This blog post is a comprehensive guide on how to start a self-hosted blog using WordPress and later hosting it using the Hostgator cloud hosting service. You might be planning to start a blog as a hobby as you are aware of its many benefits or you like to make money online. Whatever be the motivation behind you, this post will serve as a good resource to gain knowledge for starting your blog today.
In today’s contemporary society, the usage of the Internet as a medium of sharing various forms of information has become a common phenomenon. Blogs can be created by choosing any niche that is interesting or comfortable for the blog owner.For this reason, such content creators require an effective blog creating a platform and hosting service for their web contents. WordPress is regarded to be among the most effective platforms in the world for creating websites and blogs. As the service collaborates with the Hostgator web hosting service which is among the best web hosting corporations in the world, I find it easy creating blogs using these platforms. The blog you are reading right now is hosted under Hostgator and I would like to share more details regarding starting a self-hosted blog using WordPress and Hostgator.
The WordPress can be described to be a Content Management System (CMS) as well as an open-source program that is based on both PHP as well as MySQL (Kreuzer, 2017). Normally, WordPress is installed on a web server, which can either be a network host or part of an Internet hosting service. For example, WordPress could be hosted on a network service such as the WordPress.com. It could also be hosted on a computer that is installed with a running hosting package such as the WordPress.org. In most cases, the local computer-based hosting of WordPress is done for single-user testing purposes. Moreover, it can also be employed for education purposes in various learning institutions.
As per February 2017, WordPress was being used by approximately 27.5 percent of the best 10 million websites in the world (Oleh, 2016). It was also ascertained to be the best website management as well as online blogging system that is being used on the web. Today, WordPress hosts over 60 million websites all over the world (Kreuzer, 2017). It is also used by 409 million persons who view approximately 15.5 billion web pages per month (Kreuzer, 2017). Moreover, users of WordPress publish approximately 41.7 million posts as well as 60.5 million comments on a monthly basis (Kreuzer, 2017). Additionally, the service was founded by Matt Mullenweg together with his partner Mike Little on May 27, 2003 (Naik & Maheta, 2017). Moreover, it is licensed under the GNU, GPLv2 registration by the Free Software Foundation (Naik & Maheta, 2017).
During the development of WordPress, there were supporting developers that aided in the creation of the program. They included Helen Sandi, Andrew Ozz, Dion Hulse, Andrew Nacin as well as Mark Jaquith. Today, WordPress is also supported by a community of developers are inclusive of the WP testers. The WP-Testers are made by a group of volunteers who test each new release of WordPress. The testers are normally the first to test the nightly builds, release candidates as well as beta versions of new WordPress modifications. Additionally, in case any errors are identified with the releases, the testers document them on a special mailing list that is managed by the WordPress corporation. These factors make WordPress a remarkably reliable web content platform that should be used in creating a self-hosted blog.
Creating a Blog
A blog is a terminology that is employed to describe a recurrently modified page of information on the Internet that is typically managed by a single person or a group of users (Oleh, 2016). A blog can either be written using formal or informal styles. On the other hand, a blogger is considered to be a person who publishes content on the blog, and he/she can choose an area or areas of interest to feature on the blog. There are six primary steps that a blogger must follow when starting a new blog.
Step 1 entails making a decision on what to write about in the newly developed blog. In this case, a blogger can pick a variety of topics or decide to stick with a single topic of focus.
Step 2 entails choosing a blogging platform to use for publishing the blog. WordPress is the best blogging platform that a user can pick due to its ease of usage.
Step 3 entails finding a host for the blog. A host publishes the blog online and offers blog owners a domain address. Hostgator is one of the best hosting services that a blogger can use for hosting his/her blog.
Step 4 entails selecting an appropriate domain from a hosting company. The domain allows users to search the blog on the internet.
Step 5 entails the installation of WordPress. In this case, the WordPress is the platform that allows a person to create, edit or modify his/her blog contents.
Step 6 is the last step, and it entails designing and publishing the blog. Also, there are several reasons why blogging is performed. Such include the blogs being used as a source of income, advertising, building a network and building a business among others.
Registering with WordPress
So as to start using WordPress, a person must create an account at the WordPress official website. The account registration process is made up of 6 simple steps. The first step entails choosing the type of a site to create with WordPress. An applicant has a choice of 4 WordPress options to select. These include a blog, website, portfolio, and an online store. In this case, a blogger should select the blog option so as to enable him/her to start the self-hosted blog.
Step 2 of the registration process entails selecting a preferred design to use with the site chosen. For instance, if a blogger chooses to create a blog, he/she can select a favorite design from the popular blog designs featured on the page. It is important for the blogger to have a rough idea of what he/she would like his/her blog to resemble. However, an applicant can have access to hundreds of other blog designs to choose from once the registration process has been successfully completed. Most of such blog designs are free and can also be customised to fit the blogger’s preferences. The blogger can also have access to premium platforms, which are offered for sale in the WordPress marketplace at an affordable price.
Step 3 entails choosing an address for the blog. An applicant is required to insert the preferred name for the blog on a search bar to attain suggestions on possible web addresses to use. Additionally, if an applicant does not have a preferred name for the blog, he/she can insert a name that best describes his/her blog. This way, the WordPress site offers a probable domain address that such an applicant can use for his/her site. Additionally, it is essential to choose a domain address that best suits the context or purpose of the blog. For instance, a professional blog should have a professional address as opposed to a social address which can have an interactive domain address.
Step 4 entails selecting an appropriate pricing plan for the blog. There are four possible options that an applicant can choose. These include a free plan, a personal pricing plan at $2.99 per month, a premium pricing plan at $8.25 per month and a business pricing plan at $24.92 per month. All the three pricing plans are billed yearly. The difference between the four pricing plans is based on the features offered per every pricing package. For instance, a free user is limited to only six web page control features as opposed to business pricing plan’s applicant who has access to 16 web page control features.
Step 5 entails creating a user account. In this case, an applicant is supposed to provide his/her her email address, username, and preferred password. The username could be the applicant’s name or a nickname. Additionally, the applicant’s preferred password must be a minimum of six characters to be acceptable for registration. Upon completion, an email containing instructions on how to proceed with the registration process is sent to the applicant’s email address.
Step 6 entails activating the WordPress account. The sent email contains a confirmation button that redirects an applicant to the activated WordPress account once it is clicked. An applicant is them required to log in to his/her activated account, and he/she can then access the WordPress Control Panel (c-panel). The c-panel allows a blogger to insert or remove posts from a blog and also to view the statistics of views, visitors, likes and comments made on the blog.
Essential WordPress Tools to Use
Users of the WordPress may install as well as switch between the multiple theme options offered to them on the WordPress platform. This essential as it permits a blogger to change the appearance as well as the functionality of his/her blog, without changing the WordPress core code of the blog. To install a new theme, a blogger can install a theme directly using WordPress through the appearance section the Administration tool in the c-panel. Alternatively, he can copy theme folders directly into the themes directory section of the c-panel. Additionally, the themes operate through PHP, HTML as well as CSS programming languages. A blogger can also directly modify the three languages to add or omit some features on the blog.
Additionally, the WordPress themes are availed to users in two categories. These include the free and premium themes. Normally, the free themes are listed in the WordPress section of the theme directory. However, the premium themes are available to the WordPress users for purchase at the marketplaces section of the c-panel. Moreover, WordPress users are permitted to create and use their own custom made themes with WordPress.
The WordPress plugin feature permits a blogger to enhance the functionality of his/her blog. The WordPress plugins database has a total of 49,394 plugins that are available to users to enable them to customize their blog to fit personalized specifications (WordPress, 2017). Such plugins have a variety of functions such as creating content management systems as well as content displaying features. Some of the displaying features added through the WordPress plugins include the widgets as well as the navigation bars. Through the use of plugins, a blogger can also be in a position to make his/her blog to be more dynamic in its functionality.
These are applications that are offered by the WordPress to permit users to have access to their blog control features through mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad as well as iPod Touch among others. They are designed to regulate and manage new blog posts, comments, and views.
Multi-User or Multi-Blogging
Before the WordPress version 3 was developed, WordPress only permitted bloggers to make a single installation per blog. Nevertheless, the recent versions can permit bloggers to perform multi-blogging. This is a feature that enables a blogger to have multiple blogs that can be managed using a single WordPress installation. This is facilitated by using another feature called WordPress MU that makes it possible for bloggers to moderate their multiple blogging platforms using a single WordPress c-panel. Additionally, the WordPress MS offers bloggers eight new data tables for each of their multiple blogs.
Other Minor Features
WordPress also offer bloggers an integrated link management system. This is a permalink structure that offers a blogger the ability to allocate multiple categories to his/her blog posts. For instance, through the permalinks, bloggers can tag their blog posts to other posts on different blogs or websites. Additionally, WordPress offers automatic features. The features enable a blogger to assign text formatting and styling of his/her blog posts. Moreover, the WordPress service offers Pingback and Trackback features. The two features enable bloggers to display links to other pages, which themselves have been linked to other blog posts or articles. Ultimately, the WordPress blog posts can be edited by using the HTML through a visual editor such as atom or Notepad ++.
This is a website where a blogger can download as well as install a software script known as WordPress. To perform this, a blogger must have a reliable web host who has the right minimum requirements offered for hosting WordPress. The requirements offered for hosting WordPress include a specification of PHP version 7 or a higher version; HTTPS supports as well as MySQL version 5.6 or a higher version (WordPress, 2017). The MariaDB version 10.0 or a higher version can also be employed as an alternative to MySQL versions. Additionally, if a blogger is using either PHP 5.2.4+ or the MySQL 5.0+, it is advisable to have them upgraded (WordPress, 2017). This is because according to WordPress developers, the two have officially reached their end-of-life period for their usage with WordPress. As such, their usage can expose a blogger’s blog to numerous security vulnerabilities.
WordPress Security Program
It is also imperative for a blogger to know the security features of using WordPress for his/her blog. The security team at WordPress is made up of 50 personnel who are both security experts and lead developers. The team collaborates with other trusted web security researchers from reputable firms and hosting corporations. Through their collaboration, they are able to address various security issues such as issues in common dependencies. They also work collaboratively to resolve the susceptibility of the PHP XML parser (WordPress, 2017). The parser is employed by the XML-RPC API, which is a feature that ships with WordPress version 3.9.2.
Additionally, WordPress also performs automatic background updates as well as security releases to enhance the security of the WordPress users. Through the updates, the WordPress security team is able to push out enhanced security modifications without the need for the blogger to do anything on his part. The releases are made periodically, and they update themselves automatically via the Internet. Nevertheless, a blogger can opt to remove the automatic update option by changing the automatic updates configuration file settings situated at the WordPress c-panel platform. Ultimately, the WordPress developers recommend updates be automatically installed to ensure that users attain the latest stable releases of WordPress.
Special Apps That a Blogger Can Use with the Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
WordPress has a desktop app that is capable of offering WordPress a permanent home tab as his/her personal computer. The Jetpack can be downloaded for free from the WordPress official website, and it can be installed on Windows 7 operating system (OS) and other higher windows OS. The app is also available for Linux (tar.gz), Mac OS X version 10.9 and above as well as Linux (.deb). The desktop app for WordPress resembles a control panel that can be employed to control all WordPress sites installed on a PC. The greatest advantage of using the WordPress desktop app is that a blogger can write as well as design all other browser tabs without any form of distraction from other browser tabs.
WordPress also features mobile apps that can fit on both IOS and Android system mobile devices. Through the mobile apps, it is capable for a blogger to post blog updates at the time of the day and location. It is also possible for a blogger to have a sneak peek of his/her blog’s visitors and views at any time of the day. On the other hand, the readers of the blog can access the blogger’s blog at any time of the day and access their favorite content from the blogger. Ultimately, a blogger can be in a position to push notifications from a mobile device. In this case, he/she can engage the community created by his blog using a mobile device.
Jetpack is a WordPress integration program that can permit bloggers to collect valuable statistics of a blog that is essential to developing the site’s traffic. The Jetpack can be integrated with a web browser such as google chrome as a plugin. The plugin offers the blogger share buttons, subscription system, comments, posts as well as a blog statistics and monitoring systems to the blogger. Jetpack is also essential in helping bloggers to manage their multiple hosted WordPress blogs from a single location. Ultimately, Jetpack is available to bloggers and other WordPress users at an affordable pricing plan. It is available for free under the Free Jetpack package and at $39 per annum for Personal Jetpack package.
Hostgator provides dedicated web hosting services, and it is also a seller and distributor of virtual private servers. Brent Oxley established the corporation in 2002 (HostReview, 2010). At the time, Brent was a learner at the renowned Florida Atlantic University. In 2006, Hostgator had registered over 200,000 user domains (HostReview, 2010). As of 2013, the corporation had hosted over 9 million web user domains belonging to over 400,000 bloggers and website owners (HostReview, 2010). Today, the corporation’s headquarters are based in Houston Texas. Most bloggers today prefer to use the Hostgator hosting service because of it is very reliable as well as user-friendly.
Hosting Pricing Plans
There are four different forms of hosting services that are offered by the Hostgator to the corporation’s clients. These include the Cloud Hosting, WordPress Hosting, VPS Hosting as well as Dedicated Hosting packages. The pricing plans for the four packages differ starting with $4.95, $5.95, $19.95 and $79.00 per month respectively (Hostgator, 2017). Additionally, bloggers can choose the Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting or WordPress Hosting packages for their blogs. In most cases, such choices are dependent on the blogs’ features, the volume of blog data, monthly pricing of different packages and the blogger’s preference. Making the right choice pertaining the hosting package to choose is remarkably important. It ensures that the blog will be hosted at all times without being affected by factors such as payment of hosting package among others.
Web Hosting Packages
A WordPress blogger can use a variety of hosting services offered by the Hostgator hosting service. One of the best options is the web hosting service. There are three pricing plans that are offered by the Hostgator web hosting service. These include the Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan as well as the Business Plan. The pricing for the three plans differs depending on the plan chosen by a hosting service subscriber. If a blogger prefers to use the Hatchling Plan, he/she will be required to pay $3.95 per month. The Baby Plan hosting package costs $5.95 per month while the Business Plan hosting package retails at $5.95 per month. Additionally, the Business Plan package has five hosting features in contrast to the other two plans that only have two features. Such features include access to the unlimited domain, free toll-free number, one-click installs, free private SSL, and IP as well as an Unmetered Bandwidth.
Additionally, the Business Plan package has five hosting features in contrast to the other two plans that only have two features. Such features include access to the unlimited domain, free toll-free number, one-click installs, free private SSL, and IP as well as an Unmetered Bandwidth.
WordPress Cloud Hosting
The blogger can also use the WordPress Cloud Hosting package for his/her blog. The Hostgator offers three pricing plans for bloggers to choose from in their WordPress Cloud Hosting service. These include the Starter Plan at $5.95 per month, Standard Plan at $7.95 per month as well as the Business Plan at $9.95 per month (Hostgator, 2017). Additionally, the three packages offer different features to its users. In the Starter plan package, a WordPress blogger can have access to 1 site, 1 Gigabyte backup, 50 Gigabyte storage as well as 25,000 visits per month (Hostgator, 2017). On the other hand, the standard plan offers bloggers access to 2 sites, 2 Gigabytes of backups, 150 Gigabytes of storage as well as 200,000 visits per month (Hostgator, 2017). Ultimately, the Business plan offers WordPress access to 3 sites, 3 Gigabytes of storage, unlimited storage as well as 300,000 visits per month (Hostgator, 2017).
The Hostgator WordPress Cloud Hosting service has three distinctive advantages which enable it to enhance its performance when being used. First, the Cloud hosting service has a turbo charge feature that aids in boosting the performance of the website. The service also allows the blog’s content to be managed more efficiently and at the same time enables the dynamic content request of the blog page to be processed at a very fast rate. Ultimately, the blogger’s blogs can load 2.5 times faster with Hostgator Cloud hosting service in comparison to other hosting services provided by other companies (Hostgator, 2017). This is because the Hostgator Cloud service contains a supercharged cloud architecture, multiple catching layers, low-density servers as well as CDN.
The WordPress Cloud service interface has a clean as well as an easy to employ interface. The designers of the interface were focused on its usability as well as strategies of minimalizing the intricacies of the traditional web hosting services. Additionally, the Cloud service permits users to transfer their existing WordPress blogs or websites to the Hostgator. Moreover, the service subscribers have access to the Hostgator customer service teams 24/7 to ensure that they attain any help that they may require with using the Cloud hosting service. Ultimately, users can attain useful tips to aid in managing the Cloud hosting platforms effectively as well as favorite WordPress templates at the MOJO Marketplace.
Step by Step Guide to Using the Hostgator WordPress Cloud Hosting Service
The first step in using the Cloud service is to select a plan. A blogger can either choose the Starter, Standard or Business plan packages. The Business plan is the best among the three because it offers the best volume of features in terms of sites, monthly visits, backups, and storage. After making the best decision on the pricing plan to use, a blogger can then click the buy button at the bottom of the selection.
The second step entails filling out the Hostgator order form. There are several sections that the service applicant must fill on the order form. In the first section, an applicant can either register a new WordPress domain or provide the domain if it already exists. The second section entails choosing the number of blogs to use with the WordPress Cloud Hosting service. In this section, a person submits the number of blogs, the Billing cycle as well as the security PIN. The third sections entail providing the billing information. A blogger can either pay for the subscription using a credit card or via PayPal. The fourth section entails choosing additional services to use with the service. In this case, there are only two additional services to choose. These include the Hack Alert Monitoring and Site Back services. The fifth section entails entering a coupon code while the last step entails making a review of the order details. If everything is correct at this point, a person can proceed to clear the payment for the chosen package.
The third step involves installing the WordPress application on the Hostgator. At this step, an applicant receives a welcome email from the Hostgator together with his/her server IP address, Server names as well as the login information for the Hostgator WordPress Cloud service control panel.
In addition, there are three different ways through which a blogger can install WordPress on the Hostgator c-panel. First, after executing the login command and accessing the c-panel, type “https://YourServerName:2083” or https://YourServerIPAddress:2083 or “https://yourdomainname:2083” in a functioning web browser (Hostgator, 2017). Normally, a secure connection is recommended when accessing the Hostgator c-panel. This can be achieved by using the port address 2083 and the HTTPS in accessing the c-panel. In this case, the connection will be both encrypted as well as safe for login into the c-panel. After logging in securely to the site, a user should then locate the Quick-Install button situated at the c-panel.
The button is normally situated at the Software or Services sections in the c-panel platform. This should be followed by the selecting of the WordPress option and the preferred domain to install. During the various intervals of the installation process, the blogger could be offered a series of Hostgator themes to choose. In such a case, the blogger can either choose them or opt to skip the themes’ selection steps. Additionally, once the installation has been completed successfully, a blogger will be issued an Admin URL as well as login password for the newly published blog. Moreover, for the security purposes, a blogger can opt to change the password of the blog.
The last step entails building the published blog. This is executed through placing written and graphical content on the blog. The appeal of the blog can also be enhanced by constantly changing the blog’s themes. Additionally, in order for the website to attain a high Alexa ranking on a search engine, it is recommendable for the blogger to use appropriate keywords when describing the content of his/her published blog posts. Moreover, the blogger should also place new blog posts regularly to enhance the performance of the blog in terms of views as well as comments from the blog followers. Additionally, a blogger can use the c-panel to edit his profile image as well as contact information among other details.
In addition, a blogger can also change other multiple contents of the blog through the administrator section of the c-panel. Moreover, more contents pertaining the blog can be added to the Add New/Categories section of the c-panel. Other functionality features that can be added to the blog through the c-panel include the blog’s plugins, tools, adding or removing users, checking or approving comments as well as changing arrangement settings of the blog’s content. After a blogger has understood the usage of such features entirely, he/she can postulate that he/she has successfully completed a WordPress blog that has been hosted by the Hostgator Cloud hosting service.
Reasons Why a Blogger Should Use Hostgator as a Blog Hosting Service
The Hostgator hosting services offers both unmetered disk space as well as bandwidth to the service users. This means that a blogger can host voluminous files for his blog without any concerns about the sizes of such files. Additionally, a blogger enjoys easy transfer of bulky data through the unlimited bandwidth offered by the corporation. Moreover, Hostgator has a user-friendly c-panel that enables users to control various features of their hosted files seamlessly. Additionally, the Hostgator hosting services offers an unlimited email creating service that permits users to create as many emails as possible.
In addition, a blogger can also forward unlimited emails to his/her clients. In addition, the Hostgator services offer a 24/7 access to their customers’ assistance service. The clients’ service team can be contacted by using email, telephone or the live-chat web form. Ultimately, Hostgator has 45-day funds back return policy. This service allows persons to be in a position to have their subscription money back if they fail to get satisfied with the Hostgator web page hosting service. The money-return option is also ideal for customers who opt to host their blog at a future date during the year despite having paid for the service.
Moreover, the Hostgator hosting service also avails the Google AdWords services to its service users. Such AdWords are retailed at $100 (Hostgator, 2017). The services also offer the Bing and Yahoo search credits from $50 (SBWebCenter, 2017). Additionally, bloggers can enjoy having access to a variety of WordPress blogging tools as well as the YP free business listing service. A blogger can use the additional WordPress blogging tools at the Hostgator platform to enhance the capability of his blog before hosting. Additionally, Hostgator Corporation guarantees its customers a 99.9% uptime on the blogs as well as access to over 4,500 website templates that are offered for free (SBWebCenter, 2017).
Hostgator offers its customers a choice of 15 domains (Hostgator, 2017). Such domains range from $1 to $ 39.95 per annum (Hostgator, 2017). A blogger can purchase the domains through the Hostgator platform by using a Visa or a MasterCard. Additionally, if a blogger purchases more than one domain from the Hostgator Corporation, he/she can manage all the domains by using a single Hostgator c-panel. Moreover, there are three essential features that make the Hostgator Domains more ideal for hosting a blog. The first feature is the domain locking capability. This feature is essential as it enables a blogger to prevent any form of unauthorised transfer of his/her subscribed domain names. Nevertheless, the domain user can also choose to unlock his/her domains if he/she prefers to do so.
Moreover, the Hostgator has a domain renewal service. This feature can aid a blogger in ensuring that his/her domain did not expire because of human error and assigned to a different user. Ultimately, Hostgator allows easy management of its customers’ domains. In this case, the Hostgator control panel is designed to issue the users ease-of-usage by managing all the aspects of the acquired domains. Normally, people’s contact information is available online at the public WHOIS directories. Nevertheless, when using the Hostgator domains, bloggers can choose the Hostgator Domain Privacy Protection feature. The feature aids in protecting the domain user’s personal contact information from the general public. This ensures that the domain users are not affected by multiple email spamming and identity theft.
To determine whether the preferred domain name and domain extension are available, a blogger should insert his/her desired domain address on the Hostgator domain search toolbar. Moreover, a Hostgator user can decide to change his/her domain. This can be achieved by transferring the domain to the Hostgator Corporation at the cost of $7.95 per month (Hostgator, 2017). Additionally, after the domain has been transferred, the Hostgator service adds a one-year extension to the time remaining for the extension after registration. For this reason, a blogger does not need to wait for the domain’s expiry date to pass before making a switch.
In conclusion, it is possible to create a self-hosted blog using the WordPress platform and later hosting it with the Hostgator hosting service. WordPress is a free CMS and an open-source program that is based on both PHP as well as MySQL. Since its inventions, the program has become vastly used in the World, accounting for approximately 27.5 percent of the best 10 million websites in the world. WordPress popularity is accredited to its user friendliness and dynamic capabilities of designing a blog or a website. Additionally, Hostgator is a web hosting service that is used globally by millions of users. It has become a favorite among numerous bloggers and web users due to its efficient services and affordable pricing packages.
Image Courtesy: screenshots from corresponding websites and Pixabay
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