Today’s post is sponsored by Hostgator. While compensation was received for this post all opinions and experiences are my own. I hope you find this post to be helpful!
A little background: I started my blog in 2008 and it was hosted free using Blogger. I quickly realized the limitations that presented and I feared that my blog could be removed at a moment’s notice because it was on Blogger’s platform and not a self-hosted one. This meant I had no control so I ended up moving my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site as soon as I figured out how to do it. I chose Hostgator in December 2008 and I’ve been using their services ever since.
My reason for wanting to create this tutorial is to show you how easy it is to set up your own self-hosted blog in case it’s something you’ve been thinking about but maybe have been a little reluctant to do because of the technological side. It’s so much easier to begin with self-hosting than having to move a free-hosted blog to a self-hosted one. Also, if you plan to make money from your blog at any time, self-hosting is the only way to go. No matter what you’d like to start a blog about, the setup process through Hostgator is the same and it’s so much easier than you think. I promise.
The longest part for me was actually deciding on my domain name. Once you have that figured out, you’ll have your new blog hosted and ready to go in less than 5 minutes. More about that in just a little bit.
Two things I love most about HostGator:
- They provide 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email. They’re eager to help and I’ve had a great experience any time I’ve contacted them.
- One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files. Seriously if I can do it, anybody can.
1. Choose a domain. Definitely take some time to think carefully about this. I have actually renamed my blog since it became self-hosted. It started out as MelindasFitnessBlog.com (which now redirects to this domain). It’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about your domain name before pulling the trigger because if you ever do decide to change it, you may lose a lot of your traffic and that is frustrating. When you purchase hosting through Hostgator you can register a brand new domain for free.
2. Choose a hosting package. Hostgator offers 3 different hosting plans. If you only want to host one domain the cheapest option is the Hatchling Plan which will host your brand new blog for just a few dollars per month. If you choose to pay for 12 months or more up front, the average cost per month would be even lower. I personally love that they offer a monthly payment option – especially if you’re brand new to blogging. Although, signing up for 12 months up front is great accountability to help you keep blogging. :)
*After you choose your hosting plan and complete the checkout process, you will be given access to your brand new Hostgator account. It’s generally referred to as your Cpanel.
It looks like this:
*There is a lot of information there and it can be very overwhelming at first so I’ve included screenshots to help streamline the WordPress installation process for you.
3. Install WordPress on your domain. WordPress is a widely used blogging platform and users love it because it’s simple to install and easy to navigate.
- Once inside your Cpanel account, scroll down to the Software/Services section and click on “QuickInstall“.
- Under the Blog Software section, choose “WordPress“.
- On the next screen, click “Continue“.
- Fill out the installation form. When choosing an Admin User, be sure to choose something that won’t be easily guessed. This username is what you will use to log into your blog.
If you want the blog on the root of the domain (www.yourblog.com) then leave the box blank in the Application URL section. This means when you type your URL into a web browser, it will go directly to your blog. This is how my blog is set up.
If you want your blog at www.yourwebsite.com/blog, then type “blog” into the blank box in the Application URL section after your website name. Then www.yourwebsite.com/blog is the direct URL where you will find your blog.
- Double check to be sure all information is complete and accurate. Then, click “Install Now!“
4. Once it’s finished installing, you’ll receive a congratulations message!
Just below that message, it will show the information you need to log into your blog. You should also receive an email that says, “Your new WordPress is ready!”and it will contain your log in information as well.
*If your domain is brand new it may not be accessible right away. This is because new domains take up to 24-48 hours to propagate. In my experience I have never had to wait very long at all but just in case you can’t access your site right away, that’s probably why.
If you’re curious about what theme to use, I’ve used StudioPress themes for the past several years and recommend their themes and services to everyone! They also have a helpful support forum where you can ask questions and get feedback from other users.
I hope you have found this tutorial to be helpful! If you have any questions, please comment down below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.