How to start a self hosted WordPress blog for 2018

WordPress Blogging

Cloudways Managed WordPress HostingThere are a lot of very viable blogging platforms but by far one of the most popular and highest community driven platforms is WordPress.

WordPress is a great blogging solution for both beginners and professionals alike. You can get as complicated or keep it as simple as you like. With thousands of plugins and themes at your disposal (and most of them free), you can have a very professional looking (and performing) site for very minimal cost.

Note: In this article I’m referring to the open source WordPress.org project.  Nothing in this article refers to WordPress.com.

So where do you get started?

First, you’ll want to find a place to host your WordPress site. There are several options you have available to you and I’ll go over a few very briefly for you.

Shared hosting

There are providers like WPEngine, Bluehost, GoDaddy, Flywheel and more that provide a very simple web interface for managing your WordPress installation. These providers all offer managed WordPress hosting and your site shares physical computing resources with other sites. There is no “server” to manage with these.

Virtual Private Server

VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a great way to boost performance and enhance security. Your WordPress install doesn’t share resources with other sites because those are dedicated to your site specifically. I use a VPS for this site and I really always have. There have been few instances where I used shared hosting in my early days, but once I discovered VPS hosting, I’ve never looked back.

With VPS hosting, you should either 1) be somewhat savvy in web servers / hosting or 2) get someone who is that can help you. Reason being, you’ll now have a web server to manage. Now there are providers that make the management of your web server fairly simple, you’ll still need some knowledge to understand how to provision your VPS instance.

Here are a few VPS hosting providers that you can choose from.  I personally use Cloudways and I highly recommend them for many reasons.

Next you’ll need WordPress installed.

Whether you’re using a shared or VPS environment, both likely include a one click install for WordPress. There are a couple different ways you can install WordPress depending on your needs such as:

Install the version based on what you’re looking to achieve.

Now to find a domain name

Domain names are human readable names for which the internet can direct your web request to an IP address. You purchase a domain name from a registrar, your registrar tells the world where DNS records are kept (name servers) for your new domain and your name servers host the DNS records associated with your domain. DNS records hold more than just your A records (IP to domain name). They can have records for mail, txt, DKIM, MX, SPF and more.

Whomever hosts your DNS, you’ll need to at a minimum set up A records that point to the IP address of your WordPress installation. Some hosts however, will require you to setup CNAME records instead. This doesn’t affect how your WordPress install functions at all. Just depends on the provider you go with.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive domain name, you can start at Namecheap.  I purchase quite a few domain names from here and you can find an awful lot of domain names for under $1.00.  Namecheap also hosts DNS for you if you need it, or you can direct Namecheap to point the DNS for your domain elsewhere if you’d like.

Namecheap 48 Cent domain banner

Now to log into your new WordPress site

Direct your web browser to the WordPress login page, usually in the form of <yoursite.com>/wp-admin. Use your provisioned admin credentials and login!

WP Login

Further reading

Now that you have a WordPress site, there are other things you’ll likely want to do. Like, install a theme, add some plugins, tweak the looks and feel and more. Follow the links below to get your site running just the way you like.

Follow the beginners guide for starting a WordPress blog

About the Author: Travis Wade

Just a simple man living an ordinary life with an extraordinary family. I'm an information technologist and hobbyist astronomer. Anything to do with technology and science is of total interest to me.