If you’re interested in starting a blog, one of the first things you should learn and understand is the difference between hosted and self-hosted.
Before we jump into that, you’ll need to find a platform for your website. The most common options are WordPress, Blogger, and Squarespace. I highly recommend WordPress, it’s the leading website platform and is used by companies like The Rolling Stones, BBC America, MTV News, Sony Music, and more.
Let’s talk about WordPress…
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress.com is a free site where you can create a free blog. (I italicize free because they do offer some upgrades). Free sounds really appealing, right? The downside to this option is that you cannot monetize and make money on your blog.
In addition to the lack of monetization, all of your files and data are being saved on WordPress servers. Which means you no longer have the rights to anything you post. They own everything. Plus, you’re required to adhere to all of their terms and conditions.
If you choose a different free option like Blogger, just like WordPress, they have a policy where they can terminate your blog at any time for any reason.
All of your hard work can literally be stripped from you within seconds. Scarry.
WordPress.org allows you to use the WordPress platform & admin panel to write content and customize your website. But, all of your data and files will need to be hosted on different servers (this is what they call self-hosting). There are many different hosting sites you can choose from. Below I’ll walk you through how to set up self-hosting with my favorite company!
So, what exactly is self-hosting?
What is Self-Hosting?
As I mentioned in the previous section, self-hosting is when you store all of your website’s files on servers other than WordPress’. When I talk about your website’s files, this includes everything – your theme, plugins, pages, posts, photos, comments, and a lot more behind-the-scenes technical stuff that could vouch for its own blog post.
Self-Hosting is a paid for service. If you’re serious about growing your blog and would like to ultimately make money, then self-hosting is a must. Picking a self-hosting site that works with your budget is essential – you can always switch later if you’re unhappy.
Many times different self-hosting services will offer additional add-on items like site optimization, automatic WordPress updates, free themes or plugins, and individual IP address.
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Which Self-Hosting Service To Pick?
When it comes time to picking a self-hosting service there are literally tons and tons of options. Finding a good self-hosting option is key as they can be a factor in your site’s loading speed and also will be responsible if your site ever goes down.
Different sites offer different hosting plans ranging in size, extra add-ons, and price. As I mentioned earlier, they often provide additional services as well.
Sign Up for Self-Hosting With SiteGround.
SiteGround is one of the best self-hosting platforms you can pick from. They also have some amazing customer service and support!
(In the past, I’ve tried other self-hosting services, but they always let me down and had issues.)
How To Sign Up for Self-Hosting.
Now that you know what self-hosting is and why it’s so important, let’s walk you through how to sign up for self-hosting with SiteGround.
Step 1: Pick A Plan
Make sure to pick a WordPress hosting plan! You’ll see this option in the top navigation bar under ‘WordPress Services’.
Step 2: Create Your Domain
Next, you’ll get to create your domain (your URL)! This is free when you sign up with SiteGround hosting. If the domain is not available, it will show some other options or recommendations for you. I HIGHLY recommend you get a URL with the extension .com – this will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes.
Step 3: Choose Your Hosting Period & Pay
After you’ve selected your domain you can choose how long you’d like the hosting period to last. (The longer you pick the bigger discount you’ll get.) After the first period is over, you’ll be automatically charged the full price for one year.
I also suggest you purchase the Domain Privacy – this will make sure you stay off calling lists and your information stays private. You don’t want to be sharing your address with the whole wide world.
Step 4: Install WordPress
After this, you’ll need to install WordPress on your website through WordPress!
When setting up WordPress for your site you will be asked to create login information. Make sure this is a high-security password as this is the login to modify and control your website.
Login to your SiteGround account and head to the ‘My Accounts’ tab. From here you’ll want to click the ‘Go to cPanel’ Button. If a window pops up with ‘cPanel Access’ simply click ‘Proceed’.
Once you’re in your cPanel, scroll down to the ‘Auto Installers’ section. Here you’ll want to click on the WordPress option.
On the next page, scroll down to find the ‘Install Now’ link. This will open up a form. Fill out the form and click ‘Install.’ When filling out the form you will be asked to create login information. Make sure this is a high-security password as this is the login to modify and control your website.
Once you get the okay that WordPress is installed on your site, you’ll be able to login to your Admin Dashboard. You can get to your dashboard using the following URL… YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin Once logged in, you’ll be able to start editing and customizing your site!
If you ever get stuck or don’t understand something you can either reach out to me or the SiteGround customer service team (recommended). They’re great at explaining every little detail and making sure you’ve got everything set up correctly.
Let’s Recap What You’ve Just Learned…
We’ve just covered a ton of information and at first, it can be a lot to take in. Here’s a short and sweet review of everything I’ve mentioned in this post.
- WordPress.com creates free hosted sites
- They own all of your content.
- You cannot monetize in any way, shape, or form.
- They can take down your site at any time.
- WordPress.org allows you to create a self-hosted site
- You own all of your content.
- You can monetize till your heart desires.
- Highly-customizable with the addition of advanced themes and plugins.
- Self-Hosting is a paid for service
- Your content is saved to and stored on external servers.
- Self-hosting services often offer additional add-ons.
- SiteGround is a safe and reliable option.
Self-Hosting allows you to take your blog to the next level. Without self-hosting, my websites wouldn’t be where they are today. Are you ready to amp up your website?