How to Host a Website for Beginners (Locally and/or Publicly)

Building a new website requires a lot of decision-making, including hosting. If you’re new to website ownership, figuring out how to host a website can quickly become confusing and overwhelming.

Fortunately, once you know the options available to you, determining what your site needs in terms of accommodation is quite basic. Figuring out the basics should prepare you to make smart decisions and choose the type of hosting that’s best for you and your audience.

Website Hosting for Beginners: What It Is and Why You Need It

In short, web hosting is a service that makes it possible to publish your site live on the Internet. A web server, also called a hosting service provider, is a company that provides the tools you need to accomplish this.

In particular, that includes a server. Servers store website files, and Internet browsers can communicate with them to deliver your site pages to visitors. This is what makes hosting such a key element of setting up a website – without it, you have no way to make your site public.

It is important to note that there are two ways to host a site. web: (1) externally/publicly, and (2) locally.

A locally hosted website is stored on your own machine – home server (this is also called self hosting), while an externally hosted site is stored on a provider’s server.

If you already know how you need to host your website, you can access more detailed information now:

  • 👉 How to host a website on the web
  • 👉 How to host your own website locally

While you may want to forgo external hosting to save money, hosting your own website locally is usually not powerful enough for even a small company’s website. company. Your users will experience extremely slow load times and your own resources will likely be exhausted.

In contrast, local sites are typically used for testing and development or staging and are only seen by the site owner and/or or developer. An externally hosted copy of the site is made public to users, backed by a much more powerful server from a web host.

Local and external hosting are often used together. However, if you only need a private site for development, you may only need local hosting. Similarly, if a website is very small and simple, website owners can often do without a test site and just use external hosting.

How to host a website on the web ( 5 Key Considerations)

When hosting a website on the Internet, it all comes down to one important decision: which provider to choose. Here are five main things to consider when choosing a web hosting service.

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1. Determine the best type of hosting for your site

For WordPress users, there are five main types of hosting to consider:

  1. Shared hosting (this is often the most cheap)
  2. Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting)
  3. Dedicated Hosting
  4. Cloud Hosting
  5. Managed WordPress Hosting

Here’s a quick overview of each hosting type and how they stack up against each other in terms of features:

FeaturesShared HostingVirtual Private ServersDedicated ServersCloud HostingManaged WordPress Hosting Speed2-33-44 -54-54-5 Stability4-54-54-554 -5 Scalability13554 Options to customize3-45555 Price range$2-$4$2-$20$80-$260$20-$100$4-$28 Best forBeginners launching their first siteMedium traffic sitesSites with high traffic (more than 100,000 visits)All, depending on the planWordPress sites with traffic ico media Hosts to ConsiderBluehost // DreamHostInMotion Hosting // HostGatorInMotion HostingKinsta // A2 Hosting // WP EngineSiteGround // Bluehost

Each has its pros and cons. There is no “best web hosting”, it all depends on the needs of your website. Very small sites often do well with a shared hosting plan. However, the other types will give your site a lot of room to grow and will likely provide better performance, especially at times of peak traffic and more uptime.

A specific WordPress hosting plan can be very useful as it takes some of the work of maintaining your site off your hands. It also usually provides tools or services that you would need for your WordPress site anyway, saving you from having to make additional purchases.

There are other types of niche web hosting dedicated to different types of websites with optimizations tailored to the details of those websites. For example, if you want to run an e-commerce store, some providers offer optimized plans for that.

2. Browse the additional features available from various providers

In addition to hosting your website on one of their servers, many hosting providers, especially those with managed WordPress plans, offer useful features that you may want for your site.Some common ones include:

  • Domain Name Registration
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • SSL Certificates
  • Security features such as firewalls or regular scans
  • Automated backups
  • Externally hosted staging areas
  • Email services
  • Website Builders

WordPress hosting plans sometimes also offer access to premium themes, automatic WordPress updates, and WordPress-related customer support. It’s definitely worth considering what additional features you might need or want for your site.

3. Look at Customer Support Options from Different Providers

Customer support is a key element of any hosting service. Your relationship with your hosting provider is likely to be a long-term one, so it’s important that they can provide any help you may need regarding your account, cPanel (control panel), server, or even WordPress itself.

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Self-service support options such as user forums, documentation, or even blog posts can help you quickly overcome bumps in the road. The 24/7 availability is also useful for getting you in touch with support quickly and helping you get in touch with someone from your web hosting company in the event of a server-related error.

If you’re looking for more guidance related to customer support, our WordPress Hosting Survey above contains some valuable data that you may want to consider. Over 800 WordPress users rated various popular hosts on their WordPress-specific and general customer support, so you’ll know what to expect.

4. Set a hosting budget and find a hosting deal that works for you

Hosting is an ongoing expense. Most providers require you to pay monthly fees, though some offer annual plans. Either way, it’s important to consider what you’ll be able to afford on a regular basis.

There are many affordable housing options out there. However, as we mentioned earlier, the cheapest options sometimes present other problems. Web hosting is often a “you get what you pay for” situation.

Every site’s budget is different, so we can’t decide exactly what type of plan is best for you. Our best recommendation is to look for plans that are low cost, but still provide good functionality and high performance scores.

5. Find out how you’ll install WordPress on your provider’s server

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consider how you’ll install WordPress, your content management system, on your new hosting account. While this may seem unimportant at first, your WordPress installation options can make a big difference in the ease of setting up your website.

No matter which hosting provider you choose, you can always install WordPress by hand. This involves accessing your server via File Transfer Protocol (FTP), using a client such as FileZilla.

Some managed WordPress hosts also offer a one-click install option that allows you to install quickly the software on your account. . There are even plans that come with WordPress pre-installed, which is the easiest solution.

How to Locally Host Your Own Website (2 Methods)

There are several methods available to host a site locally. . Which one is best for you will depend on the needs of your particular site, so let’s look at two popular options.

1. Create a site using a local web stack

A local web stack, such as XAMPP, is software that provides various components needed for local development, including a web server. The main benefit of using this method is that it gives you the most control over your site:

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XAMPP Web Server Software .

In addition, XAMPP keeps your local site completely private and unavailable to other users. The downside is that it’s a bit difficult to set up. You’ll need to install XAMPP and manually install WordPress for it to work.

Also, it’s important to note that while you can use a WordPress site hosted through XAMPP to test plugins or practice coding, you can’t use it to create a true staging site. Due to differences in hardware configuration, features that work on a XAMPP WordPress installation will not necessarily work on a live WordPress site.

2. Sign up for a virtual sandbox environment

A much easier way to create a local WordPress site, and host your live site, is to use a virtual sandbox environment. These platforms, including Local by Flywheel, allow you to easily create local WordPress installations:

Local by Flywheel is completely free to use. All you have to do is sign up, download the app, and start building sites. However, you will want to make sure that you configure your settings so that your sites are not visible to search engines and their SEO crawlers.

Also, keep in mind that while your sites will be hosted locally, technically you’ll still rely on a third-party resource. In the event Flywheel stops supporting the platform, you’ll need to find another solution (although there’s no indication this could happen any time soon).

Conclusion

This includes keeping in mind the differences between local and external hosting, and your options for using each:

  1. Local hosting involves using your computer as a server for your website and can be set up through a local web stack like XAMPP or a virtual sandbox environment like Local by Flywheel.
  2. External (on the web) hosting requires you to choose a hosting provider and one of their web hosting plans. When making a decision, you’ll want to consider hosting types, features, customer support, price, and ease of setup. The hosts we recommend are Bluehost ($2.75/mo), SiteGround ($2.99/mo), and WP Engine ($20/mo – high-end host).

Do you have any questions about hosting a website? Ask them in the comments section below!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we will receive A commission. . Don’t worry though, you’ll still pay the standard amount, so there’s no cost to you.

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