As advanced as it may sound at first, anyone can host their own website. Doing so will not only save you money, but it will also give you more control. The good news is that the process of learning how to host your own website is quite easy, and you don’t need to be experienced in web development. Follow along to learn how to connect your site to a web hosting provider in minutes.
1. Choose a content management system (CMS)
If you haven’t decided which platform you’re going to use to build your site, then the first step is to choose a content management system (CMS). The reason for this is that how your website presents itself will depend on what platform your website is built on. For the average person building a website, the decision comes down to two main types of platforms: WordPress or an all-in-one website builder, such as Wix, Squarespace or Shopify.
The main differences between WordPress and website builders are ease of use, customization capabilities, and cost. Although WordPress is a free, open source CMS, it does require third-party web hosting. It is much more flexible and gives users the ability to create just about any type of website with just about any functionality. However, it is much more complicated to use and involves a fairly steep learning curve. While website builders are designed to make building websites easy. It includes web hosting, so there is no need to buy and connect third party web hosting.
2. Buy a web hosting service
If you choose WordPress, the next step is to choose a web hosting service. There are a number of web hosting providers, such as Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostinger and IONOS, which all offer similar but slightly different features (eg storage and bandwidth limits, uptime guarantees, speed, contract length and price.
If you’re hosting a new website, it’s worth choosing a web hosting plan that includes features like a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and one-click WordPress installation, like Bluehost. While hosting an existing website, it’s worth finding a web host that offers a free WordPress site migration service, such as Hostinger.
For additional insights and help choosing the right hosting service, check out the best web hosting services.
3. Get a domain name
In case you don’t already own a domain name, get your domain directly from one of the best domain registrars, such as Namecheap, Domain.com or Google Domains. Alternatively, you can register your domain name with any registrar, but your web hosting provider may provide you with a free domain name included with your account. This means that you do not have to pay the registration fees for the first year you work.
It is generally advisable to get your domain name from your web hosting provider as it will save you time as it eliminates the need to manually connect your domain to your web host. If you’re not sure where to start, learn more about how to register a domain name.
4. Connect your domain to your web host
The process of connecting your domain name to your web host varies depending on where you got your domain name from. For example, if you were given a domain name by your web hosting provider, it will automatically be linked to your web host. If you already own a domain name, you will need to manually connect your domain to your web host.
To do this, go to the website where you purchased your domain name (eg Namecheap or GoDaddy). From there, go to your domain name settings to point your domain to the hosting server. Within your web hosting account, you should have found name servers, known as domain name servers, or DNS. These addresses are where you show your domain name so that when people type in “www.yourdomain.com” they land on whatever content you’re hosting on the server you’ve chosen.
When you have located the name servers, you need to log into your domain name settings and click on your “DNS Settings” tab. You then simply replace the current domain name servers with those provided to you by your web host. If you save it, your domain will start pointing to your hosting server within a few hours, but it can be pretty instantaneous.
5. Install WordPress (or migrate an existing website)
The final step in the process is to install WordPress on your domain through your web hosting account. Most of the leading web hosting providers offer free one-click WordPress installation, which allows users to connect their domain and web hosting plan to WordPress with just one click. How you access the one-click installation feature will depend on which web hosting provider you’ve chosen, but it’s typically accessible via your web hosting account or cPanel.
If you already have an existing WordPress site and are connecting to a new hosting provider, the easiest way to connect is by using a WordPress migration service. These are often available for free through your web hosting provider. However, some hosts charge an additional fee for this migration service.
Bottom Line: Maintain your own website
The idea of hosting your own website can feel daunting at first – especially if you are not particularly experienced in the field of web development. However, web hosting providers have come a long way and now do a great job of helping users easily host their own websites. If you run into any problems along the way, most hosts offer comprehensive help centers as well as live support, so your host is generally the first line of defense when users run into problems.
For more information, check out the step-by-step instructions on how to build a website.