Home » How to Host a Website (Web Hosting Tutorial for Beginners 2024)

How to Host a Website (Web Hosting Tutorial for Beginners 2024)

by Hồng Yến

Are you interested in learning how to host a website? Self-hosted website builders like WordPress give you the complete freedom to build any type of website.

The challenge is, most beginners don’t know the best way to host a website. Many even believe that special technical skills are required to host their own website.

That’s simply not true.

If you choose the right method, you can easily host your own website in just a few minutes. In most cases, it’s as easy as creating a Facebook account.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll show you the exact steps to host a website without needing to learn any technical skills.

We’ll also explain how everything works behind the scenes. This will help you gain a basic understanding of the different ways to host a website.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide, explained in a simpler way:

What does it mean to host a website? 

What do you need to host a website 

Different types of web hosting services 

How to choose the right plan to host a website ?

How much does it cost to host a website? 

How can you host a website on your own computer

How to make your local hosting server go online Frequently asked questions about Web Hosting

What does it mean to host a website? 

What do you need to host a website 

Different types of web hosting services 

How to choose the right plan to host a website ?

How much does it cost to host a website? 

How can you host a website on your own computer

How to make your local hosting server go online Frequently asked questions about Web Hosting

What does it mean to host a website? 

Hosting a website means placing your website files on a special computer called a server. This computer makes your website files publicly accessible on the internet, so anyone can visit it.

For others around the world to view your website, these special computers are installed with a specific software. This software is called a web server.

The basic job of a web server is to receive incoming requests and respond by sending the requested page to the user’s browser.

Now, all of this might sound like a bunch of technical jargon, and it is.

However, you don’t need to learn how to do all of this to host your own website.

Luckily, there are thousands of companies that provide this service (at a small cost).

Every website on the internet uses a web hosting company to host their website. Even tech giants like Netflix (hosted on Amazon) and PayPal (hosted by Google Cloud’s hosting service) use third-party service providers for hosting.

Only a few companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon host all of their services entirely on their own platforms.

They can do this because they have enough technical resources and financial means to undertake such a large task. All other businesses (including us) use a web hosting company to host their website.

What do you need to host a website?

To host a website, you’ll need two main things:

  1. Web Hosting Provider: Web hosting providers offer you ready-to-use web servers to host your website. They handle all the technical aspects and provide website owners with easy-to-use tools to manage their hosting services.
  2. Domain Name: This is your website’s address that people type into their browser to access your website. For example, typing wpbeginner.com will take you to this website.

Essentially, a domain name is a user-friendly way to connect a user’s browser to the web server associated with that domain name. To learn more, check out our guide on what a domain name is and how domains work.

You can purchase a domain name from one of the top domain registrars. These are companies that are licensed to sell domain name registrations.

To understand the relationship between your web server and your domain, check out our guide on the difference between web hosting services and domain names.

Note: Later in this article, we’ll guide you on how to get a free domain name.

But first, let’s consider the different types of web hosting packages and evaluate which one is suitable for hosting your website.

Types of website hosting services

Not all websites are the same. Some are smaller with low traffic, while others are larger with more content and visitors.

A smaller website requires fewer resources, such as disk space and bandwidth. On the other hand, a larger and more popular website will need more resources to function effectively.

Web hosting companies offer different hosting deals designed to cater to specific website needs. Here are some of the most popular hosting options.

  1. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is suitable for smaller websites, blogs, and new small businesses.

They can reduce costs by allowing multiple websites to share the same server resources. This makes hosting your website affordable.

Price: Starts from $1.99 per month to $7.99 per month

Suitable for: Starting a new blog or small business website.

Our recommended shared hosting providers are: Bluehost and Hostinger

To learn more, see our guide on the truth about the best shared web hosting.

  1. VPS Hosting

VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server hosting) is still a shared hosting environment. However, it provides a flexible set of resources to handle large spikes in traffic.

You get a private server partitioned for your website that you can manage from the hosting control panel. This gives you the best of both worlds: low shared hosting costs with the flexibility of dedicated resources.

Price: Starts from $29.99/month

Suitable for: Medium-sized businesses, popular blogs, and e-commerce stores.

Our recommended VPS hosting provider is: HostGator

To learn more, see our article on when you need VPS hosting for your site.

  1. Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized hosting service created specifically for WordPress. It’s like a concierge service for your WordPress website.

On a managed hosting platform, the hosting company takes care of updates, backups, and caching for your website. This allows you to focus on creating content and growing your business.

Price: Starts from $35 per month

Suitable for: Popular blogs, business websites, and membership websites.

Our recommended managed WordPress hosting providers are: WP Engine and SiteGround

To learn more, see our article explaining when you really need managed WordPress hosting.

  1. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated server hosting provides you with an entire server dedicated to your website. You get all the server resources, advanced tools to manage the server, the ability to install your own software, and even your own operating system.

You will manage your own server, which may require some technical skills. This is an advanced option for larger websites that need high performance to handle higher traffic.

Price: Starts from $79.99 per month

Suitable for: Enterprise-level businesses, extremely popular websites, and e-commerce stores.

Our recommended dedicated hosting providers are: SiteGround or HostGator.

Note: We use a custom SiteGround dedicated server to host the WPBeginner website.

For a visual comparison, we’ve created an infographic that you can use to choose the best web hosting service.

Choose the right plan to host a website

As you can see, all the different hosting packages have different server configurations and prices. You’ll need to choose a plan that suits your needs and budget.

At WPBeginner, we advise users to start with a low-cost shared hosting package and then upgrade as their business grows.

This allows you to save money and only pay for the services you really need. Check out our tips on the cost of building a website for details on all the costs and how you can save a lot of money when starting out.

Shared hosting packages start from $7.99 per month (paid annually) and $14.99 for a domain name.

Now, if you’re just starting out, this is still a significant investment.

Fortunately, Bluehost has agreed to offer a discount to users who use their hosting service and a free domain name. Basically, you can get started for $1.99 per month.

They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and are an officially recommended WordPress web hosting provider. They offer free SSL certificates and excellent customer support.

“For other shared hosting packages, please refer to our comparison of the best hosting companies.

Once you’ve registered for a hosting account, the next step is to create your website. For detailed instructions, please refer to our guide on how to create a website.”

How much does it cost to host a website?

So far, we’ve covered the costs of web hosting companies. However, the cost of hosting a website can vary depending on several factors.

The first thing is the hosting package you choose. We advise you to start with smaller shared hosting packages and then upgrade as your business and website grow.

When starting to build a website, you may also need to spend money on other things, such as website templates, software extensions, and other services.

Your goal should be to only purchase what you really need and use free tools whenever possible.

How to host a website on your computer?

Our users often ask us if they can host a website on their own computer.

Yes, you can.

However, the only reason you should host a website on your computer is when you want to test a local website before putting it on the internet.

Many beginners find it useful to learn web development, WordPress, and coding by installing a local server on their computer.

This will allow you to set up a local server without making it public.

We advise you not to use a local server to host a website and make that website public. However, we will guide you step by step on how to do that for adventurous users.

Bring your local host online

When you host a website on your local server, it’s only available to you. You’ll need to change its settings to put your website online.

First, find your web server software’s configuration file named httpd.conf.

If you’re using WAMP on Windows, you’ll find it in the folder C:\wamp\bin\apache\apache[version#]\conf.

MAMP users on Mac will find it in the folder /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache.

You can open this file with a simple text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. Then, you need to find the line that starts with

Listen 80

You need to replace it with your IP address and port number. You can find your IP address by Googling ‘what is my IP address’. Then it will display a string of numbers separated by dots. Here’s an example of what that code would look like with your IP:


Next, you need to find the following line:

ServerName localhost:80

Go ahead and change it by replacing localhost:80 with your IP address.


Next, you need to find the following line for WAMP:

<Directory “c:/wamp/www/”>

If you’re using MAMP, find the following line:

<Directory “/Applications/MAMP/htdocs”>

Below this line, you’ll see the access rights that you need to replace with the following rights:

Order Allow,Deny Allow from all

Now you can save your configuration file and restart your local server with the new rights.

Now, anyone can use your IP address to access your website instead of localhost. This isn’t ideal because your users will have a hard time remembering the IP address.

That’s where domain names come in handy.

Point your domain name to a locally hosted website

Pointing your domain name to a website that you’re hosting on your computer will allow users to access that website just like they would any other website.

First, you need to edit your domain name’s DNS settings. We’re using Domain.com in the screenshot below:

Then you need to edit the Name A record with the @ symbol as the Name. If you haven’t already, click the ‘Add new record’ button to continue.

In the value field, you need to enter your computer’s IP address and click the ‘Update DNS’ button to save your changes.

If your computer with your local server is directly connected to the Internet, then you’re done.

However, if your computer is connected to the Internet through a router, you need to forward the ports. To do this, you need to log into your router’s admin interface by entering the router’s IP address into the browser’s address bar.

Depending on the manufacturer, your router’s interface may look slightly different. You’ll need to find the option labeled port forwarding, virtual server, or NAT

Next, you need to forward web or HTTP traffic to port 80. In the IP address field, you need to enter your computer’s IP address on the local network. This IP address is the internal address that identifies your computer on the local network.

Then, you need to apply the changes and restart your router.

Disadvantages of hosting a website yourself

Hosting your website on your local computer is a bad idea. This is why even tech giants with enough resources, skills, and secrets prefer to collaborate with hosting service providers.

Here are just a few disadvantages of hosting a website on your local computer.

To run a web server, you need to place it on a computer with a high-speed internet connection 24/7. You also need to configure and install updates for the web server software, keep backups, plan on a backup server, etc. The computer hosting your website will also be at risk of attacks, malware injections, and DDOS attacks. This can also affect the security of all other computers on your network. You will need to purchase a static IP address from your internet service provider, which will cost you extra. Doing all of this will require a lot of time, effort, and technical skills. This is why hosting your website on your local computer is a bad idea.

Website Hosting FAQ

Having helped thousands of beginners build their own websites, we’ve heard every possible question. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from people wanting to host a website.

  1. Why do I need a hosting provider to host my website?

Hosting providers specialize in maintaining a platform to serve websites. They have a team of engineers and system administrators monitoring their servers 24/7.

This allows you to focus on building your website and growing your business instead of managing server software.

  1. How can I host my own website?

You can host your own website on your computer using LocalWP, Wamp, or MAMP. Any of these software allows you to run a local server on your computer. However, your website will only be visible to you and no one can access it over the Internet. To make it public, you’ll need to move it to a hosting provider.

  1. Can I buy a domain and hosting from two different companies?

Yes, you can. However, buying them from the same company allows you to manage both in the same overview. Also, some providers like Bluehost even offer a free domain as an incentive to encourage the use of their services.

  1. Can I buy a domain and host my website later?

Yes, you can buy a domain alone. However, it won’t point to your website until you choose a hosting provider.

We recommend using Domain.com to register your domain. They provide beginner-friendly domain management tools, making it easy for you to connect your domain with any hosting provider later.

You can also use our Domain.com coupon code to get an additional 25% off when registering a new domain.

  1. How can I host my website for free?

You can host your website for free by using one of many free web hosting providers. However, these companies may display ads on your website, limit traffic, lock you into using their platform, or upsell their other products/services.

  1. Can I host my website on my local computer and then move it to a hosting provider?

Yes, you can do that. However, if you’re serious about publishing a website, it’s better to start with a hosting provider.

  1. Can I host my website with one provider and then switch to another?

Yes, you can move your website to any other hosting company at any time. See our article on how to move your website to a new server for detailed instructions.

      8. Where should I host my website?

There are so many hosting providers that it can be difficult for beginners to make the right choice.

Over the years, we’ve worked with all the best web hosting companies in the market. This has given us an in-depth look at what makes a good hosting platform.

For new websites, we recommend Bluehost. They automatically install WordPress and provide a beginner-friendly control panel, integrated caching, security, etc. Above all, they offer a discount for WPBeginner readers when hosting + a free domain.

For more recommendations, see our full list of the best hosting companies along with their pros and cons.

There are some companies that offer free web hosting services, but we advise you to be very careful with these.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to host your website. You may also want to see our guide on how to get a free business email address and free business phone number for your website.

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