After your domain name has been registered, the first thing that you will want to do is create email addresses. You’ll want to add the following (in addition to any others you might want):
You can choose to manage these email accounts through your hosting company’s email interface or manage the account through your personal internet email address or in Outlook (or virtually any other way!). I manage my Edit and Post and Elizabeth Anne Designs email addresses through my personal Gmail account. If you would like to do the same, visit Settings → Accounts and Import in Gmail. Choose ‘Send mail from another address’ and follow the prompts.
You can also choose to set up Google Apps for your domain name. Visit the Think Splendid blog for an excellent article on the setup of Google Apps. (A clarification to those who hop over to Think Splendid: Since Terrica’s article was published, Google has updated their settings to allow you to use your own mail server to send/receive. If you select that option, the “on behalf of” line that used to accompany all sent messages is no longer shown.)
Your hosting provider should also give you instructions for setting up your first FTP user (if one was not already set up for you).
FTP, or file transfer protocol, is the way that you upload and download files from your server. Your hosting provider will give you access to a web FTP program that is good in a pinch, but to get the full power of FTP I recommending downloading one of the several free FTP programs available. I personally use Core FTP, which you can download for free here. In essence, what this program allows you to do is to transfer files back and forth from your computer to your server with one click.
To log in to your FTP program you will need the following information:
- Host Name – a host name can be either your server name, your website address, or your IP address. For ease, let’s use your website address. So, my host name would be editandpost.com
- Username – this is specified either by your hosting company or by you within your hosting company’s interface.
- Password – also specified by you or your hosting company during setup.
The port for log in is typically 21 (verify with your hosting provider). Your connection type is FTP.
Once you’ve logged in to your FTP program you should see a screen similar to this:
Now you’re ready to rock and roll with FTP, you have email, and your server is a blank slate. Next in this series, we’re ready to install WordPress!
It’s time to purchase domain names. The steps to this are different depending on the hosting provider you chose, but they probably make this pretty easy for you. In your account’s control panel, look for “registrations” or “manage domains” (or something similar), and for around $10 and in around 10 minutes, you can register a domain and enable it for hosting.
My advice would be to register at a minimum the .com and .net versions of your new domain. You should determine which of those will be your primary site and redirect the other. So, for example, if you visit www.editandpost.net, it will redirect you to www.editandpost.com. Redirects are key because you want visitors and search engines knowing your site by only one address, to strengthen that address’s results in searches.
When you are registering a domain, certain information will be required so that the owner of the domain is visible in engines like Whois. Your hosting provider should have a privacy service that you can take advantage of, so that your personal information is not used for the registration.
Other options for registration are the .co.uk version of your domain, .info, .mobi, .biz, .org, etc.
After you have registered your domain and set it up for hosting, you will be ready to do some basic set-up on your server and install WordPress! Aren’t you excited?
Now that you’ve taken the preliminary steps of designing your blog, it’s time for technology to take over. Because you are going to create a WordPress blog,* the first thing that you will need is hosting. If you have a website for your business already, you likely already have a web hosting provider and either space on a server or your own server. If you are setting things up for the first time, you will contract with your chosen web hosting provider who will allot you website space on a server and set you up with a FTP (file transfer protocol – this is the way you upload and download files from your server) account.
Basics: A server is essentially a large computer that is held in a hosting provider’s data center. Your hosting plan determines how much of the server your account “owns”. There are three main types of hosting services: shared server, virtual private server, and private server.
Shared Server: The most economical option. Your website is hosted on a server along with multiple other websites. The hosting provider that you choose will set limits for your account so that you do not overload the server and cause the rest of your server’s websites to go down. This option is great for those of you just getting started, as the memory and bandwidth that you will be provided is likely sufficient for your needs. However, if you expect several thousand visitors per day (at peak times), you may experience slowness with shared server hosting and your web host even has the ability to take your site down to steady the server.
Best for: Just getting started; Non-complex sites; Static websites (non-blogs); Sites without a rush of traffic at peak times
Virtual Private Server: Picture a server as a packing box for glassware. You get the space for one glass and share the box with multiple other glasses.
The server is partitioned off so that you have full control over only your piece. No other website can touch your area of the server, and vice versa. Advantage: your own place to play, guaranteed server resources up to your partition’s cap. Disadvantage: you can’t take advantage of the resources that the other partitions aren’t using like you can with the shared server.
Best for: I personally don’t recommend VPS hosting. I tried it for a while and was completely unimpressed. In for a penny in for a pound, I say, and if I’m spending money and getting dedicated resources, I’d rather have…
Private (Dedicated) Server: your very own home for your website. With dedicated hosting, you will have full control over your entire server. There are differences between private server plans, so you should do your homework and speak with potential hosting companies to see where your website fits in with their offerings. Be sure to know:
1) Exactly what type of server you will receive and how much horsepower it has
2) The level of support you receive from the hosting provider
3) What you will be charged for (bandwidth, number of databases, disc usage, FTP accounts, etc)
Best for: High-traffic websites, those who want lots of control over their site and the resources it consumes.
For experienced website owners: what type of hosting do you use and recommend? Have you had good experiences with Virtual Private Servers? If you have a high traffic site, when did you switch to a dedicated server, or, have you been able to stick with shared hosting and save money?
Coming up in this series: Domain Names; Setting Up Your Server
* Of course, all of this applies if you have a website without a blog too!