Recording for the album began in 1998, when Dido officially signed a record deal with Arista Records. As well as recording ten new tracks, Dido took two previously recorded tracks from her demo collection, Odds & Ends, and used them for the album, with "Take My Hand" appearing in its original form, and "Sweet Eyed Baby" being remixed to create "Don't Think of Me". During recording for the album, a deal to release the album in the United States was finalised, however, a deal to secure European sales of the album was not completed, thus meaning that when the album was released in June 1999, it was released exclusively in America. Prior to the album's release, a promotional sampler titled The Highbury Fields EP was issued to radio stations, featuring four tracks from the album, and "Worthless", another track from the demo collection Odds & Ends.
In an attempt to boost album sales, a second single, "Don't Think of Me", was released in February 2000, but did not fare as well as expected, only peaking at No. 35 on the Adult Top 40 chart in the U.S., spending only seven weeks.
The album's third European single, "Hunter", was released in September 2001, reaching the top twenty in the United Kingdom. It spent fifteen weeks on the Adult Top 40 chart peaking at No. 16, while it became a top ten hit on the dance charts in America.
A fourth single, "All You Want", was released in December 2001, but was ineligible to chart due to only being released as a 3" mini-single in the United Kingdom.
Some of the album tracks were later licensed for use in television programmes, with "My Life" appearing in an episode of the drama series Angel Eyes, as well as alongside "My Life", "Honestly OK" and "Thank You" in several episodes of the Warner Bros. show Popular. "My Lover's Gone" was featured on the soundtrack of Brazilian telenovela "O Clone" and became a smash radio hit in the country.
No Angel was first released in North America on 1 June 1999 and entered the Top Heatseekers chart at number fifty a month and a half later. Twelve months after its original release, it hit number one on the chart and simultaneously entered the Billboard 200 at No. 144, which was attributed to extensive touring by Dido in clubs and small venues across the country and radio exposure in adult contemporary stations. However, No Angel continued to climb up the chart afterwards largely due to the sampling of "Thank You" on hit single "Stan" by American rapper Eminem. By January 2001, the album finally cracked the top ten of the Billboard 200 moving 17-9. Six weeks later, it reached its peak position of number-four on its 40th week on the chart, while "Thank You" was already a top twenty hit on the Hot 100 Airplay.No Angel spent sixty-nine weeks on the Billboard 200 and became the 17th best-selling album of 2001 in the country. According to Nielsen Soundscan, the album has sold over 4.2 million units in the United States and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Meanwhile, in Canada, No Angel also reached number-four on the albums chart and sold over 400,000 copies in the country, which resulted in a quadruple platinum certification by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Additionally, the Association of Producers of Phonograms and Videograms certified the album platinum for selling over 150,000 units in Mexico.
Following the success of "Stan" in Australia and the United Kingdom, where it hit number-one, No Angel was finally distributed in other markets outside North America in late 2000. The album made its debut on the UK Albums Chart in October of the same year at number fifty, and entered the top ten for the first time on its 14th week by climbing 11-5. By early February 2001, No Angel finally reached the top of the chart and remained there for six consecutive weeks. In early October, it returned to number-one for a seventh and final week at the top. Notably, the album re-entered the top ten on its 126th week on the chart at the end of the busy Christmas shopping period of 2003 due to the massive success of her second studio album Life for Rent.No Angel became the top-selling album of 2001 and the 27th highest-selling of 2002. Moreover, it has been recognised as the 26th best-selling album of all time in the country, with sales that exceed 3,088,700 copies, resulting in a tenfold platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Ireland, the album was listed as the second highest-selling of 2001 by the Irish Recorded Music Association, behind Swing When You're Winning by Robbie Williams. Elsewhere in Europe, No Angel also experienced success, selling nearly 1.3 million copies in France, where it was certified diamond by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique, and 750,000 units in Germany, which resulted in a triple gold certification by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
Furthermore, No Angel entered the Australian albums chart at number twenty-one and quickly rose to the top on its sixth week, dethroning The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem. It remained there for eight consecutive weeks.No Angel finished 2001 as the second highest-selling album of the year, behind the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, and was also amongst the forty best-selling records of the following year. The album received a sextuple platinum certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association, denoting shipments of over 420,000 units in the country. In New Zealand, No Angel topped the albums chart for nine non-consecutive weeks and spent fifty-nine weeks inside the top forty. By the spring of 2002, the album had sold 75,000 copies and was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand.