Once you have a domain name, you need to set-up hosting so that people can actually view your website and its contents online. I personally started out with Hostgator, who host millions of websites and are the cheapest offering out there. Depending on how long a plan you initially sign-up with, you can get hosting for as little as $3.96 (£2.50) per month.
Other popular options out there include Dreamhost and Bluehost, though I haven’t used them personally. Since I have used Hostgator, I’ll be using them for this example. If you do want to try another host, make sure that you get an Apache server, and that you can run the WordPress.org blogging software. Your host will know if they can do this.
If you want to use Hostgator, then head on over to their website (no affiliate link) and click on the ‘Shared Hosting’ menu option. From there you’ll be presented with a number of plans. Any of them are fine, though do note that the Hatchling option only lets you host one domain, but the slightly more expensive Baby option allows you to host an unlimited number of domain names. With Hostgator you can easily upgrade if you need to at any time, though these options are more than enough for sites which get a few thousand visitors per day.
Follow their step-by-step process, making sure you enter the domain you have purchased through whichever registrar you used. Within 24 hours you’ll receive an email from Hostgator with your account details and your hosting nameservers. You’ll need these nameservers in the next step of the process.
If you’re using Namecheap, then head to their website and select the ‘My Account’ >> ‘Manage Domains’ option on their navigation bar. From there, click on the domain you’ve purchased and select ‘Transfer DNS to Web Host’ from the left navigation options. You’ll then see room to enter your nameservers, so place the ones you’ve received from Hostgator into these boxes.
If you’re not using Namecheap, you’ll have to ask your respective registrar on how to do this. Once you click ‘Save Changes’ it can take up to 72 hours for your domain to ‘propagate’ around the world so that people can actually see your website when the type your domain into their browser address bar.
The final section of this update is going to show you how to install WordPress, the most popular blogging software available. Not only is it the most popular, but it’s also 100% free and if you’re using a host like Hostgator which gives you access to a server admin interface called Cpanel, it can be installed in minutes.
If you weren’t provided your Cpanel access details when you signed up for your hosting account then you’ll have to ask them for these details. Companies like Hostgator have a live chat feature available 24/7 on their website so you should be able to get these in a couple of minutes. Once you’re in Cpanel you’ll see hundreds of options for lots of different things, but don’t let that overwhelm you.
You’ll only need to do this once, and then you’ll never have to look at this interface again. Scroll down to the third quarter of the page and look for a blue smiley face labeled ‘Fantastico De Luxe’ and select that option. On the new screen that appears, select ‘WordPress’ on the left navigation bar.
You’ll then be presented with options for your username, email address and preferred password for your new WordPress installation. Follow the step-by-step on screen options and finally click ‘Install’. You will then be presented with a confirmation message that your blog software is now ready. I told you it was simple!
To log into your WordPress admin area, simply go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ (substituting yourdomain for whatever domain you purchased) and entering your chosen username and password.