Last week, we talked about how to go about getting a domain for your blog. Whatever blogging platform you are using, a custom domain is always a good idea, and you can easily use the domain whether you are using Blogger, WordPress.com, or WordPress.org. Using a custom domain applies to all three of those blogging platforms.
Choosing and buying web hosting, on the other hand, would only apply to self-hosted WordPress blogs. The reason being is that if you are using Blogger or WordPress.com, your blog is being hosted by either Blogger or WordPress for free. Free hosting is great, but there are definitely limitations to what you can do when your blog is being hosted free of charge. For example, with WordPress.com you only have a select number of themes in which to choose from for your design, and you don’t have the ability to add plugins for ultra cool functionality.
Enter self-hosted WordPress. With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you would purchase a hosting package from a number of different web hosts – some of the most popular and reputable being:
I personally use HostGator for the four websites that I need hosting for. I’ve had a wonderful experience with HostGator, and they’re customer service is excellent plus they just keep getting better and better at what they do and the services that they offer – making my life easier as a designer. But the other two web hosts, Inmotion and Bluehost are in the top ten list of great web hosts as well, so, you probably can’t go wrong with them either.
The way you’d purchase hosting for your soon-to-be or future self-hosted WordPress blog, would be to visit the sites of a few different hosts, go through their plans, examine what you need (i.e. hosting for only one domain or multiple domains); read reviews, and then purchase the right plan for your blog or blogs. And don’t worry if you don’t purchase the “right” plan on the first shot. You may purchase a plan to host only one domain and if you find that you’d actually like to be able to host more than one blog as you become more fabulous and expand your influence in the blogosphere, you can just upgrade later on.
Here are a few more tips to consider and help you along in the process:
1. When you are starting to compare plans, keep a notebook handy to jot down prices and features.
2. You can save money by not doing the monthly plan and instead paying all at once for say 2yrs. of hosting. I like doing the lump sum to save money and not have to think about it every month. Set it and forget it, anyone?
3. Write down everything. Write down the plan you chose, how much you paid, and don’t forget to write down your passwords, too.
4. Once you purchase a plan, you will have access to your specific control panel – also sometimes called a cPanel – bookmark it!
5. Choose a password for your cPanel (Control Panel) that’s different from the login and password to your WordPress blog.
6. Watch the tutorials or hire a designer (like me ) to get WordPress set up for you because if you don’t know what you are doing, you may become frustrated and want to bang your head against the nearest wall.
If you have any more questions about hosting, I’d be happy to answer them. I know when I first started blogging, I had NO idea what hosting was, much less how to go about setting it up and using it.