There is more than one way to boil water, really:
Poach: A gentle type of boil used for delicate foods that are easily damaged or overcooked like fruit or fish.
Simmer: A somewhat harder boil with a small bubbles rising to the surface. Food that needs a long time to cook can be simmered for hours, like stocks and soups.
Boil: Rolling bubbles and steam. This is as hot as water can get.
Your elevation matters. The higher you are above sea level the quicker your water will boil (at a lower temperature than at sea level.
Use a larger pot to avoid over-boiling and spilling the contents of the pot.
Add water to a pot with extra room at the top.
Cover it and turn the heat on high. Covering will help the water boil faster.
When it boils, turn the heat down to poach or simmer if the recipe calls for it. Follow the recipe directions as to cover, or not.
To boil water in a microwave:
Use a microwave safe cup or bowl.
Place a bamboo pick or wooden chopstick in the bowl. Microwaved water can super heat (above boiling) without bubbles unless there is something for the bubbles to form on. Superheated water can explode and burn. Be careful!
Check it often. A cup of water can boil in a minute or two.