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So you’ve decided that you want to go all-in and purchase a domain name and a hosting account with a webhost. All right… first, let’s start with getting some hosting.
Picking a Host
There are a plethora of hosts to choose from. Some are good, some not so good. The three I’m detailing here are companies I’d recommend and the links are affiliate links, just so you are aware.
WP Engine is what they call a managed WordPress host. Basically they’ll install WordPress for you, they’ll install your theme for you, and they’ll install the plugins for you. They also handle making sure your site has backups enabled, security plugins, updating plugins/themes/WordPress, and all the other fun tech stuff some people just aren’t comfortable with. There is a slight problem with managed WordPress hosting though…
You generally can’t just ask them to install a particular theme or plugin. Most managed WordPress hosts have a set list of themes and plugins that you can choose from. If you’re wanting to use Tweak Me v2 and Ultimate Book Blogger for example, most managed WordPress hosts aren’t going to have those available and you’ll have to “request” for them to add them to their theme and plugin list, which they may very well decline.
I’d only go with WP Engine or other managed WordPress hosting if you’re positive you’re more comfortable having someone else handle all the behind-the-scenes stuff and you don’t have a problem being tied into specific themes or plugin options.
Namecheap is actually who I get my hosting through and who I generally purchase my domain names through. You’ll need to purchase a domain separately, although I have seen some deals lately from Namecheap where when you sign up for hosting, you can get a free domain name. That isn’t always the case, so just be aware that you may have two charges instead of one.
However, I’ve found Namecheap to be a good, cost-effective hosting company with a good uptime. Generally speaking if, and I do mean if, my blog is down, it’s the middle of the night1I’m talking 3AM and it’s ten minutes or less – that’s generally when they’re doing server maintenance. I’ve been hosting with Namecheap for years and never had any issues with them.
With Namecheap you have the option of a shared hosting account (multiple hosting accounts on one server), dedicated hosting (your hosting account is the only one on the server), VPS hosting (virtual private server hosting), reseller hosting (you could technically run your own hosting company piggybacking off Namecheap), and managed WordPress hosting called WP Easy.
Bluehost and I have a complicated relationship. Most bloggers who are helping you start a blog recommend that you go with Bluehost. I had them for about a year back in 2016 and wasn’t overly thrilled with them, but it’s been six years so my experience isn’t really relevant anymore. Plus, my experience might have been the exception, not the rule, because even in 2016, bloggers who were helping others get started told them to use Bluehost.
Bluehost has options for shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting, as well as managed WordPress hosting if you’re still interested in that.
There are other hosts out there as well – GoDaddy does hosting, HostGator, StableHost, and more. Some hosts do domain registrations to use with other hosts – Namecheap and GoDaddy both do that, while some hosts only register domains for use with their hosting. Usually those are the ones offering a free domain name.
Be aware that you aren’t trapped with a hosting account you hate. Many hosts have money-back guarantees for the first 30 days. If it’s past that and you realize you don’t like your host, you can always switch hosts when your term is up. You can transfer the domain name to a different registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap and connect your domain to your new hosting account from there.
Getting Your WordPress Set Up
Check the video below for a look at how you’d set up your WordPress in your hosting account. Be advised that your cPanel may not look the same as mine, so don’t be alarmed! Just look for the things I’ve mentioned and you should be good to go.
You’ll need the same info as last time, except you won’t need a subdomain and your domain will show in the installer – but you’ll need a blog title and tagline, a username and password, and an admin email address.
By the way, I got to rambling in this one so sorry about that! LOL
So there you have it – how to set up the blog on your self-hosting account. Next week we’ll delve into what to do now that you have your blog set up – which will largely depend on how and where you chose to host it. That might also be split into multiple posts to make it easier to take in the information.