So you’ve read and understand the difference between a WordPress.com and Self-Hosted WordPress.org blog/site and have decided that self-hosting is the right way to go for your blog. That’s awesome! I think you’re making a wise decision.
But what’s next? How do you actually set it all up?
It can be confusing and daunting for someone who has never done it before, so I’m going to explain how to set up a self-hosted WordPress.org blog and the processes and elements you need in order to start out in the self-hosted world.
Register a Domain Name:
A domain is a unique name that identifies a website e.g. kaleidoscopeblog.net. Each website has a domain name that serves as an address, which is used to access the website. There are MANY (many, many) places online that you can purchase your domain from . I suggest going with one that is either recommended to you by other bloggers, or that is a big reputable company.
I use and recommend 123Host. It’s a small business and owner Steve is so helpful and gives great customer service – which is something you want to consider when you are just starting out as you are bound to have tech questions and need to get answers easily – so make sure you check out the tech support options of the company you choose.
You may like to consider registering variations on the main domain you want to use – such as: yourblog.com, yourblog.com.au, yourblog.net etc. You can then have all these domains pointed to your blog so that no matter which one a reader enters into their browser, they will still find your blog!
Australian bloggers, be aware that in order to purchase a .com.au domain, you will need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN).
Many companies that register domain names also offer web hosting – so check out any packages they might have.
Purchase Web Hosting:
Web hosting is the place the files of your blog or website live online. It’s kind of like buying a parking space for your blog to sit. Again, there are many options out there of companies to host with and service packages on offer. I would recommend, if possible, to have your domain and hosting provided by the same company. Keeping everything in the one place keeps things tidy and will help you to avoid confusion later down the track.
Most web hosts will have a Basic or Blogger package of services. This will usually be sufficient for any new blogger or small blog. Many of these packages also include email hosting which will allow you to have a personal email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You can either choose to use this, or simply continue using the email address you already have. personalised email addresses are viewed as being more professional than a Gmail or Hotmail account.
The next part of the process is to install WordPres.org onto your web host account. Some hosts will do this for you if you ask them, others will have step-by-step guides on how to do it specifically for that host. If your host does not have information on how to install WordPress, try searching for it on the internet as there is bound to be someone who has the answer for you.
Transfer your old blog:
If you have been blogging on another platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com this is the stage where you will want to transfer your existing content over to your new self-hosted blog. Here are a couple of tutorials on how to do it.
Unfortunately, if you have been blogging with Squarespace, there is no way to upload your exported blog file into WordPress and you will either have to start blogging from scratch, or recreate each of your past posts individually and publish them on your new site.
Edit Your Settings:
Take some time now to go through each of the settings in the admin section of your new self-hosted blog and set up your user profile, timezone, reading and writing settings and all the other options.
Install Your Theme:
One of the best things about a self-hosted WordPress site is that you can customise it to make it truly your own. The simplest way to do this is to install a theme. There are literally thousands upon thousands of WordPress Themes out there! Some are free, and some you pay for. Some are amazing, some are a pain in the butt to try to work with. In my work as a blog designer, I have worked with many, many themes, and have found that the Angie Makes themes are among the best. They have so many ways in which they can be customised, and it is easy to do.
You can check out other themes I recommend here and read some things to consider when choosing your theme here.
If you would like to work with me on creating a truly custom design for your blog, I’d love to hear from you. You can get more info here.
Installing plugins to your self-hosted site is a great way to add extra functionality to your site, such as a newsletter sign up or helping you out with SEO. See my suggestions for essential plugins here.
You are now ready to start blogging on your new self-hosted WordPress.org site! I’ve created an introductory tutorial on how to do that here.
So there you have a basic outline of what you need to do and consider when setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org blog or website. I hope you find this helpful!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you.
This posts contains affiliate links.