How to host a website
If you're new to website ownership, determining how to host a website may rapidly become quite a daunting task. Fortunately, once you understand your choices, deciding what your site requires in terms of hosting is relatively simple. Understanding the fundamentals should enable you to make wise judgments and select the appropriate hosting type for you and your audience. By the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to start hosting!
Introduction to Web hosting
In a nutshell, web hosting is a service that allows you to publish your website live on the Internet. A web host,which is also known as a hosting provider, is a corporation that supplies the resources you'll need to do so.
There are two ways you can host your website.
- Externally: The website is stored on the hosting provider's server.
- Locally: The website is stored on your computer.
You may wonder, if there's an option to host Locally, why would one pay a company to do the same job?
Well, the answer is simple. The average personal computer isn't powerful enough to host websites. Lots of your resources will burn up, and despite that, your users will experience prolonged load times, which is often a frustrating experience.
So why is there an option for Locally hosting at all? The general purpose of hosting sites locally is to test/develop websites and to monitor changes. An externally hosted version of the site is then made available to users, backed up by a considerably more powerful server provided by the hosting company.
Let's explore how to host a website with the help of a provider.
Hosting a website externally
When it comes to web hosting, everything primarily comes down to one big decision: which provider to go with. We've mentioned five key factors to consider before making this decision below.
Register a domain name
To get your hosting service up and running, you must first register a domain name. The great majority of hosting companies will assist you in obtaining a domain name. When you buy a domain name and a hosting package together, you're generally getting a better deal than if you purchase them individually. For novices, this option should be considered to prevent the need for extra settings.
Choose the most appropriate form of hosting
Mainly there are five types of hosting you can consider:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
Each of these comes with its pros and cons, and it all comes down to the needs of your website. This article will give you in-depth information about the forms of hostings and what would be the best-suited option for your site.
Choosing the hosting company
A hosting platform is a firm that manages your hosting. The provider hosts your site's data and handles its traffic demands in exchange for a monthly charge. They are inexpensive, consistent, and most importantly, take care of the technical aspects. Evaluate your alternatives to find which ones meet your technical criteria – and your budget. Choosing the form of hosting before the provider will help you narrow down the list of companies as you can then compare the pricing of that particular form of hosting rather than rummaging through the long list of providers without knowing what to really compare.
You should also look for the additional features hosting providers have to offer in addition to hosting your website. Some might be really essential for your website, while others might not make a difference at all. Here are some standard features you can look out for:
- SSL Certificates
- Automated Backups
- Content Delivery Network
Lastly, you should also consider the company's customer support options. Customer service is an essential component of every hosting service. Because your connection with your hosting provider is likely to be long-term, it must be able to give any assistance you may want with your account.
Setting a budget
Hosting is a recurring cost. Most providers charge monthly rates; however, others offer yearly contracts. In any case, it's critical to think about what you'll be able to pay daily. There are several low-cost hosting choices available. However, the less expensive solutions might occasionally come with more issues. Web hosting is frequently a case of 'you get what you pay for.'
That's the end of it. Isn't it simple? If you follow these instructions, you will be signed up for a web hosting service that is ready and waiting for your website.
Let's now have a look at how to host a website locally.
Hosting a website locally
Hosting a site on your computer all by yourself is an option that is far from dependable.
It serves as a good guide on how websites function, but that's about it. Connections are sluggish, upkeep is entirely your responsibility, and your computer must be turned on at all times. It's far from perfect.
You can host your website locally in two ways:
- Using a Windows PC as WAMP Server
- Using a Linux PC
Both the approaches are pretty similar except for the fact that instead of the WAMP server for Windows, we'll be using the LAMP server in Linux, again, the only difference being Windows and Linux.
Considering this, let's check out the approach on a windows machine.
Hosting on Windows PC
In this approach, we use our computer as WAMP [Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP] server. These are the elements that make up this server. Let's have an overview of the steps involved.
Install a WAMP software
There are several free programs available. XAMPP and WampServer are amongst the most popular ones. You can install any of the available programs and install them with default settings. This very software allows the computer to act as a server and is where you'll be storing all your website's files.
The first step after installing the WAMP software is to add your site to it. When you open the dashboard, you'll generally find it in the 'www directory.' This is where your website's files are kept. Text files with the extension.php should be used to store your HTML. To add them to your site, place them in the 'www directory.'
Making the site Public
All you've done so far will only be visible to you. When you're satisfied with your work, you can move to Apache and select the httpd.conf file. And alter the settings to make sure they appear as:
order allow, deny
allow from all
And you're done!
Frequently Asked Questions
1). Which is the preferred option to host your website?
Apart from the satisfaction of hosting your website, there are barely any perks. It is too cumbersome and maybe even best avoided, so the option of hosting externally is the one that's more preferred.
2). Which is the best form of hosting if I'm just starting?
For new websites, shared hosting is generally sufficient. However, you must keep in mind that the capacity of a shared hosting service varies from one host to the next. So choose wisely!
Hosting a website does not necessarily have to be difficult. There sure is a lot to think about. The sheer number of options available at each step can also add to the confusion. Learning the fundamentals of hosting and how it works will help you make more intelligent decisions at critical junctures.
By: Pratyksh Sarda