This article is part of a larger series on Small Business Websites.
As a WordPress beginner, learning how to host a website can be daunting. Begin by finding a provider to purchase a domain and site hosting, and then install WordPress to complete the process. This might sound simple, but there are things that may complicate the process, such as the need to transfer an existing WordPress site from one hosting platform to another, or having domains and hosting with separate providers.
Let’s explore how to host a website in just a few beginner-friendly steps:
1. Choose Your Domain
A domain is what people type in to find your small business website (e.g., yourbusiness.com). For example, to find our website, you either typed in or clicked on a link that starts with “fitsmallbusiness.com.” It’s a unique identifier for your website and is typically renewed on a yearly basis.
It’s best to purchase your domain name at the same time you choose a hosting provider. This is because services, like Bluehost and DreamHost, include a free domain with web hosting plans. Not only does this save you money, but it also saves you time as your domain will automatically be connected to your web host, eliminating the need to manually connect the two.
Alternatively, you can buy a domain name through one of the best domain name registrars if you would rather purchase your domain first and spend time picking a hosting provider later. However, it is worth noting that your first choice for a domain name might not be available for purchase using either option.
This is why choosing a domain can be frustrating at times. With so many businesses that exist, your first choice in a name may be taken. If this happens, consider using phrases that describe what you do. For in-depth guidance, read our article explaining how to choose a domain name for your business.
Use the search bar below to get your free domain name through Bluehost:
2. Purchase Web Hosting
After choosing a domain name, your next step is to purchase website hosting. When purchasing web hosting, a few considerations on which package you should choose include whether you need email accounts, have multiple websites, required storage capacity, bandwidth limits, and more. Choosing a package that is affordable for your business will also naturally be a determining factor on which you decide to purchase.
3. Connect Your Domain to Your Hosting
If you’re getting a free domain through a web hosting plan, all you have to do is claim your domain name and continue the checkout process. If you purchased your domain from a different provider than your web hosting, you will need to connect your domain to your host.
How you do this will depend on the web hosting provider, but this normally entails creating or adjusting the Domain Name System (DNS) record of your domain so that it points to your hosting provider, or changing your Name Servers. The image below shows how to change these settings on the domain registrar Namecheap.
Every hosting provider has customer support or knowledge base articles that will walk you through the process of how to host a website, including how to connect your domain to your preferred hosting provider. In addition, many also offer free technical support.
We’ve also created the following more in-depth, step-by-step articles on how to connect your domain to popular web hosting providers:
4. Install WordPress on Your Account
Once your domain and hosting are connected, the next step is to install WordPress. The best web hosting providers provide one-click WordPress installation to install WordPress on your server with no additional setup needed on your part. For example, to use Bluehost’s one-click WordPress installation, go to your Bluehost dashboard (aka cPanel), click “Websites” from the left-hand menu, click “Install,” and select the domain you wish to install WordPress on.
For more details on how to use one-click WordPress installation, navigate to the instructions provided by your web hosting provider below:
5. Build Your Website
Once you’ve installed WordPress, the next step in the process of how to host a website is to build it. Building your WordPress website involves several steps, including tasks like choosing and installing a theme, installing plugins, and adding pages. For the full list of steps needed to build a website using WordPress, check out How to Make a WordPress Website in 10 Easy Steps, which provides a complete guide for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a WordPress migration?
A WordPress migration is the process of moving your website from one host to another. The process can be technically challenging because it involves the transfer of files and the database associated with your website. You do have easy options available, such as using Bluehost’s free website migration service with the purchase of a hosting package.
How do I change website hosts?
Changing website hosts can be very involved and technically challenging due to the WordPress migration aspect of it. Although it’s slightly different from provider to provider, the process involves transferring your website files and moving your database to your new provider, and adjusting the Name Servers, or DNS records, to point your domain name to your new host. Many providers offer WordPress migration services to alleviate the work needed to change hosts.
How do I transfer my WordPress site to a new domain?
Moving your WordPress website to a new domain is nearly identical to the process we have laid out here on how to host a website for WordPress. If your hosting plan has support for multiple or unlimited domains, simply purchase your new domain and connect it to your hosting. Once that is set up, duplicate your current website files and database and then copy them to your new domain. Alternatively, you can also use a plugin like Migrate Guru to move your site.
Once your website is copied to your new domain, you can discontinue the old website and use your new one. Do note that changing domains may have minor to severe search engine optimization (SEO) implications you need to consider before changing domain names.
The process of how to host a WordPress website for your business by obtaining your domain name, setting up hosting, and installing WordPress can seem intimidating even though there are only a few steps. What makes it challenging is that every provider has a slightly different process. Fortunately, most provide detailed instructions and technical support.
The easiest way to get started is to choose a web hosting plan that comes with a free domain name and one-click WordPress installation. This way, your web hosting, your domain, and WordPress will all be connected with just one simple click. The most affordable provider that offers these features is Bluehost, with plans starting at just $2.95 per month.