How to Host a Website in 2020 – Beginner’s Guide

host a website

So, you want to host your website, but you have no knowledge regarding website hosting. Worry not because you can start hosting your website in five easy steps, which I’ll explain later on. You don’t need any technical knowledge to be able to start creating your website.

According to, you can get a web hosting plan for as low as $0.99/month. It includes the basic things you need to run a website as a beginner. So besides being easy to use, web hosting is also cheap, if you look at the right hosting provider. Meanwhile, an SSL certificate can be obtained for free, from providers like Cloudflare.

Now I’ll give you a brief explanation of the simple terms that you need to know when creating a website. Then I’ll dive into the five simple steps.

How to Host a Website: Overview

Hosting a website means that you place your website that you’ve created on a particular computer called a server. The server allows your website to be viewed by other people on the internet, so that means anyone can visit it. For the server to make your website visible, it needs web server software.

There are two general ways to host a website, using a hosted platform or a self-hosted one. Here we’ll focus on self-hosting as it is the more common option for people who want to have a custom, or WordPress website, which is the most popular option. 

Self-hosted means that you create your website from scratch, then you buy space on a hosting provider’s server to place your website for the public. Everything is customizable, and you can do anything you want with your website, thus requiring you to know about website building and coding.

Now some alternatives types of hosting other than the two mentioned above are:

  • Reseller hosting – sell hosting services to other sites.
  • Colocation hosting – have your physical server but uses a hosting provider’s resources.

1. Choose a Reputable Hosting Provider

How to Host a Website in 2020 – Beginner’s Guide
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When you search online for hosting providers, you’ll find an endless list of them, and you can’t possibly look at every one of them. To make it easier for you, there are some factors you should consider when you are looking for a hosting provider. Those are:

  • Know how much guidance you need from the hosting provider – There are a few hosting providers provide in-depth guidance when hosting your website. Some even have the tools to make the process of creating your website more accessible. By knowing how much help you need, you can eliminate a few hosting providers.
  • Estimate how big you want your website to be – hosting providers have different plans based on the resources you need. Some of them will be cheaper than others, and some will be more expensive.
  • Know which type of hosting you need – Do you want a shared hosting or a virtual space just for yourself or an entire server for yourself? 
  • Know how the pricing works – as mentioned before, hosting providers charge based on the resources you need, they have different pricing plans, and some are even free. But free isn’t always the best option as perhaps it has extra costs inside that you need to buy if you want your website to run correctly.
  • Look at the “2019 best hosting provider” list – If you’re still confused, take a look at last year”s best hosting provider. Usually, the rank won’t differ that much, and those hosting providers are most likely still at the top.

2. Choose a Hosting Plan That’s Appropriate for Your Project

After you found the hosting provider of your choice, you now have another hosting plan options laid out for you, each having their benefits. Those hosting plans differ by the type of web hosting and a website you are creating. Here are a few examples of hosting plans:

  • Shared hosting –  the most affordable option for hosting where your website is stored on the same server with other websites, and the server’s resources are shared. Suitable for beginners, bloggers & small business owners.
  • Virtual private server hosting – your website is still on a shared server, but you get your dedicated resources. Useful for more experienced users and businesses who have outgrown their shared hosting resources.
  • Dedicated hosting – You rent an entire physical server for yourself, thus also getting the whole resources. Suitable for experts and businesses with very high traffic and needs excellent uptime.
  • eCommerce hosting – Optimized for you who want to set up an online store

There are many more hosting plans which hosting providers give. You should take your time and pick the right one for you before proceeding to the next step.

3. Link Your Domain Name to Your Hosting Account

Now you should get your domain name. Usually, hosting providers have services to help you with this, such as a domain name checker where you can check if your domain name is available, give you creative alternatives, and purchase the domain name through the hosting provider.

The general idea on how to link your domain name to your hosting account is as follows:

  1. Login to your hosting provider’s control panel
  2. Find the domain manager
  3. Assign a domain to your account
  4. Input your domain name and point the records required
  5. Confirm the domain assignment

4. Enable SSL Encryption (HTTPS)

Generally, hosting providers will provide you with the option to include an SSL certificate as you’re choosing your hosting plan. It may be free or comes at an extra cost; it depends on the hosting provider. SSL certificates are essentially data files that encrypt the session between your website with the browser. A small but necessary step to add extra security to your site.

However, should the hosting provider you choose don’t have SSL encryption enabled, that means you’ll need to purchase it online and tell your hosting provider that you have SSL encryption. 

Usually, they will help you with integrating it on your site. SSL certificates have expiry dates, usually one to two years. Since you’re buying manually, make sure to check whether your certification is still valid or not regularly.

5. Create, Install or Transfer Your Website

How to Host a Website in 2020 – Beginner’s Guide
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Once everything is set up, now you can start creating your website. There are many methods to do this. You can use Content Management Systems like WordPress to build your website or transfer your website’s files and database from another server.

If you’re a beginner, I would recommend using a website builder first, since it is straightforward and easy to understand. Website builders usually have pre-made templates that you can customize its elements to your liking. Some website builders even have tools to help you with your content.

CMS is for those who have more experience as it requires necessary web design skills to get the best out of it.

Now that you know how to host a website. All that’s left for you to do is to start doing it. Remember to take the time to go through each step. 

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