So, you’ve listened to the talks on self hosting your website, you’ve read around on the issues that using wordpress.com or blogger or other free systems might imply and you’ve decided to take the leap.
You know you need a domain name, and a host. But what are those things, where do you get them, and what do they mean?
The domain name is the bit that you type at the top of your browser, the person friendly word based address for your website. (A more technical explanation of all of this can be found here.) You buy it from a registrar, and I tend to recommend that you use a registrar separate to your host, because if it all goes pear shaped you don’t want to be trying to transfer domain names as well as all your files. Personally I use lowcostnames – they are reasonably priced, and don’t sting you on renewal.
Then it’s time to look for a host.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t need a dedicated server (the machine that all the actual files sit on), shared hosting will be fine. This just means that you are using a server that lots of other people use too, and that you are sharing the IP – there’s some funky software that keeps all the sites separate both in terms of people viewing it, and in terms of you managing it at the back end.
You won’t need a huge amount of storage space to begin with – because you are optimising your pictures for the web before you upload them, aren’t you? And you won’t need a massive amount of bandwidth (this is how the traffic to and from your site is measured) until you’re seeing a reasonable number of visitors.
Personally, I look for CPanel as the hosting interface – it’s well structured and has everything you can need. It also (usually)provides a one click installation for wordpress, meaning that your life stays simple and you don’t have to start installing via ftp (which is not that difficult, but just adds to the stress levels when you’re starting out). Do check that the host you are looking at does provide this though, it has been known for people to turn it off.
Some recommendations (which include affiliate links – please see my affiliate linking policy if you’ve any queries about this):
TSOhost – I haven’t used them personally, but I know a lot of people who have and seem very happy. Use code blogfest to get 10% off (not sure whether that applies to their lowest priced package).
EUKhost – we’ve been recommending these people for around 10 years, and not heard any complaints.
ezpzhosting – we have a server here, and they are excellent.
You can also check out a variety of webhosting review sites – be aware that many of the links on those will be affiliate links as well.
Once you’ve got the domain name and hosting sorted out, and pushed your one click button, the next step will be making your site look pretty – coming soon.