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Hosting your website: the Step by Step Guide

Simply put, hosting a website is storing its files in a server. The company that rents out its servers to store your website files and makes them accessible to other people over the internet is called the “web host” or “web hosting company.”

Step #1: Create your site

To have your website hosted, you first have to create it. The easiest way to do this is using a website building platform like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress.  After creating your website, you can then proceed to choose and register a domain name for it.

Step #2: Registering Your Domain name

A domain name is an address that internet users use to find your website using their browsers. The name can be any that you feel suits your online business. You can choose your domain name in platforms like this one: www.shopify.com/tools/domain-name-generator. After choosing a domain name, you should then register it with an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) certified registrar. The registration process involves making domain name search availability, choosing a suitable domain extension then paying for the name. You can also purchase an expired domain if you want your website to hit the ground running. In addition to from domain registrars, you can also register your domain name with your web host. Web hosting companies often offer free domain name registration services as part of their web-hosting package.

Step #3: Setting up your account on your web host

After choosing a domain name and registering it with an ICANN certified registrar, you need to open an account with a web host where you will store your website. Note that you do not have to find a host immediately after registering your domain name. Some people are even in the business of buying cheap domain names with the intention of flipping them later for a profit. After opening an account on the web hosting company’s website, they should then provide you with the details of how you can transfer your site to their server to get it up and running. These details include the passwords to your account, paths to the directories where you can upload your website files and your Domain Name Servers (DNS). Domain Name Servers provide the link between your internet protocol (IP) address and domain name.

Step #4: Configuring DNS

Before you arrange for a web host, your domain name is usually registered in the DNS of the registrar. The registrar company, therefore, redirects all requests for your domain name to an “under construction” page or an “error” page. When you are ready to put up your website, you must first alert your registrar of the DNS configuration of the host server you plan to use.

This DNS configuration is availed to you by your hosting company either through their website or in the information package they email you after you create an account. After receiving the DNS configuration, you can proceed to enter it into your account on the registrar’s website. This should redirect requests for your domain name to the host server containing your website files. After the DNS is registered, your site should be accessible from anywhere in the world within the next 24 hours.

If you have registered your domain name with the same company that you are hosting your site, they will make all the necessary DNS configuration changes for you when they set up your account.

Step #5: Uploading your website files to your host’s servers

Uploading your website files is the last step after opening an account with a web host and setting the DNS. One of the most common ways to do this is using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software. Your web host should provide you with all the necessary information about connecting and uploading files to the server.