After registering a domain name for my new website, I signed up for web hosting so that I could put some content on my new domain.
Choosing a web hoster
"Who's the best web host?" is a topic of constant interest on the internet, and everyone seems to have their own opinion. For me, it's Web Hosting Buzz. I've only ever worked with small-business-style sites, but for all my needs Web Hosting Buzz has been great. I've already blogged about why, and (since that post is almost a year old) I can confirm that they continue to exceed my expectations in both tech support and value (lots of features for a great price).
When picking a web hosting company, you should have some idea of your site's needs, so that you can ensure the hosting provider meets those needs. For example, if you plan to run a dynamic site (or install a CMS such as WordPress), ask whether the hoster supports PHP and MySQL. If you want everyone in your business to have their own email address on your domain, ask how many email accounts the hoster lets you create (some plans offer unlimited email accounts; others may limit the number or charge you for additional accounts). It's better to pay a bit extra for the features you need than to try to "get a bargain" and end up with a setup that doesn't do what you want. I've found FindMyHosting.com useful when comparing hosting plans.
Pointing your domain name to your web host
Your domain name is the address where users will look for your website; your hosting company is where the actual content of your site lives. If you didn't use the same company for both, you'll need to make sure your "address" points to where your content actually is.
When you signed up for web hosting, you may have received information about the nameserver(s) that your host assigned to you. If not, you can find this information in your hosting account. You'll need to tell your domain name registrar what your nameservers are, so that they can direct all your traffic to those particular servers. Generally there'll be somewhere in your domain registration account where you can input your nameservers. They'll look something like
Once you've got your domain name pointing to your content, you've got a basic website up and running!