Your business can have all the offline presence it needs, social media accounts, and advertising that you put into it. But in today’s digital landscape, your business is incomplete without a website. Having a website not only lets you target a huge online demographic, but also adds credibility to your business. Suppose you’ve chosen a great domain name, registered your domain name, and prepped your CMS — so what’s next? It’s time to host your website and make it accessible to the world wide web! So if getting your business website up and running is on your 2022 to-do list, here’s everything you have to know on how to host a website for your business for free.
The Basics: Why Host A Website
Web hosting is one of the most important aspects when it comes to creating a website. And web hosts are companies that manage, set up, and administer the servers on which your website will be hosted. When you buy a hosting package from a web host, you are renting computing server space to allocate your website's data, such as HTML and CSS files, media material, and other documents. Keeping the technical jargon aside, web hosting is simply the process that will make your website accessible to anyone on the internet. So here’s why you should opt for a web hosting service:
Boost Search Engine Optimization
Using a web hosting provider can also boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Investing in a web hosting service is also more cost-effective than having an in-house dedicated server. This is because this way your business will save time and money by not having to maintain real hardware or pay a developer.
Better Website Management
Many web hosting companies additionally feature an easy-to-use control panel. Website owners may use this tool to effortlessly manage their site and hosting service, as well as manage domain names, install apps, and upload website content.
How To Host A Website
Now coming to the most important part of this guide — how to host a website. For ease of understanding, we’ve broken down the entire process into three steps:
1. Domain Name
To begin with, a domain name is a human-friendly mechanism that your target audience will put into their browser to access your website. As your business grows and becomes a part of the internet, your domain name becomes all the more important. And why is that? It all comes down to SEO or search engine optimization. Let’s get this straight — with a great domain name comes great online success! But what makes a great domain name?
Initially, the Google algorithm was focused on keyword-rich domain names. But only recently have they lowered their emphasis on exact-match domains since a large number of low-quality websites have been ranking higher than content-rich websites on the SERP.
Pro Tip: A great domain name does only mean that it is keyword-rich. Your website’s domain name must also be easy to type and remember. Maintaining a balance between branding and usability is more important than a keyword-rich domain name.
However, there are chances that all the good domain names are taken. Does it mean that you’ll scrape out your existing ideas? Absolutely not. Try the following:
- Swap the keyword order
- Use suffixes like info, hub, etc.
2. Web Host Service Provider
Your website is ready to go live, and for that, you need a web hosting service provider. However, the good thing and the bad thing here is that there is a long list of web hosts service providers available. So how will you choose a web hosting provider that’s best for your business?
Web hosting entails more than just putting your website up on the internet. The other major factors that you need to consider when choosing a web host service provider are:
- Type of hosting servers
- Services offered, such as bandwidth, scalability, SSL certificates, and so on
- Size of your website (storing and serving data)
- Hosting budget
- Purpose of your website
- Expected website traffic
- Technical support team
- Add ons like email services and backup
- Security benefits
Almost all hosting providers offer the same services, so it’s best to choose the one that suits your specific business needs. Here are some of the best web hosting service providers:
- A2 Hosting
So before you finalize your web host, it’s best you have a clear understanding of what you’re paying for!
3. Web Hosting Plan
Now that we have a much better idea of how to host a website, it’s time to take a closer look at the types of hosting plans available.
When comparing web hosting packages, you'll see five basic options:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
- Reseller Website Hosting
- Managed WordPress Hosting
Let's take a quick look at each of these hosting options.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is when you share the physical server with other website owners. Your privacy, however, is not compromised. You will have your own account that’ll be secured with login credentials.
The best thing about shared hosting is that it is relatively economical compared to other types of hosting, as the managing cost of the server is shared between two website owners. But not all of it is great. Shared hosting has limited storage space and there are also chances of website fluctuations.
2. Dedicated Server Hosting
If you’re running a business at an enterprise level or have an e-commerce storefront, it’d be best for you to opt for dedicated server hosting.
A dedicated server hosting plan dedicates the entire server to your website, where you can have access to:
- Resources of the entire website and server
- Comprehensive server administration tools
- Own operating system
- Installation of your own apps and add ons
You'll be in charge of your own server, which may demand some technical knowledge. It's a more sophisticated solution for larger websites that require high-performance to handle increased traffic.
3. VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
In terms of pricing and speed, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) falls halfway between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. VPS offers you your own private server, which makes it the next best thing to have a dedicated server, with improved performance and at a cheaper price. A virtual private server (VPS) splits a single server into many virtual servers. But how will you know if a VPS hosting server is the right one for your business website?
If your website expects medium-level traffic that can overcome the threshold of shared hosting plans but at the same time does not demand the resources of a fully dedicated server, VPS hosting will be the best choice for you.
4. Reseller Website Hosting
The next type of shared hosting is reseller hosting, where you can sub-rent sections of your own assigned hosting space to others. A reseller plan usually includes a custom dashboard where you may divide your server space into sub-accounts and allocate separate storage and bandwidth. It is worth mentioning that even though this type of hosting has more bandwidth and server storage than shared hosting and is comparatively cheaper than VPS hosting, it lacks the resources of VPS hosting. Another drawback is that there are chances that the performance will be compromised when another account will consume more than its fair share of the resources.
5. Managed WordPress Hosting
A large number of small to medium-sized organizations with high-traffic blogs rely on WordPress specialized hosting services. Why? Because here the host takes care of all the technical aspects of operating WordPress, such as website uptime, automatic server backup, scalability as well as security. With the user-friendly and developer-friendly (SSH, Git, WP-CLI) interface of Managed WordPress host, you can focus on its usability and generate high-quality content. But with five different types of plans out there, how will you find out which is the perfect hosting plan for your website? If you aim for greater control over your new server, a more robust VPS hosting package is a better option. And, if you're serious about making it big online and want the best option available, you should start looking at dedicated hosting services.
Bonus Question: How To Host A Website For Free
One popular question, especially among small-business owners, is how to host a website for free? Even though this isn’t a great alternative to choosing a web hosting provider, it’s still important to know that there’s an option available.
Free website hosting services as the name suggests are free, and just like everything else, you get what you pay for. It can be a good place to test out new plugins or use them for personal use. As for a business website, you’ll of course cut down on the hosting cost, but with that comes a number of other drawbacks as well:
- Restricted bandwidth
- Pop-up advertisements
- Storage space
So if you’re genuinely interested in taking your business to the next level, investing in a website with affordable hosting service is the way to go.
Well, that’s pretty much everything that you should know about how to host a website for your business. To summarize, it’s all about choosing the right domain name, a reliable web hosting service provider and then a web hosting plan of your choice. Simple right?
The most important thing in this entire process is to align these choices strategically and you’re all set to take your website online!