What is Web Hosting?
If you’ve ever been on a website and wondered how it even exists, it’s because of a web hosting service that is providing space on the internet for websites.
Web hosting services work by storing your website files in high powered web servers (computers) that are connected to a very fast network. Then when someone enters your website URL into their browser, the internet connects to the web server holding your website files and transfers the information from them back to the person’s computer. This person can then surf your web pages on your website.
Who is the best web hosting company?
There are many different web hosting service companies to choose from but 3 of the big names you’ll hear are BlueHost, GoDaddy, and HostGator.
I personally use BlueHost for my websites and 100% recommend them as the top web hosting service if you are considering starting your own website. I used to host my website with HostGator in the past because it was cheaper but once prices became similar I made the switch before my account with HostGator renewed.
BlueHost is great for managing their servers, software, security, support, bandwidth, speed, and much much more. You don’t have to worry about it at all because it’s all done behind the scenes.
How Difficult is Web Hosting to Set Up?
I’m here to take away the complicated belief that people have about websites and help you see how easy they are to create. Starting a website for your online business is a simple process but there will be some things to learn along the way.
To start a website for your business you’ll need to purchase web hosting. Visit this link to be taken to BlueHost’s website, purchase a web hosting plan, and then you’ll pick your free domain name URL that you want people to type to find your website.
Once you’ve finished purchasing web hosting and selecting your free domain, you’ll need to begin building your website using a content management software.
WordPress is the software I use and recommend. You’ve likely heard of them already as many people start off with a free blog using WordPress but their domain URL isn’t truly customized and professional because they have the WordPress extension on it, for example, asknickfoy.wordpress.com.
WordPress comes free when you purchase web hosting so no worries about cost. You’ll login to your BlueHost account and see a WordPress icon on the main page to click on and install WordPress to your website.
Here is the link again to purchase web hosting from BlueHost, who I recommend having used both HostGator and BlueHost. You get basically the same services, but BlueHost customer service has always been phenomenal when I’ve called them with questions about technical things related to my website.
If you need more research before starting your first website, here is a video tutorial I created showing you step by step how to purchase web hosting and install WordPress.
What is a Domain Name?
Great question! A domain name is a unique address people can type into their web browser to be taken to a specific website that is registered under that domain name. In other words, it’s simply the URL you type in or visit when surfing the web.
Domain names have suffixes indicating which top level domain it belongs to. For example you may have seen the following suffixes before at the end of a domain name URL:
- com – Commercial business and the most common suffix
- gov – Government agencies
- edu – Educational institutions
- org – Organizations (nonprofit)
- net – Network organizations
- ca – Canada
As a final example to clarify what a domain name is, my websites domain name is AskNickFoy.com and as you can see I chose to use the suffix .com because it is most common and I want to be easy to find by other people searching for my website. They may try AskNickFoy.com first before trying any of the other suffix extensions if I had made it something else like .org or .edu.
Something technical to note that really doesn’t matter to you but you may be curious is that the internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, so since everyone on the internet operates by domain names, the web servers require a Domain Name System server to translate the domain names of websites into IP addresses.
Imagine if we used IP addresses instead of domain names! It would be hard to remember a list of numbers to type into your browser. It’s like the old days when everyone tried to memorize everyone’s phone number before smart phones came out.
How Do You Get a Domain Name?
When you decide to start a website (which is really easy by the way), you’ll need to think of a domain name that you want to call yours so that other people can find you and get to your website. You can get a domain name by either purchasing directly from a domain name company such as Namecheap.com for $10 a year or at the time you purchase web hosting from a web hosting company such as BlueHost, who I recommend and use to host my websites.
Usually, the web hosting company will give you your first domain for free when you purchase a web hosting plan.
Action Steps: If you haven’t purchased web hosting yet, then hold off on buying a domain name. Instead, head over to BlueHost and purchase a hosting plan and during your checkout you’ll get to pick the domain name you want to include for free with your purchase.
If you already have web hosting, you can purchase additional domain names through your hosting company (the more expensive method) or through Namecheap.com (the better option). I’ve started several websites over the years and have always gone to Namecheap.com to pick out my domain names for $10/yr.
It will be more expensive to purchase them from the web hosting company which is why I don’t recommend it unless they are offering you a free domain with the purchase of your web hosting plan.
What is WordPress?
In the most simple terms, WordPress is a blogging and website content management system (CMS) and is the platform I use to build my websites on.
Many famous blogs and news outlets are powered by WordPress, and I believe it is the easiest platform for beginners who are just starting out in the online website world.
When I started building WordPress websites in college, I had no idea how websites worked or how to code websites. To this day, I still don’t know how to code a website because I’ve never needed to. WordPress does everything for you and if you have any customizations needed done, you can usually find someone who knows how that you can hire fairly cheap.
What I hope you’ve taken away thus far is that a WordPress website is basically a drag and drop platform for you to build webpages, write blog articles, and manage all of your content (images, articles, file uploads, etc.) without needing technical knowledge of how websites work.
When you are inside your WordPress website’s dashboard, you’ll have a column that runs down the left hand side of the page where all your commands are. You can select “Add New Page” to create a new web page or “Add New Post” to add a new blog article. You can upload media such as images and PDF files. You can install plugins, which are like apps on a phone, and allow you to add different features to your website such as a members only plugin that makes your website password protected if you want certain content restricted to only paying website members.
How Do I Get Started Using WordPress?
WordPress is free and can be downloaded at either WordPress.org or WordPress.com but there is a difference so hold on one moment!
What’s the difference?
WordPress.org is for people who are planning to start professional websites and blogs that have their own custom domain URL using paid hosting through a hosting service.
WordPress.com is for people who plan to start a free blog but has limited functionality compared to a hosted website and also comes with the ugly/unprofessional URL extension .WordPress.com. This is how you can tell websites that are free and running off of WordPress.com.
For example my website would be AskNickFoy.wordpress.com instead of just AskNickFoy.com. Which looks better in your opinion? Yea, I agree, AskNickFoy.com does but it has a small annual cost of $10.
To get a custom domain, you have to purchase web hosting from a web hosting company like BlueHost ($3.49/month), who I use and recommend, and then you’ll be able to set your own custom domain by either purchasing it from BlueHost ($15) or from a domain name company like Namecheap.com ($10) who I also use and recommend because it’s cheaper.
Usually, your first domain name is free when you purchase hosting through Bluehost so make sure to grab the URL you want when you buy web hosting. You need both of these, hosting and domain name, no matter what for your website to exist so don’t fall for the mis-belief that you can purchase a domain name and start using WordPress.
Once you’ve purchased hosting and selected your domain name URL, you’ll login to your hosting account dashboard and see a WordPress icon like this to click on.
Once you’ve clicked the Install WordPress icon it will take you to the installation page and you’ll select the domain name you are installing WordPress for. Then WordPress will be installed and you’ll receive the login details which usually entails your email address as your username and a randomly generated password you can change at a later time.
To login to your WordPress website, type in the URL of your domain name and add a backslash and then wp-admin.
For example: MyWebsite.com/wp-admin
This takes you to the login page and then once you login you are ready to begin using WordPress to build your website, which will consist of web pages, blog articles, images, and more.
Step by Step Tutorial to Get Started in 20 Minutes or Less
To see a tutorial on how to purchase web hosting, selecting your domain name URL, and installing WordPress, check out this YouTube video. You can also read my ultimate guide: How to Start a WordPress Website in 20 Minutes
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you get all of our latest WordPress tutorials and website training videos we upload to YouTube each month.
- What is Web Hosting?
- What is a Domain Name?
- How to Create a WordPress Website in 20 Minutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Using WordPress for Beginners
Your Online Business Mentor,
P.S. If you want additional tips and lessons to help your WordPress website succeed, be sure to join our email newsletter and get the latest information that’s exclusive to our email community.
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