If you have decided to start a self-hosted blog, there are some things you’ll need to get in order beforehand. This includes getting a hosting account, selecting and buying a domain name, and figuring out how to use cPanel and Fantastico.
Your first decision will likely be which host you want to go with. There are many options on the market. Some commonly used ones are Hostgator, Bluehost, and Hostmonster. These all have fairly good reputations, so your choice will come down to what kind of hosting package you want to go with. Many Internet marketers choose to use Hostgator because it is highly cost effective, the support is good, and it is easy to use (newbie friendly!).
When you decide to purchase a hosting package, you will notice that they ask if you have your own domain name or if you want to use one provided by them. You can do either, but it is recommended that you keep your hosting account separate from where you maintain your domain name. This will give you more control, should you decide to change hosts in the future. Namecheap.com and GoDaddy.com are common places to purchase a domain. The domain name should cost under $10 per year — which is a great deal!
No matter whether you get your domain name through your hosting company or through a separate registrar, you’ll want to put a lot of thought into which name you choose. Remember, you can have one that is keyword focused based on your niche or one that brands your blog.
After you purchase your domain name, there will be a place to enter the name servers (DNS) they should point your domain name to. This basically tells the system where your host is. It connects the two and allows your domain name to show up on your host. Your host should be able to provide you with this information.
Once you have your domain name and hosting accounts set up, you will want to take a look at the backend of your hosting account. If you’ve gone with one of the recommended hosts, this will be called your cPanel. cPanel is designed to be easy to use and to allows you access to information about your account, your websites (such as traffic and keywords people are using to find you), your domain names, and easy ways to install scripts. Since you want to install WordPress, you are now most concerned with an icon called Fantastico.
Fantastico is a blue smiley face icon. Once you click this, you will be taken to a screen that shows several options on the left side. You want to look under “blogs” and find the WordPress option. Click this and you will find that you’re taken to a screen that allows you to enter in information for where you want your WordPress scripts to be installed.
For most people, this will be in the main folder of their domain name (so the blog shows up on http://yourdomain.com). Other people may have an established website already and want to have their blog show up at http://yourdomian.com/blog. Fantastico will install everything for you with a simple click after you have entered in some standard information.
Be sure to make note of all the information you enter (you’ll need it to log in later!) and have Fantastico e-mail it to you. Keep the information safe!
While setting up a self-hosted blog might seem intimidating, it is definitely worth it for most people in the end. You’ll love knowing that you have full control over your business and that it looks professional all the way around. There is a learning curve, just don’t let yourself get intimidated!
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