How to Host Your Own Website (It’s Simpler Than You Think)
Having a company but not having your own website, in this day and age, is professional suicide. With around 252,000 new websites springing up each day, building a great business website is easier than ever. It’s worth every penny and a must-have for any company.
So, how do you host your own website? Basically, there are two ways: the easy and the complicated.
Self-Hosting a Website and Why It’s Not Such a Good Idea
To really host your own website, you need a server at your disposal. Only a couple of tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon host their own services and are actually the world’s top cloud service providers.
The alternative route is to host a website on your own machine (server). The idea may look appealing at first, but there are considerable risks involved. Your server needs to be up 24/7 with backups in place if you lose power or if your hardware dies. You also need to pay someone to maintain your server and your website, which is just the tip of the iceberg. It requires time, money, and skills to operate your own server. That’s why opting for a hosting provider instead is a much wiser choice.
Hosting via a Hosting Provider
The best way to host a website is to use a hosting provider instead of hosting a website on your own server. These providers offer the necessary infrastructure and vital tech support that you need for running and growing your business. They ensure that your website is up and running, with some offering a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which means your website can never be down for more than nine hours during an entire year. The only thing you need to do is pick a hosting plan that suits your business needs.
How to Host a Website via a Hosting Provider
The process of hosting a website can be broken down into three simple steps:
- Buy a domain name
- Select a hosting provider and a hosting plan
- Pick a hosting type
How to Host Your Own Website – Step by Step Instructions
The following sections outline in some detail how you should go about finding the right home for your website.
1. Purchase a domain
Each website needs to have an address. In most cases, the address is the same or at least similar to the company's name if that name is not already taken. You can dig up information on the availability of domain names at online domain registers. Just remember that domain hosting isn’t the same as website hosting.
All the major hosting providers offer a plan that includes a domain as part of their package. If your web hosting provider lacks such a package, you can always purchase a domain name from another domain hosting provider.
We would advise you to look for a web hosting provider that can provide you with both because it’s cheaper and drastically simplifies the customization process.
2. Pick a hosting provider
When you pick out a domain name, the next step is to pick a reliable host provider and a hosting plan. The hosting provider gives your website a home on a server. You can host your own website by sharing space on a server with other websites or having an entire server to yourself.
It’s not uncommon for hosting providers to offer domain names as well, allowing you to host your domain and your website with the same provider. Of course, you can always transfer your domain, website, or both to another host.
With more than 330,000 web hosting providers, how do you pick the right one for your website? There are several key factors to consider when choosing the host of your own website and a hosting plan:
- Uptime guarantee
- SSL certificates
- Database type
- Email service
- Customer service
Websites don’t have working hours, so naturally, you want them to be accessible round-the-clock. The last thing you want is for your website to experience upgrade or downtime complications. Therefore, the host of your website must offer an uptime guarantee of 99.5% or above.
If you don’t want your business to suffer financial losses due to server-related issues, look for a hosting provider that offers redundancies. In this case, the redundancy offer refers to compensation for financial losses caused by a server-related issue.
If you ask anyone who works in cybersecurity, they’ll tell you that having a backup is the best way to prevent data loss. The same goes for your website, but you don’t have to deal with it yourself. All the major web host providers offer 24-hour backup, which means that your host backups your website once every 24 hours. In the event of a cyber attack or catastrophic hardware failure, the host can bring your website back to life.
Ensuring user privacy and safety is paramount when hosting your own website. Therefore, you want a website that has an SSL certificate. The SSL certificate will improve your Search Engine Optimization or SEO standing and encrypts data sent between the user and the website, which is crucial for securing online transactions. Some hosts provide them for free, and others are part of a paid hosting plan.
Bandwidth represents the amount of data your website traffic generates, and contrary to common misconceptions, it doesn’t have anything to do with speed.
One of the more challenging questions when hosting a site is determining the amount of bandwidth your website needs. It mostly comes down to your expected web traffic and the type of website. If you plan on storing plenty of videos and images on the site, you’ll need more bandwidth. On the other hand, if the website is mainly text-based, you’ll need less. If you run out of bandwidth, your hosting provider may charge you extra, or the website could become inaccessible.
Different types of websites use different types of databases. The most common type of database is MySQL, but the one you choose will depend exclusively on your website. From there, find a host for your own website that offers the same database type as part of their hosting plan.
One of the advantages of hosting your own website is access to an email service from your provider. No longer will your email end with @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. Instead, you’ll have an email address ending with @yourdomainame.com. Most hosting providers offer unlimited accounts.
Business owners hope to see their ventures grow and expand. When that happens, your website needs to be able to accommodate an uptick in traffic and activity. You want to be sure that your web host offers a way for you to upgrade your hosting plan when need be.
The best part about web hosting providers is that they do all the heavy lifting of hosting your own website, but you should still retain a certain degree of control. That is where accessibility comes into play. Your host provider should give you access to your website's control panel, allowing you to easily manage and monitor your website.
Like any service provider, web hosting providers should have 24/7 customer service to help you with any technical problems you may face. The availability of technical support is a crucial consideration when picking a hosting provider and a hosting plan.
3. Choose a suitable hosting plan
All that is left to do now is pick a hosting plan. There are five different types of web hosting options to choose from.
Types of hosting:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Managed WordPress hosting
If you are starting and don’t expect a lot of traffic, then shared hosting is the way to go. As the name suggests, you share the server and its resources with other websites. It’s suitable for small businesses and blogs that aren’t video or image-heavy.
Shared hosting doesn’t have enough resources to keep any medium-size or eCommerce business website running smoothly, which can lead to a bad user experience and a potential loss of customers.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting is a step up from a shared server hosting plan. VPS hosting is still a shared server solution, but with far fewer websites hosted on the same server. Multiple websites share the same hardware, but each one runs on a virtual machine with its own allocated resources.
Hosting your website on a VPS is the closest thing you can have to a dedicated server. It has fewer resources than a dedicated server, but it’s also more affordable. That is why VPS hosting is perfect for medium-size or eCommerce-oriented websites.
Cloud hosting is the fastest-growing sector in the web hosting industry. It provides a reliable and scalable solution for any business. The top cloud hosting providers can keep your website online 24/7 thanks to cloud technology.
Cloud works on a decentralized principle, while other types of hosting work on a centralized principle. With the centralized approach, your website is stored in a single data center. Since the cloud hosting is decentralized, your website is shared between several data centers that don’t even have to be on the same continent.
Dedicated server hosting is the favorite choice for businesses that cannot afford slow connection speeds and service disruptions. With a dedicated server, you don’t share any resources with anyone. The server is entirely yours, and you have complete control over it.
If you are looking to get a dedicated server for your company, you have to be aware that there are two distinct types of hosting plans. One gives you complete control, and you have to manage everything. In most cases, companies hire a server administrator who handles such tasks. The second plan is a fully managed plan by the web hosting provider. Not all web hosting companies offer this type of plan, and even when they do, it costs extra.
Managed WordPress Hosting
First of all, you can run WordPress on any type of hosting. But managed WordPress hosting is a specialized web hosting service for businesses that use WordPress for their content management system or CMS. The best web hosting companies offer fully managed hosting plans, which enables you to dedicate more time to growing your business.
4. Build a website and upload it to your hosting space
If you’re starting from scratch, you can turn to a website builder or a web hosting provider that offers website building services. Once you have a website, you’ll have to upload it to your hosting space. You should be able to do it from the web hosting control panel, customize the website, make the necessary adjustments, and go live.
If you choose a managed hosting solution, the provider takes care of all the maintenance, security, software updates, and data backups needed to keep your website operational. With an unmanaged solution, the business behind the website is responsible for all of the configurations. The unmanaged option is only suitable for businesses with efficient IT departments and experienced web developers.
There is a lot that needs to be considered when picking the right web hosting provider, and we aren’t talking just about the technical side and web hosting pricing plans. Now that you know how to host your own website, it’s essential to evaluate what your business needs, and only then should you look for a hosting provider.
Yes, GoDaddy is one of the leading domain and web hosting providers. It offers multiple types of hosting and hosting plans that can accommodate different needs.
Some companies offer free website hosting, but such offers are extremely limited and generally used for testing out the service or learning the basics.
No, Google doesn’t provide a free hosting solution, but it does offer a free trial.
Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.
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