Blogging for Beginners: Week Three: Domain Name, Web Hosting, FTP
When I started this whole blog “thing,” I didn’t know much of anything at all. I still don’t, but what I do know is where to look. I’m weird in that I automatically wish I knew everything about a topic and it frustrates me when I have to invest a lot of time into something I wish I was really good at already—obnoxious right?—but this mentality also helped me find information fast and just do it. I didn’t wait around or search for months; I did my research and then I put it into action.
After about three months of blogging, I became so frustrated with the free, basic themes that I had, not because they weren’t nice, but because they didn’t give me the option to customize as much as I wanted and I was looking to start my “brand.” Furthermore, I knew that if I wanted blogging to be a more serious thing, and so that I could be taken more seriously, I knew that purchasing my own domain name would be a necessary investment. Not only would it allow me more power of customization, but it would also bring more readership and ownership over my “brand” (of which I am not entirely there yet!).
So where does one begin to even figure out how to purchase a domain name? And how does one know which is the best web hosting service out there? Well, like I said, it took some research, but I was able to concur that in order to purchase a domain name and use it, one should also have a web hosting service. (Again, I definitely am no expert on this, but this is my best understanding of the whole process.) This can be done via Wordpress (if you had a free Wordpress account initially), but it can also be done through websites like:
Of course, like blogging platforms, there are many, many more options, but these seem to be the most popular.
After skimming the internet, I found that I would still be slightly limited by hosting through Wordpress, as Fast Wonder points out here, so it was important for me to find the right hosting site for my needs.
Remember, just like any step of this process so far, don’t let the stress of picking the “right” web host prevent you from putting this into action!
The best advice I can give you is to check out your favorite blogs and see what host they use. Doing a quick google search will bring you a million different opinions; while some are helpful, like this article, others are forums for complaining. Ultimately, I chose Bluehost for the price, customer service, and reputation, but both Hostgator and GoDaddy offer good deals and services, too.
Before you purchase your domain name, make sure you search for any promo codes that might be out there! That saved me a few dollars and it was worth the few minutes searching.
Once you have decided on your domain name and web hosting service, do it! It’s worth the investment! There are several videos and tutorials about making the switch from your free blogging platform to the web hosting, but the great news is with Wordpress, you can continue using Wordpress while hosting elsewhere. Don’t stress about having to learn an entirely new blogging platform! You’ll use your web host occasionally to add plug-ins and other features, but for the most part, nothing will have changed.
Alright, so now here’s where things get foggy for me. Along with purchasing a domain name and using a web host, you do also need to download a FTP (file transfer protocol) program. Don’t let that scare you! I still don’t really get it and it doesn’t stop me from blogging. Anyway, all you’ll need to do is download one of the FTP programs (I use FileZilla). The purpose of this program is so that you can transfer files/data across a network. Here are some scenarios that make having a FTP a lifesaver:
- If you make changes to your css files in Wordpress and you mess up and you no longer can access your blog and you start crying and screaming and shouting that you “lost everything,” and life is over (not that that’s happened to me or anything…), you can open up your FileZilla and correct the css file back to what it was originally so that all hope is restored.
- Anytime you download a plug-in or a theme, you can drag and drop it into your Plug-Ins or Themes folder and it will automatically save it to your Wordpress dashboard.
I’m sure there are many other important reasons to have it, but this is what I know so far…please, share more or correct me if I am blatantly ignorant about this!
After you've purchased your domain name through a webhost and downloaded your FTP program, you can easily "export" all of your basic blog files to your new domain. For Wordpress, this can be done under the "Tools" tab under "Export."
So, go ahead. Take that step and buy your domain name! Then, don’t forget to share it in the comments below so I can check it out!
- Week One: Where Do I Start?
- Week Two: Choosing a Blogging Platform and Theme
- Week Four: Creating Free Graphics
- Week Five: Built My Blog, Now What?
- Week Six: Tutorials and Tips from the Experts