This lesson in the Blogging101 series will show you how to get your domain name and hosting set up. We will also go through the first few steps of getting WordPress installed so you can get one step closer to starting that blog!
So far we have covered picking the name and topic for your blog along with choosing a platform (this lesson is about a “self-hosted WordPress blog). If you have not gone over those lessons yet, feel free to go and get caught up.
So what is a domain name and hosting anyways?
This is a very common question with a very simple answer.
A domain name is the address people will use to get to your site. You are probably familiar with google.com, yahoo.com, facebook.com, and many more. These are all domain names.
And hosting…Hosting is pretty much renting space on a computer, from a company, to get your site and everything it needs onto the internet.
The hosting company that this lesson is going to focus on is HostGator.
HostGator is one of the largest and most reliable hosting companies in the world. We have been using it for many years now for multiple sites, with virtually no issues at all. There are many other hosting companies out there, but this is the one we recommend to people who are new to the blogging world.
If you decide to go with a different hosting company, you will need to find a separate guide on how to go about getting things set up there. You can come back for the next lesson though, as that will be the same for nearly every WordPress blog.
So let’s get this lesson started, shall we?!
The very first step is to hop over to HostGator and click any of the “Sign Up Now!” buttons. We recommend starting off with with “Basic Plan” for a new blog. You can upgrade to a larger plan in the future, with no issues, if you need more power. (Using our link to HostGator will also get you up to 60% off the normal price that they charge!)
Check for your domain name and add privacy
You should have an idea of domain names that you would like to use for your new blog. You will need to have more than one, as there is so many names already taken, you may have to work further down the list to find one that is available.
Now, check if your domain name is available, if not try another name from your list until you get one that has not been taken yet. (Adding a domain name to your hosting plan with HostGator can run up to $15 per year. There are ways to get your domain name for a few dollars less, but that is best left for another guide, as there are extra steps involved with getting things set up properly.)
Once you have picked a name that is available, you will see a section labeled “Domain Privacy Protection”. We personally recommend leaving this checked. If you uncheck this box and continue to register your domain name, you can expect phone calls and junk mail from people who want to take your money. Some of them make good pitches, but you will not need any type of service from anyone who wants to approach you in this manner.
We made this mistake before in the past, and do not want anyone else to have to go through that nightmare. The section for additional services is nice as well. With this feel free to pick and choose any that you want, or none at all.
You now have your domain name and hosting set up. We are ready to install WordPress. So far pretty easy right?
Getting WordPress installed
There is only a few steps you must go through in order to get WordPress installed. If you were doing this on your own, it could be much more complicated. But thanks to HostGator, we can get you through it in mere moments!
You will need to login to your HostGator control panel. You will find the link that you need in the welcome email that HostGator sent you at the end of the last step. The link will look something like: https://gator1234.hostgator.com:2083, your numbers are probably different though. You will also need the username and password from that same email.
Once you are logged in, you will notice that there is a slew of icons on the page. You can use this page to set up everything that you could want (we will cover email soon). At this moment though, we are only concerned with one of those icons, it is the one labeled “Build a New WordPress Site”. Go head and click that.
You will be taken to a new page, “Select domain for installation”, this one does not have quite as many things to look at. We are going to be focused on two boxes here. The first is a drop down box that is marked “Select your domain”. Go ahead and select the domain name you just created from that list.
The box next to it is marked “directory”. Do not do anything with this box. If you happen to change something in it you will NOT be able to access your blog by just typing in your domain name. There may be a time when you need to change the directory, but this is not one of them.
When you are done with those two boxes, click the “Next” button.
You are just about there. The next screen has just a few items that you need to fill in. They are all pretty self-explanatory, and nothing very tricky.
- Blog Title: This is the name for your blog. It does not have to be the domain name, just what you want your blog to be called.
- Admin User: The user name you want for the main account on your blog. You will use this to log in to your blog.
- First Name and Last Name: This is your name. Whatever you put in these will display on your blog. If you do not want anyone to see your real name, go ahead and use any initials you want. We will show you how to change your “display name” in the next lesson.
- Admin Email: This needs to be a real email address that you can access. Once you click the install button, an email will be sent here with the info you need in order to access your blog.
You will also be leaving the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box checked, and make sure you check the “Terms of Service Agreement” box. If everything looks good, click the “Install” button. Feel free to stretch your legs, as this can take up to a few minutes.
You should get a message saying “Installation complete!” after WordPress has finished installing. You will also have a few things here:
Installed to: This is the address to the front page for your blog.
Username: This is the admin username that you picked earlier. You will need this when you go to login to your blog.
Password: This is an auto-generated password for the admin account. If you do not like it, we will show you how to change that in the next lesson.
And the “LOGIN” button. This will take you to the admin section for your blog. The admin section is where you will write all of your posts and do other things to manage your blog. Things like setting up new themes and checking how many visitors you are getting, these are done in the admin section.
You just successfully set up your domain name, hosting, and WordPress!
You are almost ready to start your blog, but not quite yet. Our next lesson is going to cover the last things you will need to do before you can get started.