[This is part 2 of a series of 5 articles on how to start a blog. To view the main post, with links to all of the relevant content, read my post on Steps To Start A Blog.]
Now that you’ve established a domain and checked its availability, it’s time to host your blog by purchasing a hosting plan. Just having a domain really doesn’t buy you anything; you need a way for people to visit your new website/blog. You do this via a hosting plan. There are two ways of hosting your blog on using WordPress:
Hosting Your Blog on WordPress.com
This is the free option that I described in my post on establishing a domain name, where you don’t need to purchase a domain name or a hosting plan. Setting up a blog is as easy as heading over to www.wordpress.com, creating an account, and selecting the name of your blog (which will become your domain name). You can even host multiple blogs under your account.
You may be asking yourself, why would I pay for a hosting plan if I can get one for no cost? There are some limitations with hosting a blog via WordPress. For one, you have to abide by the domain naming convention that WordPress imposes on you for their domain name. Some people want their own name, and don’t want to deal with the “wordpress.com” that’s appended to your domain. There are other limitations as well, and we’ll plan on coving those in another post where we have more time.
Self-Hosting Your WordPress Blog
A self-hosted approach is just as the name specifies. You purchase a domain and a hosting plan for a hosting provider, install WordPress on your web-server, and have full control over how your WordPress installation is configured.
If all of this has you thinking this isn’t for me, as I’m not very technical, it’s really not that complicated. There are standard tools that your hosting provider has that make the installation a synch. As you learn about WordPress, you’ll discover all kinds of neat things that you can do with it to personalize your experience. Some of these things are not available with the WordPress.com installation that was described above (you get what you pay for). We’ll cover some of the things that you can personalize with your blog in the next section, and I’ll try to call out those items that are not available with the WordPress.com install.
There are quite a few hosting providers that you can use to host your blog, the same ones you can use to purchase a domain name. You can’t go wrong with GoDaddy, InMotion Hosting, or Free Hostia.
That’s all there is to hosting your blog, In fact, most of the hosting providers provide an option to specifically host a WordPress site. Do some comparison shopping between the different hosting providers and the hosting plans they offer to find the best deal for yourself.