Uploading website files is one of the very first steps users have to take in order to publish their creation on the Internet. This tutorial will provide a generalized example on how to upload a website using the most common tools.
In short, to upload a website you can follow these 6 simple steps:
Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:
- Access to the control panel of your hosting account.
- Your website’s files (preferably in .zip or .tar.gz archive) and database (if used).
- An FTP client such as FileZilla and the FTP login details (optional).
Step 1: Pick a reliable website host
First things first, you’ll need to find the right web host. Making a website is not something that you should take lightly. Therefore, you must pick a top-notch host who has all the key features to kickstart your web project to the sky.
Here are a few important things that you should look for in a web host:
- Live support. There’s no worse feeling than getting stuck and finding out that there’s no one to help you out. If a web host does not offer live chat or a phone hotline, then you might find yourself in a tough spot from time to time.
- Control over your web hosting space. The less control you have over your account, the more likely you are to run into trouble when your site starts growing. A good example would be comparing WordPress.com with WordPress.org (the self-hosted version).
- Room for growth. Most successful websites play the long-term game. Before you commit to a web host, make sure they have scalable solutions just in case your website starts requiring more firepower (such as virtual private servers or cloud hosting).
- Money-back guarantee. Nobody likes a bad investment, so make sure to check for a refund policy. This will give you a timeframe to test everything out before fully committing to use the service.
- Extra goodies. Who doesn’t love a good deal? For example, we include a free domain registration with every annual web hosting plan (and the Business package includes a free lifetime SSL too!). In short, try to hit as many birds as you can with one stone.
As veterans of the web hosting world, we’ll give you all that and much more!
Step 2: Choose your website upload method
The next challenge is picking the right tool to do the job. Here are four of the most used tools to upload a site:
A browser-based tool with all the key features to take care of your files and directories. You’ll get one at Hostinger too!
However, one downside that you can encounter is the upload limit. If your website backup is larger than 256MB, you should use FTP instead.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
Since every web host includes FTP by default, you can use it to configure an FTP client (such as FileZilla). All the required will be located in FTP Accounts under the Files section.
If you choose to upload your website using FTP, you’ll come across no size limits. This means that you’ll be able to import your backup archive regardless of how large it is.
Automatic website importer
On Hostinger, you may also find a featured called Import Website. You can use it extract a website archive of up to 256MB directly to the public_html directory.
WordPress migration plugins
If you’re using WordPress, there are several ways to move your website. One of the easier methods is using a plugin (such as All in One WP Migration), which takes care of the hard part for you.
However, it also comes with a 256MB limitation, which can be removed by purchasing the premium plugin version.
If a website is larger than using FTP is your best bet. For in-depth instructions, check out our complete WordPress site migration guide.
Step 3: Upload the site archive and extract it
Now that you can know the best tools to upload a website, it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Let’s start with Hostinger’s File Manager – our custom made tool aimed to ease the workflow of every webmaster. Once you open it, select the Upload Files icon in the upper-right menu.
Next, you’ll need to select the website archive through your computer and import it to our server.
Then, use the Extract feature from the upper menu to decompress your archive.
And that sums it up for this step. The next one will be making sure that all files are in the correct folder.
If you decide to use FTP with FileZilla to upload your site, we recommend extracting the archive beforehand on your local machine (as the FTP client does not have an extract function).
Step 4: Make sure all files are in public_html
At this point, you need to make sure all the files are located in the root directory of your domain, which is public_html.
In some cases, when you extract a website backup, it will create an additional directory. This can result in your website files opening via example.com/something instead of example.com
To move your website from a subfolder to the base domain, you can either use a File Manager or FTP. The short steps are:
- Access the directory where your files are located.
- Select all of them, right-click and select the Move button.
- Set the destination to public_html and proceed.
Step 5: Import the MySQL database
If your website uses a database, you’ll also have to upload it. WordPress uses one for example.
However, if your website does not utilize a MySQL database, you can simply skip this part.
The quick steps to import your database are:
- Create a new MySQL database and user.
- Access your newly created database via phpMyAdmin.
- Use the Import section to upload the backup file.
- Update the MySQL database connection details (such as database name, host, user, password) in your configuration files.
For a more detailed approach, check out our guide on how to restore a database using phpMyAdmin.
Step 6: Check if the website works
Keep in mind that if your domain was pointed to our servers only recently, you may need to wait up to 24 hours for the DNS to fully propagate worldwide.
In case the domain is pointed somewhere else, there are a few ways to test out whether everything will work:
- Using the hosts file. There’s a special file on your computer, which you can tweak to emulate DNS changes (if you use MacOS, check this guide instead).
- Checking availability via online tools. There are lots of them out there! Plus, they’re extremely easy to use. Simply paste in your domain name and the tool will do the rest.
- Utilizing a browser plugin. If you set up an extension such as Virtual Hosts, you can use it test DNS changes. All you need is the domain name and your account’s IP address (A record).
If you followed all the instructions correctly, your website content should appear. But in case you encounter an issue, we’re ready to help you out 24/7! 😉
Congratulations, you have just learned how to upload a website. As you can see, you can upload a lot of files at once using an FTP client. However, each file will be uploaded one-by-one and may take a while.
On the other hand, the File Manager tool is extremely useful for importing one or two files quickly, making code tweaks, or uploading a website that does not exceed 256MB in size.