Web Hosting Tutorial for Beginners: Domain Registration, DNS & How to Host a Website Explained

Ray DelVecchio

Tue. Jan. 15, 2019 1:34pm

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Have you thought, what is web hosting? In this tutorial, I'll explain how domains & web hosting work together with DNS settings to host your website. By changing the nameservers at your domain registrar, you "point" your domain to any web hosting company.

The most affordable choice is HostGator for web hosting.

Once you understand how web hosting works, we'll discuss the difference between the package types offered by all major web hosting providers including Shared, Reseller, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, Cloud, & Managed WordPress.

There are pros & cons to each, and you'll learn how to choose a web host that fits your situation.

A complete beginner should start with a cheap shared hosting plan because it will take you time to design a great website and build traffic to it. Only then will you need to upgrade to a better web host or plan!

1) How Websites Work

The first step to launch a website is registering the domain name under a domain registrar (i.e. HostGator or GoDaddy).

Today, it might be hard to get your preferred one or two-word domain name. There is an entire business industry to purchasing thousands of domain names (automatically via software) and selling them to people and/or companies who must get their brand domain regardless of the cost!

Three-word domains are more widely available – the main principles I follow are: keep them short, memorable, easy to say, and stick with COM extension unless you have a specific need for another extension.

Once you register your domain name, the next step is to create your web hosting account with a company like HostGator.

Most companies offer all services – domain registration, web hosting, design options, plus others. I recommend that you take care of both domain and web hosting with HostGator to simplify the setup process.

Upon creating your web hosting account, your hosting platform will send you their “nameservers” along with a link to login to your web hosting control panel (cPanel).

Let's explain how domain name system servers (DNS) work. It’s simple, however, it’s a confusing concept to website beginners.

Domain registration companies give you access to “DNS settings” for each domain. This points a domain name to whatever web hosting company you choose.

So when you receive the nameservers from your hosting company via email, all you need to do is copy/paste them into your domain DNS settings.

The function of the DNS server is to translate your domain name into an IP address!

When you update your DNS settings at the domain registrar, it can sometimes take 24-48 hours for these to “propagate” to all DNS servers located around the world.

NOTE: If you register your domain and set up hosting with HostGator, you don’t need to worry about this step because it’s good to go when your account is created.

Thus, when you as a visitor go to your browser and type in a domain name, the domain name is sent to the DNS server. The DNS server then maps it to the IP address of your web host (which you specified via the custom nameserver), and all the files making up your website are downloaded to the user’s browser for them to view.

2) What is Your Goal?

People create an online presence for personal reasons and there aren’t many good excuses to NOT create your first website!

You may want to accomplish one of several things with your website, so it’s important to define your specific needs to quickly pick the best hosting type for your online platform.

Some good questions to ask yourself are:

Are you creating one website only?
Do you have a vision for many websites?
What software? (i.e. WordPress, builders, templates, code)
High traffic (global) vs. low (local)?

TIP: Remember you can upgrade your hosting package for more space, speed or features. There is nothing wrong with starting a small site on a budget and growing as you see more traffic.


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