In step 1 of this 10 part series, Create a WordPress Website, we discussed how to choose a domain name and get it registered.
Now that that’s done, it’s time to find web hosting to give your WordPress install a place to live.
So, why do we need a paid hosting account if wordpress.com is available for free?
Read more about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
For the price of four lattés a month, your web host will serve up open-source software like WordPress, or Joomla or Drupal or other software. Then, the site is yours to build any way you like.
Web Host Servers
Shared hosting means you are on a server with numerous other accounts with smallish sites. The upside is the low price due to the shared costs among the customers. The downside is reduced security from the sites you are sharing with.
Dedicated hosting means you have the server all to yourself. The upside is total control, ultimate security and the huge amount of traffic you can handle. The downside is the cost, but you get what you pay for.
Most small businesses operate on a shared server.
Here is what you want from web hosting service:
Apart from offering a solid connection to the Internet as well as the most recent version of WordPress, the most important thing a web hosting service will offer you is support.
I’m talking 24/7 technical support via phone, email, or chat. When things go terribly wrong, you want to get help immediately, before your readers notice anything askew. So, while it feels good to go with the little guy in your town, if you want help in the middle of the night, it’s better to go with the server farm in Texas.
Almost all web hosting services give you a Cpanel, short for Control Panel. If they don’t, fuggetaboutem.
The Cpanel is where you will install WordPress, configure your email accounts, manage your domains, access files and more. You want a nice clean interface with all the information and links to your site that you’ll need.
Go for the plan that offers unlimited domains, even if it costs a few dollars more. Being able to add domains to your account will give you the freedom to create more sites in the future at no extra cost.
Choosing Web Hosting
Here is a chart from Find My Hosting that compares the top 10 web hosts in North America.
I can personally recommend Bluehost, from which this site emanates, as well as HostGator, where my other sites, Tasting Room Confidential and BC Travel Writers, are hosted. Both companies offer good support with automatic WordPress updates. I’m affiliated with both.
The longer your plan the less you pay. Since you have already registered your domain name for 3+ years, you may as well purchase a plan for that amount of time to get the cheapest rate, even though the up-front cost is higher.
Web hosts are eager to offer all kinds of premium extras, like themes, SEO and backup. All of that can be done by you with free plugins and themes, so purchasing these extras depends on what maintenance you are willing to do.
If you bypass all the extras, you can expect to pay from $4-10 per month for a 3-year package with unlimited domains on a shared server.
On the bright new Cpanel of your new web hosting account, scroll down to the section on Website Building. You find links like Fantastico, Simple Scripts, Mojo Marketplace or just WordPress. Click on one of them.
In the pop-up window, tell the server where you want your new install to go. Enter names, directories, domains, passwords as required.
Boom! Within a minute, you will have a new WordPress install.
So, now you have a domain name registered somewhere and a web hosting account, presumably elsewhere. You now need to join them up by pointing the domain to your web hosting account.
In the welcome email from your web host, you will see your domain name server (DNS)numbers. Each host has a different DNS and they will furnish you with two alternatives that look like this:
Go to your domain registrar, login, and find the page to manage your domains. Enter both of these numbers in the proper place and click save.
At that point it can take up to 72 hours for your DNS to propagate – or connect with your web host – but it usually happens within a few hours. Until the DNS resolves, your new install will be accessible under a temporary address.
If your old domain is pointing to an old site, you might want to wait until the new WordPress site is ready for prime time before pointing the DNS to it.
Your domain names is registered, your WordPress is installed at your web host, and the DNS is resolving there. It’s time to start building your WordPress blogsite.
Next week we’ll cover installing a new WordPress theme. Until then, please stay connected.
And if you like this tutorial, please like and share it. Thanks.