A website has to be stored somewhere, doesn’t it? This is basically what is popularly referred to as web hosting. In this piece, we will answer your questions on how to host a website and how many ways it can be done. We’ll also include a section on how to host a website from home.
First, let’s clarify who owns the space where most self-hosted websites are stored in.
What is a Web Hosting Provider?
Web hosting providers are companies that store your website on their computers (servers). These computers are different from yours in the sense that they have larger storage capacities, are always powered on, and are always connected to the internet.
They are also specifically built to deliver your website files to millions of reader at the same time with as little downtime as possible. In return for this service, you pay a certain amount of money monthly or annually. Clear? Let’s carry on.
There are many different ways to host your website. Some of these don’t need web hosting providers. Here are 6 of the most popular and effective ways to host your website:
This package is recommended for beginners. As the name implies, your site is hosted on a shared server. Hundreds or thousands (depending on your web hosting provider) of other websites share bandwidth and HDD or SSD space with your website. However, you are given your own separate account with unique login credentials.
This is a budget-friendly method. It is easier to set up and requires little technical knowledge. The downside is that it might get slow and is not suitable for large websites. It can cost as little as $5 monthly.
This plan dedicates the entire server to your website. Think of it as reserving a whole floor in a skyscraper just for you. This is the same way your website rents the space inside the data center of web hosting providers. As a result, your site is faster and more secure. It can handle massive traffic and is more flexible and customizable. The dedicated hosting industry is booming because of its advantages.
This package is recommended for big businesses. It is costlier, starting at $60 per month. It also needs to be set up by an expert to customize it to your OS choice or other needs.
This is a middle ground between Shared and Dedicated Hosting. In this package, several websites are stored on a server but they are split into virtual compartments. Each website functions independent of other websites on the server. You can also choose your own OS without affecting other websites.
This has more advantages than shared hosting. There are fewer websites per server which reduces the demand on the server. Your website is also protected from the activities or influence of its neighboring websites. This is recommended if you need more security but can’t afford dedicated hosting. VPS hosting pricing starts from $20 per month.
Cloud hosting collectively uses multiple virtual servers to host your website. Your website is stored on a network of computers and if need be, your website can pull more resources from these virtual servers dynamically. It is suitable for large websites, blogs, or e-commerce stores that can experience impromptu traffic spikes.
This package offers some security advantages that other methods do not. In case of a DDoS attack where a site is overwhelmed with multiple parallel requests until it crashes, your website can spread those requests across different servers to mitigate the effects. What’s more? You only pay for the resources your website uses.
These packages are quite popular and are usually free. It is the simplest kind of hosting available. It involves setting up a sub-website within a bigger site. It is mostly used for specific applications like a blog. It has fairly good speed and is easy to set up.
WordPress.com is an example of a website that can host your website for free. With WordPress.com, you get limited customization in terms of themes and plugins and “.wordpress.com” is appended to your website address.
Another example is Google’s Blogger.com. It offers more flexibility with your theme code. The downside is that the Blogger branding is all over your website, plugin selection is limited, and “.blogspot.com” is appended to the end of your web address.
This entails hosting your own website on your own server. Your website is hosted on your computer using your own internet connection. This means you won’t need web hosting providers. You determine the computing power and you have more freedom with your website. However, the website speed will be determined by the upload speed of your internet connection.
Please check with your ISP to make sure it isn’t against their rules before using this method. This process might seem interesting but tricky so we will explain how to host your own website in case that is your preference.
How to Host a Website from Home
Hosting your own website from home is quite simple. Essentially, you are in total control of your business’ site, your personal portfolio, your email server, and messaging apps. You can use an old Linux or Windows PC. Here we’ll only discuss the steps to host your company’s website on Windows (WAMP), being the latest platform:
Download and install AMP web stack.
Launch and navigate the WAMP server:
After installation (the installed software files are usually found in C:\\wamp\\www), go to the www directory. Click the WAMP notification menu. Create subdirectories (referred to as projects in WampServer) where you can store HTML or PHP files.
Clicking on the localhost link in the WampServer menu should take you to WampServer’s main screen. Alternatively, you can type http://localhost in your browser to get there.
Create your HTML or PHP page:
At this stage, you’re shown how you can test your host WAMP server. Get a text editor (Notepad, Notepad ++, Sublime, Microsoft Visual Studio, etc) to build a simple HTML or PHP program. Save it and add the appropriate extension, “.php” for PHP file or “.html” for HTML file. Make sure the saved extension file is located in C:\\wamp\\www folder.
Configuring MySQL Database:
To configure MySQL databases, go to the phpMyAdmin panel in the menu and open it. A new browser window will open up and you’ll be prompted to enter a username and password. Use the default ‘root’ username and can leave the password field blank for now. You can now create a new MySQL database.
Set the Site Public mode:
Your website is now available for view, but only accessible to your PC on which the Web Server is installed. You can now deploy the Web Server to develop your website and run a testing session. After that, the whole world can access the content of your web. All you have to do is to click the WampServer icon and check the “Put Online” option.
It is important to remember that the Apache configuration is set by default to deny access to the public. To allow, go to your Apache setting and select ‘allow.’ After altering the default configuration, restart your WAMP Server and you are set. Millions of people can now access your website.
How to Host a Website: Pick the Most Suitable Way
Now that we’ve clarified the features of the various ways to host your website, you can pick one that suits you and your business.
Storage size, bandwidth, cost, and security are the most important factors that should guide your decision. If you’ve chosen to host your website from home, you also have to take those factors into consideration as well as the stability of your internet connection and power supply.