Get your website up: a beginners guide to web hosting and more

Web hosting is only one part of getting a website up and running. If you're new to the world of websites and web design - but you know you need a web site, whether for e-commerce, another business type or your own personal use - here's a quick guide to some of the steps you need to take.

Make a plan

Before you spend any money on internet hosting, design or marketing services, you need to plan ahead. What do you want to accomplish? Are you hoping to attract major traffic and customers or are you looking to reach a small but targeted audience? The answer to this question will help you determine how much disk space and bandwidth you'll need from your web hosting service.

Do you want to sell items or services through your site? If so, you're going to have to think about e-commerce capabilities and shopping carts. Do you plan to include photo galleries, streaming audio, or considerable video files? Each carries its own requirements for programming tools and, again, space.

We encourage you to peruse our list of articles to help you start thinking about the types of features and tools you'd like to use while building, maintaining and expanding your website.

Choose a hosting service

With your plan in hand, you are ready to choose a web hosting service to meet your needs. Take a look through some of the hosting reviews on this site, particularly if you have a specific category in mind (such as ecommerce internet hosting or business web hosting). See what catches your eye.

For more information, read our article specifically on choosing a web hosting service.

Build your site

Now that you've chosen your host, it's time to build! Most web hosts offer site building tools such as Site Builder or SohoLaunch. If your web hosting provider doesn't offer tutorials in site building, there are plenty of Internet hosting forums and discussions online that will help you along the way.

Start simple. Take advantage of design templates to get you started, quickly. You can always add more personal touches and flair a little later. Build carefully, build smart and don't get ahead of your own experience. If you ever get really frustrated, many web hosting providers do offer web design services.

Launch your site

Check and double check your site for spelling errors, broken links and design flaws. When you're content that everything is OK and your website is ready, get it online so others can have a look - and you can see how it works! Your web hosting company will help you with this. You'll need to upload your files to the Internet hosting provider using FTP, your control panel manager or another tool. Check with your web host for more.

Once your site is up, you'll have to submit it to the various search engines.

Your job doesn't stop here! Your web hosting service should ensure that your site is up and running, but it's up to you to ensure you keep fresh, interesting content on it. Learn about search engine optimization and online marketing and you'll see how even a beginner can learn to drive traffic to a website with some diligence and hard work!

Check out the reviews of our overall top 10 web hosting services and get started!

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