Update: ServerPilot no longer has a free plan.
After your web designer is finished with the site, you will now need web hosting to get your site online.
If you search on Google for web hosting, you will probably find a lot of sites that offer shared hosting. This type of hosting is usually slow due to sharing the resources with others on the same server.
Website speed is one of the factors used by Google to determine rankings. Faster sites typically rank higher than slower sites (given that other SEO factors are similar).
Faster sites are also more user-friendly, which can result in more leads and higher revenue.
Cloud hosting is superior to shared hosting and costs about the same or even less. You can get a droplet at DigitalOcean for only $5 a month. This droplet can easily host 5 small sites.
By using the 4 services below together, you can have a fast website hosting setup:
Cloudflare will serve as a DNS and Content Delivery Network (CDN) to allow your site to even load faster.
FileZilla is used to upload your site files to the server.
After signing up for an account, click on the green button Create Droplet at the top right.
At the top where it says Choose an image, Ubuntu 16.04.1 x64 should already be selected as the default. Leave that selected.
Under that is the Choose a size section. Select the $5/mo option as this is enough to host several small sites.
Scroll down to Choose a datacenter region and select the region that is closest to the area your site is targeting.
Then scroll down to the bottom of the page. You can name the droplet whatever you want under Choose a hostname or leave the default name.
Now click on Create to finish the process.
Your droplet will take a little bit to be created. In the meantime, you will receive an email with the hosting details. You will need these credentials for the next steps.
Now that you have created a droplet and received the credentials by email you are ready to setup the hosting with ServerPilot.
After you have signed up for an account, click on the + Connect Server button at the top right to get started.
The email you received from DigitalOcean will include the IP Address and Root Password. You will also need to come up with a secure password for the last box labeled SFTP Password. This will be used later on so be sure to save it in a text file or other document securely.
Below is an example of the form filled out.
Click on Connect to ServerPilot.
It will take ServerPilot about a minute or so to install the software on your server.
When it is finished, click + Create App.
Then fill out the Name and Domain boxes. Below is an example with the domain we used in the previous module.
Click on Create App at the bottom to finish the process.
Download FileZilla and install on your computer so you can upload your site files to the web server.
After FileZilla is installed, open it and click on the Site Manager icon on the far left at the top as shown below.
A window will then open. Click on New Site and type in the name of your site or server to remember it.
Where it says Host, enter the IP address of the droplet from DigitalOcean. For the Port box, enter 22.
Then select SFTP for the Protocol. Select Normal for Logon Type.
Enter serverpilot for the User. Then enter the SFTP password you created in ServerPilot for the Password.
Below is an example.
Then click on Connect at the bottom of the window to connect to your server.
You will see the files on your server load in the screen on the right. Double click on the apps folder to open it.
Next, double click on the app that you named before in ServerPilot (your domain name).
Then double click on the public folder. This is where your site files will be stored.
In the screen on the left you will see your computer’s files. Locate where you stored the site files you received from your web designer.
Select all the site files and drag them over to the screen on the right. This will upload all the site files to the server.
Note: Be sure to select all the site files and not the folder containing the site files.
Sign up for an account at Cloudflare.
Then click on + Add Site at the top right.
Enter your domain name in the box and click Begin Scan next to it. It will take a minute or so for Cloudflare to scan the domain records.
When it is finished scanning, click Continue Setup.
The next page shows the DNS Records for your domain. You will see two A records as shown below.
The IP Addresses in these two A records need to be changed to the IP Address of your DigitalOcean droplet (the one you received in the email). Simply click on the IP Addresses and change them.
Then click on Continue at the bottom.
On the next page, select Free Website at the top and then click Continue at the bottom.
The next page will show the nameservers that need to be used in the registrar for that domain (GoDaddy, NameCheap, or NameSilo).
The nameservers on the right will need to be entered into the domain registrar’s control panel.
Each registrar will require different steps to change the nameservers in their control panel. Below are the steps to take depending on the registrar.
Go back to Cloudflare after you have changed the nameservers at your domain registrar. Then click on Continue.
Next, click on the Speed icon at the top.
You are now finished with setting up the hosting. It will take a while for DNS propagation, so your site will not load in the browser until propagation is complete. This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, but can take up to an hour or more sometimes.
Once DNS propagation has finished, you will be able to enter your domain in the browser and load the site. It should load fast with this setup.
You can host up to 5 sites on each droplet. It is not recommended to do more than that because of possible footprints and sites loading slower.