When I first thought about starting my own blog, I had no idea how many different services were involved in setting up a self-hosted website. I knew that self-hosting from the beginning was how I wanted to blog, and I’ve had no problems with it since I started blogging two years ago. Looking through articles about setting up a self-hosted blog using WordPress can make the whole process sound confusing, and it took me a while to get my head around everything!
With self-hosting, I think it’s best to look at each of the separate components needed to start a blog – a domain name, hosting, WordPress installation and blog theme. I thought I’d share what I know about self-hosted blogging from my own experiences and talk about the different tools I needed to get my blog up and running.
1 – Domain Name
Thinking of a blog name is the first step when creating a blog and, once you’ve thought of one, you’ll need to buy a domain name. This will be your website’s URL, for example mine is www.notsomousybrown.com. To buy my domain name, I used Namecheap and it cost me around £6.99. The domain name has to be renewed annually (at around the same cost) in order for you to retain ownership of it. Once I had it, it was time to look for hosting, the next step to getting a blog running.
2 – Hosting
A domain name must be linked to a hosting service so that it has its own space on the Internet. To host my domain, I use the web hosting service Siteground, as it had been recommended to me as a reliable service to use. There is a small cost for hosting per month, which is paid annually, but nothing that’ll break the bank! On the homepage you’ll find the option to “learn more” about options for web hosting, which will take you through to a page with different hosting packages. For my blog, I use the “GrowBig” package, but the “StartUp” package is a good option if you want to host just one website for the first time. With all Siteground packages, they provide a free SSL certificate too, which means that your blog will appear as “secure” on Google Chrome. Siteground will ask you to enter your domain name as part of the setting up process, and this is where your domain name will link up to your hosting service and your space on the Internet is created!
3 – WordPress
After I set up my hosting, I was able to install WordPress through Siteground itself. WordPress is the platform I use to upload my blog posts and edit my blog’s appearance, and the process of installing it through my hosting was a quick and easy one. Once WordPress is set up, you will have your own login page for your website, sort of like a “back office” for your blog, with a unique username and password so that only you can make changes to your blog and upload new content.
4 – Blog Theme
A blog theme determines what your blog will look like, and WordPress will provide you with a standard, free blog theme to start with. There are thousands of free and paid for WordPress blog themes available from various providers, and narrowing down the ones I liked took me a while. I eventually found a theme I liked named “Soledad” on ThemeForest, a site which sells thousands of responsive WordPress themes. Once I’d bought my theme, it was very easy to upload onto my WordPress back office, and I was able to customise my blog’s appearance in a clear, straightforward way.
This post isn’t a step by step blog set up post like you might find on the Internet, but I hope that it might point you in the right direction of reliable blog services. I had no idea what hosting or themes were before I started blogging, so a post talking about these different components would’ve been helpful for me at the start of my blogging journey. I’m hoping to post a full “how to make a blog” tutorial soon, so watch this space! For now, I hope this is a useful insight into some of the sites and services I use to keep my blog running smoothly.