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

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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.

https://www.hostgator.com/wpc2

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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38 COMMENTS

  1. I was at the point of slinging a brick thru my lounge window concerning so much gobbledegook around the web about setting up a website UNTIL your video here Ray ! You talk in layman's terms that I can understand with clear and concise presentation for the newbies to all this. Liked and Subbed with much Gratitude

  2. Great vid! If you plan on creating a landing page using a page buildng tool (elementor or wix for ex.), and you then plan to run paid traffic to that landing page, what type of hosting would you recommend? Many thanks!

  3. I will have to agree with all the comments here, I was so lost with this website and hosting thing and I am truly relieved that I have found your video. Thank you for the enlightenment. God bless you!

  4. I wish this was less a tutorial and more a basics so I could send it to Web Devs with no clue. Also remove any branding. State that changing DNS servers on existing DN's can break stuff. You know, the usual stuff SysAdmins have to deal with when Web Devs get involved.

  5. Im terrible with technology and social media. I bought a domained w go dady but they want to charge me $300 for something i dont know. I want to creat my website with shopify. .. why do i suck at this?!😭

  6. the moment you said DNS you lost 60% of my construction contractor audience … some people just need a good analogy… you’re not even aware that your entire use of geek-speak language is NOT beginner content.

  7. Hello. I am trying to build a website for my small business. I have bought my own server, but I am new at all this and trying to figure out how to map it to my server. I don't know how to map the nameserver from google to my server. Any advise would be appreciated.

  8. 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 thank you for pointing out the beginners experience. I had to make an educated decision about choosing books to read about building websites. People don't consider some people are starting out.

  9. Hello my name is Ken Flucas. I'm planning on developing and designing my own website. I have a raspberry pi4 that I would like to use as my server. I want my website to contain blogs, news, pics, videos, music, commission based ads & links, and capable of streaming live video. What's the best way to go about achieving this goal? Also, I plan on learning coding. Will this be useful?

  10. You say that cloud hosting does not operate from a physical server… but isn't this wrong? Because even data 'on the cloud' is still stored on a physical server somewhere… can you fact check or clarify this?

  11. Hey Ray!
    I have no problem with creating websites,what I wanna know is what do I do if I am creating the website for someone else?I don't know how all this hosting thing will work out.Do I get hosting plans that only host 1 website and then after I sell the website do I give them the host admin and password?I would really like to know what do I do.
    Thank you!

  12. I want to become a freelancer in web developing and I learnt HTML CSS and JavaScript for the front-end. What should I learn for the back-end part to make the full web site for my customers?

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