single sign up with a hosting company. (Depending on your needs, you may or may not want to also take advantage of the email addresses.)
Step 2: Which kind of web site do you want?
Think about your smartphone for a minute: you can enter notes into the basic existing apps, but you can also install new apps on your phone. It’s similar when you get a website: you can put up some basic information using basic tools but you can also install new app, powerful apps… like b2evolution!
It basically boils down to 2 kinds of web sites:
Static sites (simple sites): you will build one or more web pages (called HTML pages) with software like 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…): instead of uploading HTML pages to, you will install a piece of 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 blog/CMS software to kickstart your site and let it grow over the years, but there’s plenty of choice here. Other popular web apps include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, Gallery and plenty more…
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 basically two different technological orientations to choose from here:
Linux hosting: this is also referred to as “LAMP” as in “Linux Apache MySQL PHP” which are the 4 main components of this platform. Today, this is by far the most commonly used system. b2evolution and the other web apps cited above all run on Linux a.k.a. LAMP servers.
Windows hosting: this is also referred to as ASP hosting. ASP is Microsoft’s proprietary technology for web applications. You only want to use this if you plan to run a web application written specifically in ASP.
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, no matter which operating system you use at home or at work.
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 (listed below) but overloaded with ads that you can’t remove and generally very slow. You should only use this for small private sites that do not need to work 24x7.
Shared hosting ($4 to $20/month): this is the most common kind of hosting. A very large server will host the websites of several different clients. Each client has its own account though and – on serious/security aware hosting companies – 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 from each other as if they were actually on different servers. This is recommended 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!
Cloud Hosting (Prices all over the place) : in this case your website shares an array of servers with other sites. This means that your site is not limited to the power of a single server and that the resources allocated to it can grow and shrink on demand depend on how much traffic you get. This is interesting only for very large sites and if you’re just starting out you probably don’t want to get in to the complexity of such a solution.
Most people start with shared hosting, knowing you can always upgrade later, as your site grows. 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 to make a choice between 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 $4 to $10/month range 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. You might also be interested in our test sites.
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 a lower price…
Also remember: you get what you pay for! Cheap prices (except maybe for limited time trial offers) always mean you will have to compromise on the speed of your site, the availability of your site (uptime) or the quality of the technical support. So, if you’re just getting your feet wet, you can go for a cheap package and you can always upgrade later. But if your business is going to depend on your website, make sure you don’t go for an entry level package.
Still confused? Check out this list of top web hosting offers.
Comment from: lynn hudnell Visitor
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.
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.
Comment from: Maryann Visitor
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.
Comment from: Roy Visitor
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.
Comment from: ladykalisse Visitor
great tips guys, keep up the good work
Comment from: Merc Visitor
What protects my sites name from being pirated, in my case the name is the whole thing. this will be a business.
Comment from: deeheat718 Visitor
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?
Comment from: Sanjay Visitor
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.
Comment from: jibonhossain Visitor
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.
Comment from: Shireen Visitor
Thanks for all the help! I am just in the process of creating my first online store!
Comment from: ritesh Visitor
How to get a domain name registered and how to get a web host
Comment from: webhosting news Visitor
i have a question about hosting. HTML sites can be hosted on virtually ANY web server?
Comment from: Zoe Visitor
Thank you, very informative.
Comment from: Corbun Visitor
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?
Comment from: gomathi Visitor
hello.. i hav a wish to start a web site.. how to get hosting and get domain.. any one can help me fredns??? :(
Comment from: suraj bora Visitor
thanks for the info !!!!! incredible help
Comment from: Sam W Visitor
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Comment from: Domain Records Lookup Visitor
Comment from: harish kumar Visitor
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Comment from: Allen Peter Visitor
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Comment from: Anne Visitor
That’s a very good explanation of most of the things that a person should have in mind when deciding how to get started with hosting. Each step has its importance – from choosing between Linux and Windows hosting, to choosing among hosting providers.
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Comment from: Becca Holton Visitor
That comparison of apps on your phone and websites was helpful. I’ve been curious about how to set up a website. I figure that it could be beneficial to take a common and consult with an expert of some kind.
Comment from: nazakatmunawar Member
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Comment from: nazakatmunawar Member
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Comment from: Gnrao Visitor
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