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The Web Hosting Customer Onboarding Process – What Happens Next After You Order a Web Host?

Many new web hosting users focus on which host and plan to select. Yet, have you thought about what happens after you click the “buy” button? Purchasing a web host package for the first time is an exciting time, and today we’re going to talk about the onboarding process.

What is Web Hosting Customer Onboarding Process?

Once you choose your plan and sign up for web hosting with a company, it's time for the real fun to begin: The customer onboarding process. This process helps you get started with the services for which you paid. It can involve anything from setting up your first web application to details on accessing the hosting server or even how to migrate your website from a previous hosting company.

The first thing you will receive will be an (often lengthy) email that contains a load of information. Most of it will be vital since you need it to access or use specific services on your account.

Common Information Included in Onboarding Email

Hostpapa Onboarding Process
Example – The Welcome Email from HostPapa.

Some information that might be in the welcome email for customer onboarding includes;

  • Client Area login
  • Control panel login
  • FTP login
  • Email login
  • Nameserver information

Most web hosts do instant provisioning. They automatically create your web hosting plan as soon as payment is confirmed. Once it's ready, they will send a welcome email to the account you used when signing up for the plan. 

Note that if you don't get it immediately, wait a few minutes since there may be some lag in the email system. 

What to do With the Welcome Email Information

Getting so much information together can be a little disorienting. Here are some of the essential areas you will need to understand from the welcome email during the user onboarding process.

Client Area

 Client Area at GreenGeeks.
Example – The Client Area at GreenGeeks.

The Client Area is where you will manage your products and services with the web hosting company. For example, you can apply for new services, cancel existing services, manage billing and invoices, etc.

You won’t need to access the Client Area immediately in most cases. Simply save the information, and you can check it out later. The Control Panel is where most of the action will be for new accounts.

Control Panel

BlueHost control panel
Example – The User Control Panel at BlueHost.

The Control Panel is the nerve center of your web hosting plan. It is a centralized web-based application you use to manage your plan's technical details. Some things it can do include web application installation, email setup, DNS configuration, etc.

Unfortunately, most web hosts will just provide access to this tool. You’ll need to learn how to use it on your own. If you’re lucky, they might have some helpful information in their knowledge base.

How you use the control panel will depend on what kind of website you wish to create. For example, you can build a static website with HTML files or use a web application like WordPress. Today, the latter is a more common choice since they are powerful and easy to use.

The most common Control Panels used today are cPanel and Plesk but don’t worry if your web host uses a custom version. These control panels are highly intuitive, and you only need to point, click, and fill in some details to get things done.

FTP Management

Although you can transfer files to your web hosting using the Control Panel's File Manager, a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application is more efficient. FTP applications will need you to provide specific login credentials for your account.

Hosting Companies with Great Onboarding Process

Most web hosts will offer a pretty standard onboarding process since it’s just a collection of credentials to access various services. Because of that, a web host that provides a comprehensive knowledge base can be helpful for less experienced users.

Here are some good examples:

1. Bluehost

Bluehost Onboarding Process

Easy-to-follow Walk-throughs

Bluehost is one of only three WordPress-recommended hosting providers in the world. It is incredibly user-friendly and has extensive documentation in its knowledge base. For example, if you want to use WordPress, they offer a details walkthrough guide, video, supporting articles, and direct links to contact customer support for assistance.

Read our Bluehost review for more.

2. A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting Onboarding Process

Detailed Technical Guides

While A2 Hosting is a little more technical in its onboarding, they have lots of information. The level of detail is impressive, and you will need such information once you’ve gotten past the “getting started” stage.

Here's our review for A2 Hosting.

3. GoDaddy


Helpful Video Guides

GoDaddy is a prominent web hosting brand, and it’s produced a lot of onboarding process documentation. In term of new customers onboarding – I like how GoDaddy offers how-to guides in video format. Following a text document can be relatively dry – and sometimes confusing – so simply watch the videos and do as they do.

Find out more – read our GoDaddy review.

Basic Checklist & Final Thoughts

Before you begin making use of the information provided, always ensure you have the following;

  • Your welcome email
  • Customer support contact channels
  • Customer support PIN (some web hosts use this for client identification)
  • Access to the web host’s knowledge base

Final Thoughts

Most web hosts offer similar onboarding processes. At the very least, they furnish you with the information it takes to get started. The basic onboarding process can be too simplistic for those new to hosting a website.

Because of that, it’s better if you can find a web host that goes above and beyond. A comprehensive knowledge base can be an excellent starting point for the uninitiated.

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Article by Timothy Shim

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