How to get your website online | Setting up web hosting.


This post is part of a series of articles that will teach you how to build your own website, step by step. You can read an overview of all of the steps, right HERE (plus get a printable checklist).

I am re-doing the video for this post, as the checkout process has been updated a bit. The new video will be posted soon! In the meantime, the main process is outlined below.

You’ve purchased a domain name, but that’s all it is… a name. You still don’t have a website.

This is where a hosting company comes in. A host will give you a place to build your site, and store all of its files, so that the rest of the world will be able to see it.

Hosting is important. If you use a crappy host, your site could constantly go down. Your entire website could get lost (which is the absolute worst thing ever). They could be difficult to work with. There are a zillion reasons why you do NOT want to get mixed up with a crappy host.

In the course of about 5 years, I switched hosting companies at least 4 times. I quickly learned that all hosting companies are just not created equal. After dealing with a site that was constantly crashing, a friend recommended that I try Host Gator , and I haven’t looked back since. Whenever asked, that’s who I recommend.

However, if you already have a hosting company picked out that you like and trust, then definitely stick with them. But, if you are on the fence, or just don’t know much about hosting companies at all, here are the things you need to look for:

  •  They must have great customer service. It’s essential. If your site goes down, you do not want to have to wait until Monday morning, at 9 a.m. Pacific, in order to talk to someone about it. 24/7/365 customer service is a must.
  • High uptime. You don’t want someone whose servers are constantly crashing down (meaning your site won’t work). If a company has a high uptime, they will be proudly advertising it big and bold on their home page. You want a high number here. High as in 99.9%.
  • Plenty of bandwidth, cPanel access, and an easy script installer. Does all of that sound a little scary? Don’t worry. Just make sure your hosting company actually has these things. If they do, they’ll be listed on the sales page. (For the script installer, look for the name Fantastico or SimpleScripts.)

If you have a hosting company that offers all of these things, then you’re good to go.

(Please note that the above link to Host Gator is an affiliate link, which means that if you go ahead and use them as your host, I will earn a commission. This helps to offset the time and cost of providing tutorials and videos for free here on this website. But, please know that I only recommend products I actually use myself in my own business, and that’s why I’m recommending them.)

If you’re going with Host Gator, the checkout process is outlined below. If not, your hosting company checkout will most likely be somewhat similar, and so what I show you here might still be helpful to you.

The Host Gator checkout process.

The checkout process with Host Gator is pretty painless, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. They offer a few different products; you want to look for the “Web Hosting Plans” button. It’s usually located somewhere near the top center of the page, and it’s bright orangish-yellowy color. You will be given a choice between a few different plans. You should be just fine with their cheapest plan, the Hatchling Plan.
  2. Below each plan, you will see a drop down box, listing their pricing. The longer length term you choose, the cheaper your monthly cost will be (keep in mind that you pay up front for whichever term you go with – that’s the catch.
  3. When you are asked to enter your domain name, be sure to choose the option “I already own this domain.” You already own it, and it’s parked wherever you purchased your domain; all you are doing now is setting up the hosting part.
  4. You will be asked to choose a username and pin for your account. This is for your billing account. This is different than the username and password they will soon be sending you to actually get into your website’s control panel. All of that info will be sent to you by email.
  5. After you’ve created your account, you will be taken to a thank you screen. You will also receive a welcome email – make sure you save it! It’s important.

As soon as you’ve received that welcome email, you’re all set to take the next step in building your website, which is to set your nameservers (don’t worry… it’s easy!).

Questions about any of this? Leave ’em below!

9 Responses
  • June
    May 15, 2014

    I’m trying to set up my plan. Any advice on the hosting addons they have?

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      May 15, 2014

      Hi June. 🙂

      I never get any of the add-ons myself. That’s certainly something you can look into if you want, but I tend to ignore all the extra offers from both setting up hosting, and from when you buy your domain (they both try to upsell you everything under the sun.)

      With that being said, you’ll want to make sure you are backing up your site regularly once you get it up and running. There are multiple plugins for WordPress available that will do that, which is what I prefer, rather than paying for the cloud backup add-on that Host Gator offers.

      I hope that helps!

  • Cindy
    August 22, 2015

    Hi, I’m reading your Beyond Your Shop e-book and I’m currently reading about the domain name and hosting site information. You say that you purchased your domain name thru GoDaddy, but use Host Gator for hosting. Have you used GoDaddy for hosting before? I’m just wondering what GoDaddy was like. I have a website and domain name and am looking for a new place to create a new website. In the past I’ve always had my site hosted by the same place where I create my site. Is it better to have these at two separate places as opposed to getting everything at one place?

    FYI: Neither of the Host Gator links in this article are working for me.
    Thank you!
    Cindy Headley

    • Cindy
      August 22, 2015

      (I input an incorrect email with my above comment. This comment has the correct email.)

      • Staci Ann Lowry
        August 22, 2015

        Hi Cindy…. Thanks for letting me know about the links!

        I have not used GoDaddy for hosting. I’ve actually not heard good things about their hosting, but I really don’t know how much of the bad things I’ve heard are true…. but regardless, I like to keep my hosting account separate from where I’ve purchased my domain. This is just so that I don’t have all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. If I ever want to change hosting companies for some reason in the future, I can, without having to also change my domain name registrar (which I’ve heard is a major pain to do). Also, in case my site is ever hacked, I will at least know that I still retain ownership of my domain name, since it’s separate from my host.

      • Staci Ann Lowry
        August 22, 2015

        By the way, I love your wooden mermaids!

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