I’ve had quite a few people ask me questions about blogging lately, which excites me – I think everyone should blog. One of the big questions is, “How do you host your own blog, you know so you can do cool things with it?”. And that is a very good question. I though I’d just google it and come up with some easy tutorials, but after about 5 minutes of searching, I got tired and frustrated at how technical and confusing the ones I found were.
So I am going to attempt to create an easy step by step tutorial on how to host your own blog.
First you need to understand what is going on with the internet and your blog (we’ll call your site, your blog). Your blog needs a name ex: mycoolblog.com, and you need to purchase that name from a registrar. Now your blog needs a home, a place to live and set up shop – that’s going to be your hosting company. Imagine them as a giant apartment building, and you are renting space, which gives you a real address for people come and see you. Just like an apartment, you have to pay rent each month for the space, and just like an apartment, the bigger apartment with more features, the higher the rent. And lastly, you must furnish your apartment, you need all kinds of cool things for people to see and experience when they come over, this is where WordPress, WordPress plugin’s and themes come in. Make sense? Ok, then let’s get started.
Step 1: Get your Name
Get a name. I recommend using godaddy, it’s just easy and fairly inexpensive. You’ll probably have to be creative as many names have been taken or purchased to sell. Once you find a name that is available follow the steps to purchase it. Don’t spend the money on any extras – it’s not worth it, unless you are a privacy freak. You night have to look closely as you are clicking, just click on the “no thanks”, and purchase just your domain (name or address to us laymen).
Important! You have to setup a username and password for godaddy. Save all this! Godaddy will email you confirmation emails – save these! This is super important.
Step 2: Find a Place to Live
I’m not an expert here, but I’ll share what I know. You need to find a “hosting company” as I mentioned earlier. There’s all kinds and I’m sure everyone has something to say on this matter. I use Site5.com and they, for the most part have been great. I think they’ve got something like $6 bucks a month for everything you need.
Important: WordPress has some specific requirements for your hosting company. I know Site5 meets them, and most reputable company’s will, but you might want to double check.
Step 3: Tell the Internet Where You Live
This sounds weird, and is one of the more complicated steps, but you’ve got to change something called DNS settings at the place that holds your name. It’s like sending a change of address to the Post Office – your name isn’t changing, just where you live.
First you need this address (usually two of them). They are referred to as “DNS Addresses” or “Nameservers”. You new hosting company should supply them – if you can’t easily find them on the site, just contact customer service. They usually look something like this (from Site5): ns1.site5.com / ns2.site5.com (or dns1.site5.com, you get the picture).
Now you’ve got to go to where you purchased your name. If you registered your name at Godaddy:
– login and click on “My Account”
– click “Manage Domains”
– click on the box next to your name (mycoolblog.com)
– click on the “Nameservers” icon in the above menu
– a “Set Nameservers” field comes up next and you should only have to fill in Nameserver 1 and 2 with the above mentioned Nameservers supplied by your hosting company. Click OK. Usually a message comes up saying that changes may take up to 48 hours – this could be true, just be patient. Once all the “paperwork” goes through your name should hook up with your new address. Geeks call this “propagating”.
Step 4: Furnish Your Place with WordPress
This is where you “install” WordPress. This is actually very easy, but your not the type that likes to follow directions specifically, then this will frustrate the heck out of you. Start by downloading the latest version of WordPress onto your computer. In the package, I think there’s step by step installation directions, or you can go here. (don’t be scared, espescially of setting up a MySQL database and user – you can do this!)
Now while that’s downloading, figure out how you’re going to upload it to your new site. Think: how will I bring things up and down the stairs of my new apartment. Internet people call this file transfer protocal, otherwise known as FTP. There are many options here: freeware programs, pay programs, plugin’s for Firefox, etc. My favorite is Fire FTP plugin for Firefox (if you’re not using Firefox, then we need to talk). If you are familiar with FTP, I recommend you use some type of program, but if you’re not, most hosting company’s have file managers as part of the service you pay for.
For example, if you used Site5, login and click on your name (or Site Adim, either way you want to get into the Site Admin page). You should see a menu on the left – click on “Web Site Tools”, which will expand a menu below. Click on “File Manager”, this will open a new window with a little file managing application. Usually, you’re going to want to upload your WordPress folder into a directory (a file folder), not the “root” – which is probably what you are looking at. What you want to do is look for a folder caller “public_html”. Click on that folder icon, and it will open. Then there should be a icon to upload into that directory – click it and choose your WordPress folder from your computer.
If you followed all the WordPress directions to the T – then after some uploading, when you go to your site – you should see a welcome message from WordPress, telling you that the install was successful.
*I must say that this is what has worked for me, and I’ve installed 4 blogs using WordPress and each time it has worked. Sometimes I’ve had to go back and make sure I followed the WordPress directions, but every time it worked. I am still learning how to do this, and it seems like every day I learn something new. I hope you have the same experience. Just leave a comment if you have trouble and I’m sure this community would love to help!