Free blogging platforms might be the best way to get started if you are not sure whether or not blogging is for you, or if you don’t have money to pay for hosting right now. But if you like to blog, and want all the best options available to you, a hosting account is a necessity.
I will write posts later on the difference between free and hosted blogging, and why a free blogging account might be a good way to begin, but for now, since I use hosting, I am going to show you how to set up a hosting account.
Also, I will do a post later on about various hosting companies, but for now, since I want to show you what I do, I will just guide you through the process I used to set up this blog.
I use Omnis.com as my hosting company, and will guide you through the process of setting up a blog there. If you want to use someone else, that is fine too. They all pretty much work the same. But do your research! Some hosting companies offer great “introductory” rates, but then jack up the prices after your first year.
So once you have selected your hosting company, here is how you get started:
Register Your Domain
First, you need to make sure the domain is not taken. You can use a free service like Whois.net, or simply type the domain into your address bar to see if a website already exists under that domain name. Alternately, you can simply try to register the domain through your preferred host. If they tell you the domain is taken, then you must select a new name.
Here is how it looks at Omnis:
If your domain name is already registered by someone else, you will get a screen that looks like this:
As you can see above, Blogger.com is already taken. Down below is an option to check the availability of a new domain name.
Once you find a domain name that is not taken, you will be told that the domain is available for registration, and will be given the option to register the domain, or register it and order hosting.
Since you will also need hosting for your WordPress blog, go ahead and order the hosting as well. A lot of times, as with Omnis.com, if you purchase the hosting along with the domain registration, the domain registration is free.
If your host gives you the option between Linux hosting or Windows hosting, go with whatever is cheaper. For blogging purposes, it does not matter which type of hosting you use.
And by the way, a lot of hosts are now offering unlimited domain hosting. This means that once you purchase a hosting account, you can host as many websites as you want, all on the same account, for one low monthly fee. I currently run six websites on my one hosting account at Omnis.com.
So, if you have ideas for more than one website, or want to simultaneously set up two or three blogs, one for your church, one for your family, and one for your personal pursuit of getting published, go ahead and register all three domains, but only purchase one hosting account. If you do not go with Omnis.com, make sure that whatever host you do choose has this feature as you will most likely not need a separate hosting account for each website until you get a lot more traffic.
Here is some of what you get with Omnis hosting:
During the registration process, you will also be given the opportunity to decide how long of a contract you want to sign up for. Initially, I would recommend a 1 year term. It is the cheapest way to get started, and it will give you time to see if blogging is for you. Also, notice that Omnis.com has a 30 day money-back guarantee. If you get started, and two weeks into it, realize that you despise blogging (*Gasp*), then you can get all your money back, no problem.
Here are some other blog hosts I recommend:
Once you have purchased the domain and hosting, you are ready to set up your MySQL database in preparation for installing WordPress. We will look at that step next.