WordPress is a great starting point for any type of blog and is one of the most popular CMS solutions for a reason. It’s one of the most inexpensive ways to build a platform and you can customize just about every aspect of your site. Beginners can easily post videos and share content without any knowledge of PHP or HTML. You also won’t have to worry about hosting costs, updates, downtime or cache problems.
Another huge plus is access to the WordPress community, which provide bloggers with a torrent of online support from all over the world. Most people start blogging with the free version of WordPress. If you are at the point where you want more flexibility and options for customizing your site, you may want to purchase host space from a provider.
One of the easiest ways to use the full potential of your online presence is to create a self-hosted WordPress blog. You can create more traffic to generate a buzz or make some money. This is an easy and inexpensive way to attract the right kind of traffic, and monetize your site. The good news for newbies, novices and all kinds of beginners is that launching your own self hosted blog is really easy.
You don’t have to be too tech saavy to setup your own self hosted blog or site, and there are many tools that can help make things even easier. If you can drag and drop, and you have a bit of knowledge of FTP, you can easily create a self-hosted site with plenty of potential. All you really need is a few bucks a month and a bit of time to learn the basics of installing and setting up your page. Common site files are .jpg pictures, .mp3 music files, and .mp4 video files.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that provides space on the internet for websites. When you want to add anything to your website, you will need to upload it to a server via a web hosting service. Basically, you are renting a place to keep your data. A web hosting server is much like an office space or store. You are getting the space itself to showcase your products/content.
All your website files are stored on remote computers called web servers that are connected to the high speed networks. Any time someone types in your web address, the internet will connect to your web server, where all your websites content is stored. Once connected to the server, they can access and browse the pages of your site. A web hosting service provides access and management to these servers. Any type of activity related to maintaining and running the server is handled by your web host provider.
Before we discuss the different types of web hosting, we’ll briefly cover domain names. Domain names are easy to acquire. There are plenty of providers to choose from, and their services cost only a few dollars a month. Every site needs a domain name to be visible on the internet. This will be your sites internet address. If you want people to easily find you, choose a domain name that is relevant and memorable. Within an internet browser a domain will always be something like thebestnameofalltime.org, or domainamehere.com.
WordPress vs Self Hosted
If you want anyone to be able to access your site, you need to get it on a web server. Without a web host service, you wouldn’t have any place to keep your files. With no place for your files to reside, your site would be offline. As I mentioned earlier, most bloggers start out with WordPress’ “free” hosting option.
Although the free version of WordPress has a lot to offer, it can be limited. One of the main disadvantages it that without self-hosting, you won’t have access to the many powerful tools and third party plugins that helped make WordPress so great. If you decide on using a self-hosted WordPress blog, you will enjoy several advantages over other platforms or CMS solutions.
You can customize the look and feel of your site with free or premium themes. Enhance your site in any way imaginable with plugins. You can control every single aspect of your website, making sure everything is exactly the way you want it. Following are some of the perks of self hosting:
- Having your own URL. This will not only look more professional, you’ll be taken more seriously. It’s also easier for your visitors to remember.
- Make $$$ with your site. Easily monetize your site and enhance your revenue from advertising.
- Plugins. There are literally hundreds and thousands of plugins and counting for WordPress.
- Cost Effective. Starting a basic self-hosted WordPress site is an inexpensive. It shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars per month for a basic plan.
- Full customization. You can make any changes to the code you want. Install custom themes, or tools to monitor traffic. You will have complete access to the backend of your site.
Choosing the Right Host
Picking the right one out of the bunch may be difficult, there are so many host providers to choose from it can make your head spin. Most of these host providers are compatible with WordPress, including traditional hosts like GoDaddy, HostGator or Media Temple. Other Companies that provide managed hosting for WordPress base their business model on WordPress installations.
If you are selling products, you will want a host that provides SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL connections are encrypted, securing the transmission of information during a purchase. If you’ve ever done any online shopping or banking, you have seen a padlock symbol appear in your address bar during an SSL connection.
You will most likely want a provider that offers 24/7 support, storage, email and unlimited data transfers. Price for a host can range from a $10 to $100. If you want to expand in the future, you will need to make sure your host is capable of handling issues that accompany heavy traffic.
As technology has progressed different types of web hosting have appeared to meet the different needs of websites and customers. Typically host providers offer Free Hosting, Shared Hosting, Dedicated Hosting and Collocated Hosting. Don’t worry too much about what type of hosting you will need for your blog, we recommend that you start with a Shared Hosting plan, and upgrade later if you need to expand your site. If you have a blog on WordPress.org that you would like to move to a new domain, that can easily be done as well. Visit WordPress support section to learn more.
Launching a Self-hosted WordPress Site
A quick search on google will bring up millions of results claiming that you can launch a self-hosted WordPress blog in just minutes. For once Google is telling the truth. You can easily have a self-hosted WordPress blog up and running in no time at all. All you need is an internet connection, a credit card and 20 or so minutes.
Find a host provider. For this guide, we are going to show you how to sign up with HostGator. I chose HostGator because it’s cheap, reliable and they have plenty of support. I signed up for one month via the “hatchling plan”, which is their most basic service. This ended up costing me $12.95 once all was said and done for 30 days of hosting. I chose a one month plan so I can try it out and see if I like it. If their service works well for me, I can always upgrade.
The first thing you need to do after you’ve found a host provider is pick a URL name. Try and pick something people will remember that is relevant to the content.
Use your host provider’s admin panel to install WordPress. HostGator makes it easy with their quick install options located in the cpanel. Pick a name, slap on a theme and you are ready to go.
Last but Not Least
One last thing you should think about is whether or not your host provider fits in with your future plans. It’s important to understand your current needs, and long term goals before you choose a host provider. You may end up leaving your current provider if you start getting heavy traffic on your site. Always factor in the amount of growth potential your blog has. You may not want to use a host provider’s service for a couple years, to then find out that they cannot accommodate your needs any longer. Migrating from one host to another takes time, especially if you have a large website. This can be avoided by choosing a company that scale their hosting solutions for expansion. Do some research, get some opinions and shop around before choosing your web host provider.Learn HostGator plans