DIY : Choosing a Hosting Provider

success_fail

I apologize if this seemed a little out of order, and perhaps your right. (Should have changed the order in my introduction… to late). Well, we press on.

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option can be frustrating though potentially the most rewarding way to deploy WordPress. You’ll only be limited by your imiganiation and/or your ability to decode the WordPress Codex.

There are a laundry list of requirements and things you have to do to deploy WordPress to a hosted webspace. Many of them were covered in Getting Started with WordPress (Introduction) so check out there for the requirements, additionally you can also checkout Hosting WordPress on WordPress.org.

Choosing a Hosting Provider

This is perhaps one of the least glamorous parts of the DIY solution, but unless you have your own web server, you’ll need to engage some help and it will cost a little money. This help is generally referred to as a Hosting Provider. WordPress.org has a recommended list of hosting providers on their site. I use Hostmonster. Most providers will help you register a Domain name, the Address or URL of your site: (e.g. www.mycoolblog.com). For the purposes of these articles, I’ll assume you choose Hostmonster, but most hosting providers will do fine as long as they meet WordPress requirements.

Here’s several reasons to use Hostmonster.

  • Unlimited Space
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Email Accounts
  • Unlimited Domains on a single account
  • Sub-domains
  • cPanel
  • FTP, CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MYSQL
  • SSH Access (Secure Shell)
  • SimpleScripts and Fantastico
  • Linux OS

Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of these items are, the important ones are FTP, PHP and MYSQL and a Linux OS. I prefer Linux over Windows hosting not only for stability reasons, but they are usually a  better value.

One of the advantages of Hostmonster is the inclusion of SimpleScripts and Fantastico. These two items automatic script installers are handy tools to get started with WordPress quickly. Here’s an example of how easy this process is. (We’ll go in depth in a later article)

  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. Click on the “SimpleScripts” icon.
  3. Choose scription to install (WordPress)
  4. Click the “Install Now” button
  5. Choose where you want to deploy it.
  6. Give your site a name, Agree to the terms, Click the “Complete” button.
Posted on March 22nd, 2009 in WordPress Basics | No Comments

Option 2, WordPress.com : Simple and Free

If you missed the first article Getting Started with WordPress. You may want to check it out first.

wpcom

WordPress.com is a great place to start if your new to blogging and WordPress. It is free, at least for the basic service, but you’ll have to live with some limitations. In today’s post we’ll discuss the limitations, some options (for $$$) to overcome many of them, and how to sign-up and get started.

What You Get and What You Can Pay For

WordPress.com offers users and easy way to get started, and for free, but pay attention to what you get or you could be disappointed.

  1. WordPress.com Address (like yourblogname.wordpress.com) – Not a big problem, just a little less personal than www.yourblogname.com
  2. 3 gigabytes of storage – A generous amount of space unless your hosting photo galleries or video
  3. Dozens of gorgeous themes” – this is a deal breaker for me. I’m a graphic artist and love the challenge and pain of producing my own masterpeice. The free account is limited to the provided themes, so you may end of looking just like another blog.
  4. Integrated status system – this is a very good feature, and it’s also available as a plug-in for the self-hosted WordPress site.
  5. Spam technology – a nice general purpose spam blocking tool. This tool is also available with the self-hosted WordPress distribution, and to use it, you’ll have to sign-up on WordPress.com.
  6. Extensive language support.
  7. Public/Privacy options – Setup up your blog as public, public but not indexed by search engines, or take it private where only members can access.
  8. Sidebars, widgets and comments
  9. Possible Advertising – Here what the site says… To support the service we may occasionally show Google text ads on your blog, however we do this very rarely. You can remove ads from your blog for a low yearly fee. In the future you’ll be able to show your own ads and make money from your blog.
  10. Ability to upgrade to “Premium Features” like extra storage, template customization via CSS, NO ads, and unlimited users – these features will cost you a few $$$ but provides a growth path for you blog.

OK, maybe I sound a little negative, but really this is a great value for the free features. It allows you to get your feet wet with minimal investment. So, throw caution to the win and get start right now (Sign-up Here). I do feel that the premium features are not worth the money you pay. A good shared-hosting package will cost you the same amount of money, give you tons more space, and virtually unlimited flexibility.

How to Sign-Up

Signing up for a free blog is simple.

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to http://www.wordpress.com/signup (or just click the link)
  2. Enter a unique Username (must be at least 4 characters)
  3. Add a Password, then confirm it (And write it down for later… if your the forgetful type)
  4. Enter a valid Email Address. You need this to receive important administration notices.
  5. Agree the the Legal stuff
  6. Choose “Gimme a blog!“, or just obtain a username. If you’re just signing up to get the free anti-spam plug-in, choose “Just a username, please”
  7. If you choose to create a blog, fill out the Blog Domain, Blog Title, Language settings and Privacy status.
  8. Click “Signup
  9. Update your profile’s First Name, Last Name, and Bio and click “Save Profile
  10. Check your email to activate your account. An email should show up in your mailbox thanking you for signing up with a link to activate the account. Simply click the link, your web browser will load, and “Your account is now active!” should appear.
  11. Finally, go to http://www.wordpress.com and sign-in, click your blog listed just below your Username and begin customizing and blogging.

Well, that about it. A good way for a first time blogger to begin with little or now investment. The next post will cover Option 1 : Do-It-Yourself. (Alright, I know I did them in the wrong order, that’s just the way it worked out.)

Posted on March 19th, 2009 in WordPress Basics | One Comment

Getting Started with WordPress

So, you’ve decided that to try the waters of this blogging thing and your friend, or a search engine landed you in the WordPress Camp. The only problem is, you don’t know where to start. The next few post will attempt to get you started quickly and easily.

Choosing A Solution

There are a couple of solutions to getting started with WordPress.

  1. Obtain hosting space and a domain name, download the current WordPress distribution from WordPress.org and install it yourself.
  2. Go to WordPress.com and sign-up for a free account and get WordPress for FREE.

Not to confuse you, but WordPress is completely free. That’s right, you don’t have to pay for it. The reason I put free on the WordPress.com solution is because WordPress.com will not even charge you for the web space. There are a few conditions that we’ll go into in a later post.

Options 1 : Do-It-Yourself

This option is for those who are not faint of heart and committed to having a web presence. For the most part, finding a hosting package that will support WordPress is easy, and although inexpensive, not free. There are a couple of requirement you need to meet when choosing a hosting provider. For a complete list see Hosting WordPress at WordPress.org

  1. PHP version 4.3 or greater
  2. MySQL version 4.0 or greater

I also recommend you seek these additional features from you hosting provider to make development and deployment smoother.

  1. FTP Access – For uploading files to your site
  2. phpMyAdmin – database management
  3. Email Accounts – It’s always nice to have email accounts associated to your domain so your not always using something like bigKyleColtsFan4495@gmail.com.
  4. Linux based – OK, maybe a personal bias, but Windows is a horrible hosting platform.

This may seem like a lot, but most hosting providers have these feature and a whole lot more for under $10 a month. WordPress.org has a list of hosting providers on their website. I’d like to add Hostmonster to that list as it’s the one I use myself.

Option 2 : WordPress.com

This is a great option if you’re new to WordPress or you’re short on cash. There’s basically no way to loose by choosing this option and it may even be a good idea just to sign-up even if you plan to have someone else host your WordPress website. (Activating the default Anti-spam plug-in requires registering at WordPress.com).

There’s nothing you really need to know other than visit the site and sign-up, but we’ll go over it in detail in a later post.

Conclusion

Choosing WordPress is easy, but deciding which way to deploy your site may take a little more study. Stay tuned to my next post which will cover Option 2 : WordPress.com.

Posted on March 15th, 2009 in WordPress Basics | No Comments