While it feels a little scary and intimidating to setup a self-hosted WordPress blog for the first time, we’re here to help make it a quick, easy and pain-free process – pinky promise! Even if this is your first rodeo, don’t be overwhelmed. We’re breaking it down in detail, so follow along and let’s build your new amazing site!
PICK OUT YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Before you set up your self-hosted WordPress blog, make sure you have a name and domain name picked out for your new site. You can purchase your domain straight through some host providers (and many add a free domain on as incentive to purchase their hosting), or you can purchase it elsewhere. Our recommendation is to purchase your domain name elsewhere, but this is up to you. Hover is our favorite option and the one we’ll provide a tutorial for below, but feel free to use another domain provider (note: we’re not big fans of Godaddy and don’t recommend them). If you’re going to purchase it from your host provider, don’t worry about securing your domain just yet. You’ll do that a minute if you’re following along with us below. If you already have a domain name or plan on purchasing it elsewhere, we’ll touch on that throughout this tutorial.
PURCHASE YOUR HOSTING
The next step in setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog is securing hosting for your new site. Many people use Bluehost, as it’s an inexpensive option for pretty reliable hosting (but do keep in mind it’s a shared host, which means many websites reside on a single server. This can cause slower load times, it can keep scripts on your site from running properly, and can sometimes even cause your site to crash. These servers are usually overloaded to compensate for the low prices these companies charge. Many bloggers use shared hosting, so it’s not quite as scary as it sounds, but we’d recommend switching to a dedicated host once you are producing legitimate income from your site and/or can afford it). If you have more money to spend right now and anticipate a higher traffic site, we’d highly recommend using a dedicated host like Flywheel or WP Engine. But for the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you are brand new to the world of self-hosted WordPress and will be starting out with Bluehost. If you’d prefer to use SiteGround, which we recommend, check out their tutorial to get you started here. If you’re going with Flywheel, a good video tutorial can be found here. If you’re choosing WP Engine, check out this tutorial. Note: we’re providing affiliate links for all of the above hosts. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it helps us continue making these tutorials. If you’re thinking of purchasing hosting, we’d be grateful if you purchased through our links!
Now, back to Bluehost. You’ll see something like this on Bluehost’s homepage:
Click on the green “get started now” button.
From here, you’ll want to choose your plan. We’d recommend sticking with the middle plan, called Plus. This gives you hosting for an unlimited number of websites.
Go ahead and select the plan you want.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be directed to add a new domain, or enter the domain you already own elsewhere. If you purchased a domain somewhere else, type that into the “I have a domain name” box. Otherwise, grab your free domain from Bluehost by typing in the domain you want into the “new domain” box.
When you’ve finished selecting your domain, you’ll then be prompted to fill out your account information. Piece of cake.
Once that’s done, scroll down and choose your package plan here (it will likely default to the cheapest option, which is the longest term. Feel free to choose whatever length term you want. You don’t need any of the add-ons they automatically select for you.). Then enter your payment information.
Once you’ve completed that information and submitted it, you’ll be redirected to your cPanel. From here, you’ll find the Install WordPress button and click it.
You may get a page here that welcomes you to the Marketplace (or something else), but go ahead and click on through that to continue.
Select your domain here. It will automatically check your domain and should give you a confirmation notice. Then you’ll click “Next.”
Here, you’ll name your site and enter the username and password you’ll use to login to your site (you can choose to accept the username and password they give you). Then, make sure you’ve agreed to their terms and click “Install.”
LOGIN TO YOUR NEW SELF-HOSTED WORDPRESS BLOG
Once that’s complete, you should be redirected to a new page that looks something like this, below. It will have your admin panel URL and your username/password.
If you click on the admin URL (which is just http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin), you’ll either get your WordPress login page, like so (if you purchased your domain name straight through Bluehost):
Or, if you purchased your domain name elsewhere, you’ll get a message from your domain provider that says the site is still being worked on (it’ll vary from domain name provider to domain name provider). It might look something like this:
This means you need to point your domain to Bluehost servers. Check out our video tutorial on pointing your Hover domain to the Bluehost servers here to walk you through that. If you use another domain name provider or host, you should be able to find out how to do this through them.
Yay! You’re all done setting up your new self-hosted WordPress site! Cue the confetti!
When you login to your WordPress account, you’ll see a note that your page currently displays a Coming Soon message. Once you’re ready to launch your site, you’ll click on the URL they provide:
Ready to really celebrate? Make your new site stunning with a WordPress theme!
The standard WordPress theme leaves quite a lot to be desired. While you can certainly hire a developer to create a super personalized, custom WordPress theme just for you (we’d be happy to help you with that option!), that’ll typically run you $5000+. If that’s not in the budget for you right now, a premade theme is an affordable option to make your blog stand out. We like to call themes blog outfits, because they’re a fast way to change your blog’s look without breaking the bank. Premade themes can usually be quite customized to make them fit you and your style, and shouldn’t cost you more than $100. Etsy and Creative Market are great places to search for premade WordPress theme. Or, find some in our shop here!
Happy blogging, friends! We hope this tutorial for setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog made your life easier!