Blog Hosting Sites – a Quick Guide to Bring You Up to Speed in Blogging

blog-hosting-sites

Blogging: The best hobby ever yet the one you’ve always put off starting.

If it’s the techie terms or setup that have stopped you, look no further.

This quick tutorial will help you learn about blog hosting sites, important terms, and additionally how to setup WordPress, the web’s most popular CMS, aka how to make a blog.

ยป Read our quick written instructions to make a self-hosted blog

What is the best blog hosting site for me?

A blog hosting site, also called a blog hosting service (full list on Wikipedia) refers to the virtual space where your blog lives. When my family and friends ask me about hosting, I explain it to them like a plot of land where you’ll store your car or build your new condo or apartment. When you picture it like this, it’s easier to picture creating something nice for your belongings, and also understand how one plot of land does not always equal the next. You don’t want to store your car or your home somewhere unsafe (where you could get hacked) too busy/noisy (too many other websites) or without access to a nearby city (traffic). There are many more analogies we could make but the point is, choosing the best or the right blog hosting site can make blogging easier – or create lots of headaches – as your new blogging career unfolds.

As such, it’s important not to leave your blog hosting up to just anybody.

As a rule of thumb – Your blog hosting site should be a good match your level of commitment and your ambitions with blogging.

If you want to make a living blogging and blog professionally for a large audience, it’s highly recommended you pay a small fee per month for your own web hosting. If you’d rather blog casually amongst friends, then a free blog hosting site is probably enough for you.

Free blog hosting sites

Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress (com) are the best and largest free blog hosting sites by number of users.

You can create a blog in a matter of minutes and begin blogging.

These sites give you a subdomain (like yourblog.tumblr.com).

So, what exactly is a free blog hosting site?

Back to our analogies, a free blog hosting site is like a Facebook profile. You can login to a free blog hosting site much like you would log into Facebook, and once there, you can edit certain portions of your blog in the same way you would on The Social Network.

At times, the free blog hosting site layout may change. For example the button you click to login with may move or your logo may appear a different shape or size.

However those who love free blog hosting sites like Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.com are content with the free nature, and for them that’s what it comes down to – having a free blogging tool vs having a full blogging business software.

Critics of free blog hosting sites mention lack of control, customization and professional quality (imagine telling your business partner to go visit your website on Facebook). However there are worth a shot, and using one is certainly better than not starting a blog at all!

Professional blog hosting sites

If you decide to blog for a living, as a stay at home profession regardless of your niche, pursue blogging for your business, or any combination these endeavors it’s recommended you pursue professional blog hosting. The most common way to do this is to “self-host” your blog.

And the good news is it’s 2016 – this stuff is all incredibly easy to setup with the help of a quick guide.

You might even find it exhilarating like me to start your first self-hosted blog (which could be why I spend late nights writing about it). You basically 1. sign-up for web-hosting 2. get a domain name and 3. install WordPress on your hosting space. You can do steps 1-2 in any order, or you can get both from the same place which makes it even easier.

Some terms you may be interested to know (but will never be quizzed on) if you’re going to self-host include:

Script: WordPress is a script which you install. Script is synonymous with software. Joomla and Drupal are also scripts.
Template: Refers to the overall design of a website, which you also must install.
Uptime: A measure of the time a machine, typically a computer, has been working and available. Uptime is the opposite of downtime.
CPU: Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place.
Bandwidth: A measurement of bit-rate of available or consumed data communication resources. Like a pipeline your blogging data flows smoothly through.
Disk space: An amount of computer storage space on random-access memory services.

These terms may appear from time to time and while you don’t need to fully understand them it may give you a bit more confidence going forward.

The best blog hosting site?

There are hundreds of blog hosting sites online, many which claim to be the best (and why wouldn’t they?)

Having used many of them, I can say that not all web hosts are made equal and some can certainly can make you feel lost and confused. I even had a bad experience with one host where the site went down and no one could help our small team.

Through thick and thin, I’ve always hosted my most important blogs and websites with HostGator.

I’ll list several others below that are also good, but HostGator.com web hosting is the first web host to really start making owning a blog or website easy for anyone, largely because of their tool called QuickInstall (the OG of WordPress installation tools) and now recently the new WordPress Installer. Their technology and customer service allow anyone to start a blog, most commonly, a WordPress blog.

We’ll see how to setup a WordPress blog (or website, same process when you begin) in a second, however you should also know about the price.

As if customer service and bonus features like $100 towards Google Adwords weren’t good enough at HostGator, their price is also #1.

Generally speaking web hosting (just the hosting, not the domain name) will range from about $5-10/month at most providers. Some may charge more for features you don’t need, so stay away from them.

HostGator offers two options, however, to get your cost below the standard $5-10, by means of hosting coupons. What you do is choose either the Hatchling Plan or the Baby Plan at HostGator, then use one of the two following coupons.

Two verified HostGator coupon codes you can currently use are:

  1. “BIGBONUS” = 50% discount, largest % discount on the market
  2. and “FRIENDOFSNAPPY” = 1 cent hosting (you get to try hosting for 1 month and pay 1 penny)

Using discount coupons like these can help you save lots of money, especially if you decided to register blog hosting for a longer period of time.

Please Note: This blog is powered by and recommends HostGator and earns a small commission if you use our links or coupons to sign up at no cost to you. There are plenty of good web hosts out there besides HostGator so let me know if you have any questions! Please assume all links to HostGator are affiliate links for which I stand to earn compensation. These commissions are how I keep the blog online and free for everyone, so thanks. I only recommend the small handful of products I use and depend on to succeed in blogging.

How to create a WordPress website or blog for beginners

I’ve embedded a video below if you’d like to setup web hosting, install a domain, and use the WordPress software and HostGator to make a WordPress website. Like I mentioned above, the process to start making a WordPress blog or website is the same as it all begins by installing the wordpress.org software. It’s a longer video, but as a beginner WordPress tutorial it covers everything a beginner should know about web hosting and will literally take you from nothing to a complete website on WordPress with all the fixin’s.

Other blog hosting sites you should check out

Doing your research is smart for any purchase, just make sure you don’t overspend as hosting costs can add up.

Other good web hosting providers include:

  • GoDaddy
  • BlueHost
  • DreamHost
  • Digital Ocean
  • Web Hosting Hub
  • SiteGround
  • InMotion

Please feel free to ask any questions on how these web hosts may suit your needs or might differ from HostGator, the choice of Dear Blogger. Most popular hosts have pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest which can be used for support too.

A more personal greeting

Hey. I’m Greg. In the sheer interest of your time and all of our ADHD (ha, JK) I won’t talk about myself here but I wrote my of my story here.

What I will say is I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now, in all kinds of mediums, recently quit a day job to create even more content, and am loving it.

In case you are poised to make a blog nowish and because the above was one of my more boring sells, here’s what you can learn around this blog and particularly in the video above.

  • How to setup a domain name
  • What blogging costs and why this matters
  • Installing WordPress
  • Making blog-centric things like a logo, image gallery, new posts, pages and menus
  • Setup Analytics
  • A free eCommerce walk-thru
  • Getting your blog in Google

The WordPress Tutorial video embedded above is my library favorite at the moment. I hope that and the information here helps you, whether you want to start a blog about mommy-blogging, travel, food, finance, self-help, internet marketing, or something no-one has ever heard of (cue epic music) ๐Ÿ™‚

Talk to ya soon, and cheers!

Greg

p.s. If you found this information helpful, please add DearBlogger to Facebook. We’ll be sending more blogging tips out soon…

33 Responses to "Blog Hosting Sites – a Quick Guide to Bring You Up to Speed in Blogging"

  1. Quick question! If I host the WordPress site through one of these hosting services with my own domain, do I still have to pay WordPress to remove their ads?

    Thanks for the information. It’s been really helpful.

    Reply
  2. Hey Greg! Quick question, if I’m overseas in Europe, will it affect how I interact with Host Gator and receive help if I’m in need? The pricing is really competitive, which I like, but I just want to know if this might hinder me in the long run. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. They have great service in Europe, as far as I know! Plus you can always get help here (I’ve asked them nearly everything for my sites) ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  3. Hi,

    I have started my own WordPress.com blog however I’m not certain this is right for me as I would eventually like to promote products etc. I really need some advice on which website to use. At the moment I would like to use a free site until I feel more confident in what I’m doing and have some actual followers! I will in the future invest but at the moment I’m sort of practicing. Is there a free site I can use where I can post anything, promote products and show up in a google search? Do I need to self host? Any help would be brilliant as I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment!

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. hey Jess!

      it’s pretty much the question the year you’ve got right there ๐Ÿ™‚ the problem is you cannot do all those three things on wordpress.com largely bc no plugins for ecommerce, seo, google sitemaps, that sorta stuff. you can pay for addons on wp.com or do wp VIP like companies do but who wants to pay company size fees? the solution at the moment is to setup wordpress.org – then you have access to everything. and i’ve made a good deal of youtube tutorials on using wordpress.org to sell products and rank in google like these:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyND3oE3Z0U for an online store and a really easy theme
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiK44f7zMpg for the first steps you must take with google analytics rankings

      that would probably be the easiest way to get your self started, and if you plan to invest in the future why not invest today (not my slogan, but the way the web moves so fast, i recommend starting today).

      good luck and we’ll be right here for any questions

      Reply
  4. Hi Greg. Thanks for your help with setting up a website/blog using the Virtue Theme on WordPress. As a first time blogger, your tips were invaluable. I’m using the free version of Virtue at this point. (I purchased the premium version, but I’m afraid if I load it, I will have to start all over, losing weeks of work. The preview forewarned of this happening. All that remained were the texts of my blog posts.) In any event, I would like to add a “Dailly Inspiration” to my home page. It would be something (a short text) that would change regularly–as often as daily. How can I do this? I really don’t want to use an icon to link to another page. I would like to have this appear on my home page, preferably in the space right above the photo slider or right below it. Suggestions? Would this be easier to do with Virtue Premium?

    Reply
    1. hi Susan,

      as usual happy you found this and happy to help. few solutions:

      1. Use Virtue free and setup a homepage using page builder plugin by site origin. then create a new page called Home, and set this page as your Front Page in settings reading. you can then add any page builder widgets (like Virtue specific ones) when you edit that page as you would edit any other page. just click to the page builder tab, as opposed to Visual or Text. demo here http://www.kadencethemes.com/using-page-builder-virtue-premium/

      2. get Virtue Premium then use the Home Widget Area to add text, image, etc like this http://www.selfhostedwordpress.net

      3. write text on top of your slider or on top of your individual slides. demo here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuCBp329Buc

      I would probably recommend #1 for ease and cost reasons, but it’s also good experience getting skillful with page builder!

      – Greg

      Reply
  5. Hi Greg,

    Love the tutorial!! A real life saver. I am a YA author and need a website and would like to start a blog. I bought my domain from godaddy and then found your tutorial. Wish I had gone through Hostgator since it seems more straightforward. I have your tutorial open and doing every step side by side in chrome on a lenovo yoga pro 2.

    I am having an issue with WP after the installation. The “Installation Complete!” window dropped down from the top right corner on QuickInstall (it has a different look now than the video). It gives me an Admin URL which is mydomain.com/wp-admin link along with my username and password. There is no “next” link but I am assuming I should click the domain link. When I do the URL shows the same name but then switches back to the original godaddy parked page. Am I missing extra steps in the setup on WP, Hostgator or godaddy?

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again for helping this newbie out.

    Reply
    1. After almost 8 hours, adding both name servers to godaddy domain account and clearing my cache for the last week I finally got to the wordpress page login to appear on my url. Not sure what combination worked but glad it now does..

      Reply
  6. Thanks Greg
    This is one of the most comprehensive and informative video that I have seen for creating a complete WordPress website along with e-commerce plugin.
    I shall surely use your coupon codes !
    You have been a messiah to me- in my crisis.
    Catch you up later once again, over email.

    Stay Blessed and Keep smiling !
    Subhasish_Kolkata (India)

    Reply
  7. Hopefully this is not frivolous question, but it is one I often see and one often resulting in contentious comments but never any concrete answers. The question is, Can you copyright a URL? The title of a web page? Your email address (esp if the two are entwined)? Or do they need be registered with the LOC?

    Reply
  8. Hi Greg, I too am really glad to find your site. And, I am one of those, not so geeky guys. So, my current access to the Internet is through an android tablet and phone. Can I sufficiently set up and do everything I need to do with only these devices or do I need a bonified true to life computer to do any or all of this?

    Reply
    1. Hey Bobby,

      That’s a really good question and a rare one! I think between HostGator and WordPress you can setup a website via tablet. I’d need a mouse too…but good for you going mobile. Let me know if it works!

      Greg

      Reply
      1. Everything worked great! I was also able to help at work with my new WordPress skills. Going to set up Shop on our company website this week! Thanks again, fellow geek ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
      2. Alright, I came across an issue. You know in the Editor where you search for Header and find a link (Head)? How did you get that search bar to type it in? I am unable to find the correct link. I am talking about the Google Analytics bit.

        Reply
        1. oh the find feature? just type in commad + F for control + F then search for head or whatever else you want. if you’re like me you’ll have lots more issues too so no worries about asking alotta questions – it’s what we’re here for!

          Reply
          1. Ah the magic of shortcuts! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

            So I only have a link called Header, not head like you had, where you Copy Pasted your Google Analytics code. I am assuming there is a lot more technicality involved so I am not sure I should go around fiddling considering I don’t know coding! GAAAH. Should have paid attention in high school during lab hour instead of listening to Maroon5!

            Reply
            1. Haha, ditto! Adam Levine tho…

              You can probably still put the code in Header right before the closing header. If webmaster tools verifies it, it means you did it correctly.

              Reply
  9. Hi, Greg!

    Your tutorial is awesome! Thanks for sharing this information with us!
    I have just bought a domain, but I cannot reach the website yet. I get an error message saying it is not available.
    This means I had installed WordPress.org, but I’m stucked on this step, since I am not able to login to WordPress and start editing my site.
    Do you know if it takes too long for the address to be functional?

    Many thanks!
    Rodrigo

    Reply
    1. Yeah this is propagation – can take up to 48hrs though usually much less if you registered domain and hosting in the same place. It’s a standard (but annoying) internet service provider (ISP) issue at the moment but I think hosts like HostGator will be speeding it up soon. Keep refreshing and you’ll see your WordPress soon, Rodrigo. Anything else you wanted help with?

      Reply
      1. I have talked to their support today and they said it can take up to 3 business days to review my account. Indeed it is so annoying! I’ll wait till tomorrow and get in touch again in case the domain is still unavailable. I’m looking forward to setup the website, and certainly I’ll want to know more information about all the resources WordPress.org can offer.
        I’ll keep you posted and let you know if I have any questions.
        Thanks for the reply, Greg! Have a wonderful Tuesday!

        Reply
  10. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for all you do..

    Is it important to get the hosting add ons at host gator? Those 3 boxes you can check or uncheck? They seem significant but I didn’t want to spend the money unnecessarily.

    Thanks so much

    Reply
    1. 4 add on boxes actually. They add “domain privacy protection” as another add on later in the registration process… what personal contact information will be viewable if I don’t get this one?

      Reply
      1. Hey ENV,

        The addons sometimes change so I just checked them all out again. After some thought I would get the first two but not the second two. Domain privacy protection limits what someone can look up on your through a public tool like this: https://www.whois.net/ while Sitelock is a respected security feature, cheap and highly recommended by HostGator.

        This is coming from someone who’s VERY stingy and loves saving money with online costs. If you need to add anything though HostGator livechat can probably help with that.

        I’d not get CodeGuard – if you’re running WordPress it basically automatically backs itself up already, and I still recommend an old fashioned approach to SEO by backlinking and learning free plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast. No need to pay for SEO yet IMHO.

        Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know any more questions.

        Reply
  11. Hey Greg!

    So, I’m setting up a blog (thanks so much for such a thorough tutorial!) but it’s been 24 hours and I am still receiving an error message “Safari can’t find the server” when I click on my domain – and am therefore only about 10% of the way through your video. I spoke with HostGator yesterday and the man said it could take awhile, but was very cryptic in what I SHOULD see. He wouldn’t tell me yes or no whether this error message I’m getting is normal…but in your video it seemed like you had something different while waiting for it to be set up. Any suggestions? Should I call them back again? Should I download Chrome? THanks so much for any suggestions!

    -Amy

    Reply
    1. Hey, Amy!

      Not another cyptic support guy! I don’t know what they’re hiding…sometimes I think it’s the hidden nectar of the online gods, or the secret to Facebook or something. Anyways…

      Definitely get Chrome. It’s just better for blogging and websites (biased but true). Sometimes just clearing your browser cache (images/files) can solve this problem. There is a HostGator landing page that can come up, or it’s your ISP (internet service provider) search page not found page.

      I also have a video on your issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xnkcyhncMQ

      You could try live chat. Keep me posted on this one.

      Reply
      1. Good Morning! So my blog is finally up and running and starting to look fairly decent. I just had to wait a (very) long time for things to be set up. Now, however, I can’t figure out how to get to and use the email we set up. I can set up email forwarding, correct? Any idea how?

        You are a lifesaver! Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ˜€

        -Amy

        Reply
  12. Hey Greg,

    Thanks for the how-to video. A lifesaver for a beginner like me. I’m having trouble changing the site title and the tag line. No matter how many times I save changes and refresh, the “Freshie” name of the theme remains instead of my title. What am I doing wrong? FYI the two themes I have tried are both outside of WP’s designated library-I downloaded them from the internet. Could that be the problem somehow?

    Thanks for you time and your help,
    Renae

    Reply
    1. No prob renae! ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s interesting but I have an idea. Are you using caching plugins? These will save older versions of your site to make it load faster. If you have WP Super Cache in your dashboard, click it, then turn off caching.

      Other idea is delete your browser cache, which is useful at times too for images, gravatars stuff like that to update. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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