If you think setting up a blog is difficult or time-consuming, you’re about to have that myth shattered forever. You no longer have to be a super geek to set up a hosting account and blog. Today, setting up a blog at a host is something that just about anybody can do. Hosting companies want to gain and retain customers, so they have worked hard over the years to make the process of getting a presence online as simple as possible. I’ll show you in a bit how simple it is to set up your hosting account and blog. I recommend you use the WordPress blogging platform for a variety of reasons:
- It’s easy to use. If you can do basic editing with a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, you will have no problem using WordPress.
- It’s included free with most of the best hosting companies, including the host I personally use and recommend.
- Upgrades are free.
- Many hosts offer a one click installation wizard for WordPress – very similar to how you install programs on a personal computer.
- There are thousands of free WordPress themes available to make your site look visually appealing. Best of all you can change the look of your site with just one click.
WordPress is the blogging platform of choice for many professional bloggers and major publishing outlets.
Step by Step Instructions to Setting up Your Self-Hosted WordPress Blog Step
1: Choose a Domain Name
The first thing you need to do is choose a domain name. A domain name is the address you want for your site (i.e. www.mynewblogsite.com, www.myname.com). Most of you should choose a domain name ending with .com. However, if you are a non-profit organization or an association, you may want to choose a domain name ending with .org instead. This tutorial assumes you haven’t registered your domain name yet. It’s better and cheaper for you to register the domain name with the hosting company I use in this tutorial. If you’ve already registered your domain elsewhere, I’ve included a section at the end of the tutorial explaining what you need to do.
Tips for choosing a good domain name:
- Make it memorable
- Choose a domain name that’s easy to spell. Ideally, it should pass the “phone test” – if you were to tell somebody your domain name over the phone they shouldn’t have to ask you any questions about how to spell it.
- Keep it short. Most of the time it’s best to have domain names consisting of one to three words and under ten characters. In any case, never choose a domain name longer than 20 characters.
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers. The only time you may want to use numbers is if the numbers are part of a company name.
Step 2: Choose a Hosting Account
If you choose the wrong hosting company, you can run into all sorts of problems. That’s why I’ve included detailed and important information in this step so that everybody reading this gets this part right. If you choose the wrong host, you may end up with one or more of the following problems:
- Unresponsive support or no support at all.
- Sites going down frequently.
- The hosting company disappearing altogether.
- Getting your site blacklisted because you are hosted with sites promoting porn, pirated material, or other problematic or illegal offerings.
In other words, choosing the right hosting company is critically important when launching a WordPress site. Much of this tutorial will work for several different hosting providers. However, I’ve based this step by step guide on the Bluehost hosting company, the hosting company that I use myself. There are several reasons that I and many other people choose Bluehost over other hosting companies. Here are a few:
- Designed with Newbies in mind – You’ll see in my tutorial just how easy Bluehost is to use.
- Recommended by WordPress – Bluehost is one of the few hosting companies recommended by WordPress itself. You can’t get a better recommendation than that.
- Value for Money – Bluehost is a great value for the money. Their shared hosting plan is priced from $3.95 to $5.95 depending on how many months of hosting you commit to up front.
- Money back Guarantee – Bluehost has an “anytime money back guarantee.” You can cancel at any time and get a full pro-rated refund for anytime you paid for but didn't use.
- Reliable – Bluehost is extremely reliable. Bluehost is committed to a 99.9% uptime and is one of the most reliable hosting companies in operation today.
- Excellent 24/7 Support – Bluehost has trained in-house experts that provide superior support 24/7. At any time of day or night, you are only a toll-free phone call, email, or chat away from Bluehost’s courteous and helpful support. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced web geek, you’ll quickly get the support you need.
- Your Site Won’t Get Blacklisted – You’ll never have to worry that your site will be sharing space with the type of sites that could get your site blacklisted. Bluehost is strict about the type of content and sites they allow on their shared hosting plans.
- Stay Small or Grow Big – Bluehost offers unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts. You can also host as many websites or blogs as you like on your account.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Bluehost. If you click through one of my Bluehost links and sign up for their hosting, I will receive a commission. That being said, I use Bluehost myself and have tested Bluehost hosting thoroughly. I recommend it because I believe it offers excellent value for the money.
Step 3: Set Up Your Hosting Account
Cick here to go to the Bluehost WordPress signup page. Once on that page, click the “Get Started Now” button.
After clicking the “get started now” button you’ll see a page that says “Sign Up Now”. On that page you’ll see the two boxes shown below. This tutorial assumes you will be getting a new domain. For those of you who already have a domain, I’ve added a section at the end that explains what you need to do. Enter the domain you’d like in the field under “new domain”.
Click the “next button. If you’re domain name is available you’ll be taken to a page on which you’ll be asked to enter your account information. If your domain name is not available you’ll be offered domain suggestions that are similar to the domain name you want. Enter your account information. Then scroll down until you see a section called “Package Information”. Bluehost doesn’t have any contracts, but they do require that you pay up front for the term you choose: Here is how Bluehost’s pricing works.
- $3.95 per month for 36 months- Total of $142.20 due at Sign up (best value).
- $4.95 per month for 24 months- Total of $118.80 due at Sign up
- $5.95 per month for 12 months- Total of $71.40 due at Sign up
As mentioned previously, Bluehost has an Anytime Money Back Guarantee, which means you can cancel at any time and get a full pro-rated refund for any time you paid for but didn't use. Uncheck any extra options you don’t wish to include on your order. After you select your package, scroll down and enter your credit card information on the billing screen. If you’d prefer to pay by PayPal, click where it says “More payment options.”
After entering your payment information and reading through Bluehost’s Terms of Service, click the Next button. You’ll be greeted by an Order confirmation and account activation screen displaying “Congratulations” message. In order to create your account, click on the link that says “Create your password” and create a strong password. The easiest way to create a strong password is simply to use Bluehost’s Password Generator to create a strong password. Make sure to write down your password or store it in a secure password manager. If you’d prefer to create your own password, you’ll need to make sure it includes all of the following:
- Capital and lowercase letters
- At least one number
- At least one special character
Tip! Never allow your browser to save a password. Your account will be created automatically after a few minutes. In the unlikely event that you run into a problem, you can call Bluehost support at 1-888-401-4678.
Step 4: Sign Into Your Bluehost Control Panel (cPanel)
Once you create your password, you’ll be able to login to your Bluehost Control Panel (cPanel). This is where you can manage your websites, create email accounts and more.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Now you’re ready to install WordPress. The WordPress installation process is very similar to installing a program on your computer. Once you are inside your Bluehost cPanel area, scroll down until you see a section called “Website.” Click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
You’ll be taking to a service called “MOJO” that will allow you to easily install WordPress. You may see a screen temporarily that says “Loading up MOJO” that looks like this:
You’ll be taken to your MOJO account where you’ll be able to easily install WordPress. Simply click the “Install WordPress” button as shown on the screen below:
After clicking the Install button you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll be asked to select the domain to which you’d like to install WordPress. You may see your domain already in the box above the “Check Domain” button. If not, enter your domain in that box. Leave the field next to the domain name blank in order to make your site’s main address the blog.
You don’t need to change the email address, username and password for your WordPress installation. However, if you need to do so, you can click “advanced options” where you can change those settings. After reading through the terms and conditions, check the box. Click the Install Now button. It will take a couple minutes for the script to finish installing your WordPress blog. Once you’re done, you’ll be presented with a screen containing your blog address, blog login URL, username, and password. The information will also be sent to your email.
Step 6: Create Your First Blog Post
You’re almost ready to write your first WordPress post. First, you’ll need to log into WordPress. Go to your blog login URL which should display the following login form:
Enter your username and password. You’ll be taken to the main WordPress Dashboard. This is where you create posts from, change the look of your blog, as well as do other things that control how your blog looks and functions. You’re now ready to create your first blog post. On the left hand menu of the WordPress Dashboard, click Post. You’ll see additional menu items as shown below. Click “Add New”.
Next, enter a title for your post (see area 1 in the image below). Write your first post below the title (see area 2 in the image below). If you don’t like what you write you can edit or delete it later.
Click the Publish button. You have now published your first blog post! To see your post, simply click on Preview button (directly above the Publish button).
Step 7: Change the look of your blog
You can now change the look of your blog by installing what is called a “Theme”. Here’s how you do it. Inside the WordPress Dashboard, click the “Appearance” Menu on the left side.
You’ll see additional menu items under appearance. Click “Themes”.
At the top of the main screen of your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see a see an area that says “Add New”. You won’t see the number “9” shown in the image below. That refers to the number of different Themes that I’ve tested out.
You can search for a theme based on colors, layout, features, or keywords (or a combination of those). For the sake of this tutorial I’ve entered “blue,two columns.” WordPress returned the following two themes along with several others. In order to install the theme you like, click “Install Now”. For this tutorial, I’ll install the BlueSky theme.
You’ll be presented with a screen on which you can activate the theme. Click the activate button and your theme will be installed, giving a new appearance to your blog.
That’s the end of the main tutorial. You officially have the beginning your very own, great looking WordPress blog.
What To Do If You’ve Already Registered Your Domain Elsewhere.
If you are registering your domain at BlueHost (recommended), you don’t need to read this section. You’re done!
Only continue if you have registered your domain elsewhere. When you purchase a domain through BlueHost everything is taken care of for you.
However, if you have already registered your domain elsewhere, you will need to set the Name Servers yourself, or ask your domain registrar to do it for you. To be able to host your website with Bluehost you will need to use their Name Servers. If you do not set your Name Servers correctly, your website may not work properly, or possibly not even work at all. Bluehost has instructions for how to set Name Servers correctly for most of the major domain registrars here. If you are unable to follow the instructions, contact your registrar and ask them to set your Name Servers to: ns1.bluehost.com ns2.bluehost.com After your Name Servers are set, you should be able to load your website within 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes you’ll be able to load it sooner than that. However, keep in mind, your website becomes available to different parts of the country at different times in the process. That means that your website won’t be available in all geographic locations until the Name Servers are finished processing (technically, called “propagating”). Again, that typically takes 24 to 48 hours. It’s possible that Bluehost’s procedures may have changed when you read this. If so, you’ll need to contact Bluehost support. You’re now ready to set up your WordPress blog. In step 3 above, enter your existing domain in the box that says “I have a domain name.”
Click “next” and follow the rest of step 3 to the end of the main tutorial. If you want to make Bluehost your registrar for an existing domain (not recommended), pay special attention to what Bluehost has to say about the process: “Note: We highly recommend pointing the name servers to us before initiating a registration transfer. Transfers can take 3-10 days to complete; during this time the name servers cannot be modified. If you point the name servers to us before starting a transfer, your domain will be pointed to us during the duration of the transfer and your site will show what is on Bluehost's servers.” You can read more about transferring your domain registration to Bluehost here.