Once you have secured yourself a domain name, it’s time to select a host.
If you don’t have a domain yet, but you don’t want to separate domain and hosting, keep on reading.
Website host: A company that stores all the files related to your website and allows your website to be displayed to the public.
How to select a good web host?
There are many companies out there offering website hosting, and it can often be difficult to pick the right one.
Here are some of the key points you should consider when choosing a host.
Uptime – When you’ve first spent a lot of time and money on creating your website you’ll want a web host that actually keeps it online for people to see. Aim for a web host with uptime scores at 99,9% and above.
Loading speed – If your site spends ages on loading, people will just leave before they’ve seen the content. Another important part is that Google has a tendency to give sites with poor loading speed a bad ranking in their search results, leaving you with even fewer visitors.
Cost – Don’t get blinded by a small startup cost, some hosts bump up their prices quite significantly when it’s time for the renewal of your hosting plan.
Refund policy – You should choose a host that would refund your money if you change your mind and would like to cancel the hosting
Support – As always, having a friendly support team that is actually available when you need it is worth quite a bit.
When searching for the right hosting provider you also have to consider which hosting option that suits you the best. For most of you, shared hosting will be more than sufficient enough in the beginning.
Shared hosting is the most popular hosting option by far, and usually also the cheapest one.
Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like, your website will be sharing the same server and the same resources like CPU and RAM with quite a few other websites.
Basically, that means that if another website on your shared server is using a lot of resources, this might affect the performance of your website and the other way around.
But since you’re sharing resources, you’re also sharing the cost which usually makes this option very affordable. And the truth is, a lot of us don’t actually need that much resources.
This option is well suited for your website if:
- You’re new to web hosting and want to get started with your first website
- You expect less than ~100,000 visitors per month
- You’re looking for the cheapest hosting option
- You need a hosting plan that requires no technical knowledge
If you would like a more detailed look at the other hosting options that exist, check out the detailed hosting article.
Where to buy hosting?
I’m currently running this site on the cheapest shared hosting option Siteground has to offer, and Siteground is my preferred host.
Not only do they offer good speed and uptime, their customer support really stands out, which is something I value highly.
Lastly, they automatically issue and install a free SSL-certificate for your domain, which is a huge bonus!
Step 1: Go to SiteGround.com
Step 2: Choose a plan
I selected the StartUp package when i first started out, it’s a great choice for anyone starting a new website.
The GrowBig and GoGeek plans are great as well, but they become more relevant once your visitor count grows, or you want to host several websites on the same hosting plan.
Step 3: Enter your domain name
If you don’t have a domain name yet and want to have hosting and domain name with the same provider, check the Register a New Domain and enter the domain name of your choice.
If you already have a domain name, select “I already have a Domain” and enter the domain name.
Step 4: Review & Complete
To create an account and complete the purchase, just enter your personal information and credit card details in the “Review & Complete” section.
You’ll have to add email, a new account password, First Name, Last Name, Country, City, Street Address, Zip Code, Phone Number and your payment information.
The last part you have to go through before the account creation is complete is to review the selected plan and sign-up period.
Note that the 1-month trial setup has a rather expensive setup cost. Besides that, the monthly hosting cost is the same regardless of which duration you choose.
Once done, click “Pay Now”.
Great, the hosting account is set up, but we are not done just yet.
You will get a setup wizard right away, giving you a few options:
Transfer a website: Choose this option if you already have a website, but you need help to transfer it to Siteground for free.
Don’t need help now: Select this option if you know how to proceed on your own (Don’t worry, I have guides telling you what to do)
I do not want to set up now. Remind me next time I log in: This option is at the very bottom and if you select this, you will get this same setup wizard the next time you log in.
Step 5: Setup DNS
If you followed my recommendation and bought a domain name with NameCheap (or another domain registrar), you will now have to connect the domain name to the new hosting account.
Ok, so how do we do that?
That’s done by pointing the domain to SiteGround’s DNS Servers.
Domain Name System (DNS) is a system that translates easy-to-read web addresses (e.g. TheWebsiteRoad.com) into their respective IP addresses (e.g. 22.214.171.124).
I’ll attempt to briefly explain how it works, by using my website as an example
- When you type in TheWebsiteRoad.com, the DNS Server will send 126.96.36.199 back to your browser.
- The browser then asks the hosting server, “Show me the site with address 188.8.131.52”
- The hosting server will then respond by sending the website-files to your browser so that you can see the website you asked for.
How to point your domain from NameCheap to SiteGround
First, you should login to both your NameCheap and SiteGround account
1. Log into your SiteGround account
Under the My Accounts tab, click “Manage Account” and go to the “Information & Settings” tab.
In the “Account DNS” section you’ll find two nameservers and their corresponding IP.
Copy the two nameservers.
2. Log into your NameCheap account
Click the “Domain List” tab, and you will see all your domains. Choose the domain you want to point to SiteGround and click “Manage”.
Here you should find a section called “Nameservers”, click the dropdown and select “Custom DNS”.
Paste in the nameservers you copied from SiteGround and click the green check-mark.
That’s it, you’re done with your domain and hosting setup.
The only minor downside is that you now have to wait for a few hours for the DNS settings to get updated so that your site becomes visible (This could take up to 48 hours)
That being said, waiting a few hours to get started on your website is truly worth all the benefits of keeping hosting and separate.
Optional step while waiting
While you’re waiting for the DNS to update, there’s still plenty of things you could do.
First, you could start getting familiar with Siteground and go through the steps described in my Siteground cPanel guide. It will cover things like how to access cPanel, setting up SSL-certificate and e-mail.
If you decided that Content Management Systems was the right choice, you could already start the installation. I explain how in the following articles
Alternatively, you could just set up Content Management Systems locally on your computer and play around with the different systems while waiting.
If you liked this article, or have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.