As advanced as it may seem at first, anyone can host their own site. Doing so will save you money and give you more control. The good news is that learning how to host your own website is 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 already decided which platform to use to build your site, the first step is to choose a content management system (CMS). The reason is that how you host your site depends on what platform your site is built on. For the average person building a site, the decision comes down to two main platforms: WordPress or an all-in-one website builder, such as Wix, Squarespace or Shopify.
The key differences between WordPress and website builders are ease of use, customization capabilities, and cost. Although WordPress is a free, open-source CMS, it requires third-party web hosting. It is more flexible, giving users the ability to create any site with any functionality. However, it is very complicated to use and involves a fairly steep learning curve. However, website builders are designed to make building websites easy. They include web hosting so there is no need to purchase and link to third party web hosting.
2. Buy a web hosting service
If you opt for WordPress, the next step is to choose a web hosting service. There are several web hosting providers like Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostinger, and IONOS, all with similar but slightly different feature sets (eg, storage and bandwidth limits, uptime guarantees, speed, contract length, and pricing).
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. However, if you’re hosting an existing site, it’s worth finding a web host that offers free WordPress site migration services, such as Hostinger.
Check out the best web hosting services for more insights and help choosing the right hosting service.
3. Get a domain name
If you don’t already have a domain name, get your domain directly from a great domain registrar like Namecheap, Domain.com or Google Domains. Alternatively, you can register your domain name with any registrar, but your web hosting provider can provide you with a free domain name included in your account. This means you don’t have to pay an initial registration fee for a job.
It is generally a good idea to get your domain name from your web host provider as this will save you time as it eliminates the need to manually link 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 depends on where you got your domain name from. For example, if you get a domain name through your web hosting provider, it will connect directly 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 site where you purchased your domain name (for example, Namecheap or GoDaddy). From there, go to Settings for your domain name to point your domain to the host server. In your web hosting account, you should have been assigned domain name servers, or name servers known as DNS. These addresses point to your domain name so that when people type in “www.yourdomain.com” they land on whatever content you’re hosting on your chosen server.
After finding the name servers, you need to go into your domain name settings and click on the “DNS Settings” tab. Then you simply replace the existing domain name servers with those provided by your web host. When you set this up, your domain will start pointing to your hosting server within a few hours, but it can be much faster.
5. Install WordPress (or migrate an existing site)
The final step in the process is to install WordPress to your domain through your web hosting account. Most of the leading web hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation that allows users to connect their domain and web hosting plan to WordPress with just one click. How you access the one-click installation feature depends on which web hosting provider you choose, but it’s typically accessible through your web hosting account or cPanel.
If you have an existing WordPress website and are connecting to a new hosting provider, the easiest way is to connect using a WordPress migration service. This is often available for free through your web hosting provider. However, some hosts charge extra for this migration service.
Bottom line: host your own website
The idea of hosting your own website can feel overwhelming at first–especially if you have no experience in the web development field. 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 issues along the way, most hosts offer comprehensive help centers as well as live support, so your host will generally be the first line of defense when users run into problems.
For more information, see our step-by-step instructions on how to build a website.
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