A web host provides the server where all of a website’s files are stored.
Think of it as if you’re renting space on the internet – similar to the way you rent space in an apartment building.
All of the items in the server are yours but the server itself is owned by the hosting company.
You’ll need a hosting server in order to get a website up and running, and web hosts have different kinds of plans available depending on your needs.
If you’re starting a web design business, you’ll want a plan that allows for multiple websites as well as backups and technical support.
In the next section, we’ll look at how to set up your Siteground account and point your domain name to your server.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to get your first website off the ground.
Buying Your First Web Hosting Server Using Siteground
Setting up a web hosting account is fairly straightforward.
Siteground is a great hosting provider that has all the options you need, and getting started is easy.
First, you’ll choose the type of account you need.
Since you’ll likely be hosting some of your clients’ sites yourself, you’ll want to use the GrowBig plan which lets you host any number of sites and includes the premium features you’ll want as you build your business.
Once you select your plan, you’ll be asked for your domain name.
Choose the “I already have a domain” option and enter it in the box.
On the next page, you’ll fill out all of your information.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll have the option to choose the time period for your account billing.
If you choose the Trial Period option, you’ll be billed for one month plus a setup fee, and then near the end of the month period, you’ll be contacted to renew your account.
You’ll have the option to renew for three months, in which case you’ll pay the standard monthly price, or you can choose to sign up for 12, 24, or 36 months, in which case you’ll get a discounted rate for that time.
If you have any questions about billing, you can contact Siteground’s customer service via live chat or phone.
The other option you’ll be given is to add SG Site Scanner.
In my opinion, this isn’t necessary because you’ll be installing tools that will help keep your site safe later.
However, if you want to shell out the roughly $20 per year for extra security then by all means – I’ve personally never had a site hacked while using Siteground so I don’t find this extra service necessary.
Once you’ve made your payment you should receive an email from Siteground with access to your cPanel.
This is the portal you’ll be using to set up your websites.
It allows you to install WordPress which is the CMS that you’ll be using to build your websites.
cPanel offers a lot of tools, most of which you won’t have to worry about, but you’ll be able to find help on Siteground’s site if you want to learn more about all its other features.
The main things that you’ll be using here are Addon Domains, where you’ll be able to add an additional domain to your account, and the WordPress installer.
Linking Your Domain to Your Hosting Account
Once you’ve purchased a domain and signed up for hosting, you’ll need to link your domain to your hosting account by assigning the host’s nameservers to the domain.
A nameserver connects a domain name to the IP address of your website so that when users visit your domain they will be directed to the server that hosts the site.
You’ll need to add your host’s nameservers to your domain names through your domain registrar.
It may seem very technical but it’s really a straightforward process.
When you’re logged in to your Siteground account, you’ll be able to access cPanel and see your nameservers listed at the top left of the page.
Copy the first address listed under nameservers and then go to your Namecheap dashboard.
Click on “Manage” for the domain you want to link, and scroll down to the Nameservers section.
Select “Custom DNS” from the menu and paste the address you copied into the first field.
Then go back to Siteground and copy the second one and paste it into the second field.
Click on the green checkmark to save this change.
This can take anywhere from a minute to a couple of days to update.
Once it does, if you type your domain name into your browser, the page that will come up will no longer be your domain registrar’s default page.
If you’ve checked and it hasn’t updated yet, be sure to clear your cache and try again or try from an incognito browser window.
The next thing you’ll want to do is install WordPress on your domain, which I go into step-by-step in my article How to Set Up a WordPress Website.