WordPress is one of the best ways to create your own websites. From blogs to eCommerce stores, WordPress lets you do almost everything; even if it’s not inbuilt, you can find plugins to turn the platform into anything you want.
Keep in mind “almost” in that statement. There are things WordPress can’t do because of its nature, and hosting is one of those things. If you’re interested in using it, you’re probably aware of that.
Well, don’t worry. Today, we’re taking a look at how you can solve that problem.
Do you know what’s WordPress?
Sure, WordPress is a website creation platform. Everyone reading this knows that, but you might not be fully aware of what it really is.
WordPress is the most famous CMS platform available today. CMS stands for Content Management System, and it’s basically a type of platform built to create and manage content on the internet.
That’s why it’s so popular for bloggers: after all, a blog is nothing but content. However, you can use it for online stores, news websites, affiliate and membership websites, and more. That’s because everything comes down to content in the end.
Sure, it’s more specialized content; coding for these types of websites is a lot more complicated than a simple blog. However, WordPress also comes with myriads of plugins dedicated to turning the platform into anything you need.
On the other hand, there’s another very important confusion I need to clear up before we move towards actual hosting stuff.
Dot-com VS dot-org
This is an important topic because it ties right into our main topic: WordPress.org isn’t the same as WordPress.com. A lot of people think they’re the same, and I’ve personally seen a fair share of friends using the latter when they wanted to use the former—including myself when I was starting.
You see, WordPress.com is actually a free host if you want to publish your content quickly. Being free, it’s a fairly limited service, and if you’re serious about scaling your business, it won’t take long until you feel like it doesn’t cut it anymore.
It’s a lot better for smaller blogs if you just want to keep it personal, or maybe even a portfolio if you’re a writer. It’s also an amazing way to get your feet wet, but it’ll never offer the same speed and reliability as paid options.
One of the main reasons why WordPress.com isn’t a good choice for entrepreneurs is that your websites are simply subdomains. Just like other hosting services’ free plans, your website’s URL will look something like “xxxxx.wordpress.com,” which definitely isn’t good for your brand.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is what most people think about when they talk about WordPress. This one is the content creator with all of the plugins that let you do anything you want to your website’s features and design. You can mess directly with the code if you know how, but there are many visual builders that let you edit the site without any programming knowledge.
What does hosting a WordPress site mean?
Alright, so what’s does all that hosting talk mean? Well, hosting is actually a very self-explanatory concept. Traditionally, hosting means to house something—people or events—in your property.
Web hosting—and by extension WordPress hosting—is doing the same but with websites and servers. In other words, a web host has their own servers, and they take care of keeping websites within these servers. This is what lets your website and its content exist in the internet.
Naturally, different services offer more than just different company names. Some use different technologies, offer specialized plans, more or less bandwidth, different uptime, etc. The ideal hosting solution for you is one that can adapts to your business needs and can scale depending on your growing needs.
These factors are what you need to keep in mind when you’re choosing your service. You don’t want just to publish your content; you need to make sure it runs smoothly, won’t go out-of-service, and will generally work perfectly.
With that in mind, let’s go through the criteria for choosing a web host.
What you should expect from a hosting service
Now, all hosting companies do the same: keep your site live. How they do it can be a whole different story, and these measures translate directly into a better user experience and SEO performance.
One of my favorite standards when it comes to hosting features is definitely Bluehost, especially since it offers lots of modern solutions for anyone looking to run a website and make a business out of it.
For starters, Bluehost is a highly secure website, and that’s a huge consideration with so many hackers and similar risks lurking around the internet. Both your and your visitors’ data is always safe, and Bluehost ensures this by providing security measures used by some of the largest companies around the world.
You don’t need to worry about outgrowing their service either. You’ll be able to manage thousands of subscribers right from the get-go and support lots of traffic from the most basic account. You don’t have to worry whether you’re hosting an online store or a business website. As your business grows, you can simply upgrade your account with your larger revenue, and you’ll know exactly when to do so, because the best hosting providers work with tools like Google Analytics.
The last relevant criterion I want to point out is customer support. While it’s not a technical spec like the others, and thus won’t affect your site’s performance, it can be a game changer for newcomers. Customer support is usually what makes me choose specific services and products, and anyone who’s dealt with lousy customer service has an idea why.
If you’re just getting started, having access to 24/7 support can save your website in case you make a mistake, and the same goes if you already have a website and want to migrate it.
How to use a service like Bluehost
I’ll use Bluehost as an example since it’s my personal favorite service—and my recommendation (as well as WordPress’) for anyone starting out. It’s one of the few web hosts offering the features I just mentioned while being ridiculously affordable.
Firstly, you want to head over to your host’s official website. Not all websites are the same, but they’re usually very similar. You want to find the option to acquire the service. For Bluehost, this is “Get Started Now”, so you might want to look for something similar if you’re using a different provider.
This will usually direct you to the pricing page, where you can choose an account tier. I’d recommend you go for the basic one regardless of your hosting service; these are monthly payments and can add up quite quickly. If you feel like it’s too small for your needs, most service providers let you upgrade your account anytime you want.
It’s also one of the reasons I recommend Bluehost. The Basic plan is just $2.95, and it only goes as far as $5.45 for the most expensive plan right now.
A few services, like Bluehost, come with a free domain for your website. The next step is to find your domain if you don’t have one already. If you already bought a domain elsewhere, you can use that, too. Keep in mind not all hosting companies come with a free domain, so you might want to buy one before choosing other services.
Keep in mind this isn’t a lifetime setting; you can always change it later if you decide to change your brand or anything like that.
The next step with Bluehost, and several similar providers, is to enter your account details. This usually includes your name, physical and email address, phone number, and others might include things like business name and ZIP code like Bluehost.
If you decide to go with Bluehost, you’ll have to define your package: add-ons, how many months you want to pay, etc. The last step is usually to enter your payment details and pay the upfront fee.
Once your hosting account is ready, some hosts like Bluehost will ask you to create your login account. This means creating your password and perhaps a username. If you already did this, don’t worry; remember I’m using Bluehost as an example, so it might vary if you go for another provider.
The final step is to set up your website with your host. Another reason why I recommend Bluehost is that it’ll take you right to this step after creating your account; it’ll even install WordPress automatically.
If you’ve seen WordPress tutorials, the next steps are fairly straightforward. You pick your theme and customize your website. You can start with a free theme, but I’d recommend you check out some premium ones. Premium themes usually come with advanced features that might even save you money on other plugins down the line.
That’s also my last personal advice: don’t be afraid of investing money in things like plugins, themes, etc.
A lot of people tend to feel a bit intimidated about getting a hosting service or looking for a domain, but it’s far from difficult. I’d even say designing your website is a lot more complicated than hosting your website, especially with a service like Bluehost, which comes with its own custom domain for free.
If you followed this guide’s steps as you read it, you already have open ground to customize your site and publish all the content you want. If you used Bluehost as well, then you were probably done in about 20 minutes or less.