While you can build a successful business just by creating a free site on WordPress.com, there is so much more to the world of websites that you can experience by taking a little more control.
When you’re ready to jump in a little deeper, I strongly recommend that you consider getting your own domain name (e.g. YourWebsiteName.com) and hosting it on a server you have control over instead of using a free sub-domain (e.g. YourWebsiteName.Wordpress.com) like we used as an intro to creating your first ever website in under 2 minutes.
It is really inexpensive to own your own little piece of Internet real estate, here are a breakdown of the costs:
- Domain name: .com about $10-$15 per year
- Hosting: Varies, but until your site gets really popular, don’t expect to pay more than about $5 per month
…and that’s pretty much it. You can buy other services to make some things easier, but you don’t need anything other than that. In fact, a domain and basic hosting is exactly what you get if you sign up to the ‘Premium’ package on WordPress.com – except they charge you $129 per year, and you really don’t need to pay anywhere near that much.
There are a wide variety of web hosts that you can use, and it is important to know that some are better than others, in fact there are a few things you need to research first. You don’t want to be stuck on a webhost with slow servers, or terrible customer support… it really won’t help either your experience or your audience’s experience.
I highly recommend using A Small Orange, it’s where Epic 14 Days is hosted (and I’ve had other sites hosted with them for nearly 2 years now), they have one of the best customer service reputations in the industry (very important). Go ahead and Google them – they really do have a wonderful reputation. They are also based in the USA, so all their customer service reps are not only quick to respond, but you can be sure they’re going to be native English speakers, which makes things a whole lot easier if you ever need to talk to them.
I’ve got all the info for you here, including a special introductory offer to make it even cheaper to get things up and running.
Full disclosure – I do have an affiliate link to A Small Orange here… if you click through and sign up for a hosting account, I may get paid a commission. I only recommend services and tools that I actively use and truly believe will provide great value to you (I really do host my sites on ASO and think they are awesome), but I think it is important to point these things out.
How to Get Your Own Domain Name and Setup A WordPress Site on A Small Orange
Setting up your own version of WordPress is still a very quick process… from start to finish it shouldn’t take you any more than 5 minutes (I know… an extra 3 minutes from using WordPress.com!)
Go to A Small Orange and click on Start Now.
Shared Hosting is what you’re looking for to begin with – so click on that… it means you’re sharing the server box with other websites. That significantly reduces the cost to begin with and is perfectly fine until your website starts to become really popular (at which point you can update to a Cloud VPS or Dedicated Server option).
Here’s what the shared hosting plans currently look like:
I highly recommend that you start with the ‘small’ plan… for only $5 per month, you’ll get everything you need (you won’t save any money on the ‘tiny’ plan, and for way less flexibility). Take the small plan for 12 months, cost $50 (two months free) and you also get your domain name free (usually $15)… not only that, but if you buy more domain names later on, you can also use them on the ‘small’ plan (and above) for no additional cost – you can host as many domains on that same $5/m plan as you like, until you run out of bandwidth. 50GB should be enough for at least a few hundred visitors a day (maybe as much as 1000 a day if you keep your website page size down) across all your sites.
Installing WordPress on your Domain
Once you’ve registered your domain and setup your hosting package, installing WordPress is also pretty simple.
Log into CPanel, which is the admin functions for your hosted website (you’ll get instructions from A Small Orange on how to do this once you’ve completed signup), and scroll down to the section towards the bottom that says Softaculous.
Find where it says WordPress – hover your mouse over and select ‘Install’.
It presents you with a few options, Site Name and Site Description can be entered here (You can also change those later)… the important sections to specify now are:
- Remove the ‘wp’ from the box marked In Directory (leave it blank, anything you enter here will install WordPress to a directory with that name rather than in the top level directory)
- Change the administrative username to something other than ‘admin’ to minimise risk of someone guessing it… it’s also a good idea to make sure you use a fairly strong password (you should also tick the box to limit login attempts).
Click Install and it does everything else for you (simple!).
From there you can use the admin username and password you chose to login to the WordPress dashboard, which you’ll find at yourdomain.com/wp-admin
All pretty simple? If you have any problems, the support team at A Small Orange are excellent – some of the best I’ve ever dealt with. They are quick to respond to any support requests and would be more than happy to walk you through it (or possibly even do it for you if you’re having major problems).